LAOAG CITY — In what was meant as a show of unity, residents of Ilocos Norte’s 21 municipalities and two cities joined the opening parade here on Friday, ahead of the province’s main bicentennial celebration on February 2.
Gov. Ma. Imelda Marcos led local government units, youth volunteers, senior citizens, the academe, non-government organizations, and the business sector in the bicentennial parade, ushering in the 200th founding anniversary of Ilocos Norte.
The celebration presents a series of events, highlighting the rich Ilocano culture and history in this northern gateway of Luzon.
The theme of the celebration, according to Provincial Tourism Officer Ianree Raquel, focuses on the question, “What makes you proud to be an Ilocano?”
“There is a need to come together as a province and really think about the meaning of what being an Ilocano is. This will be a time not just to look to the past, but also to examine the present and reflect on what we can do to bring the province forward,” Raquel said in a media interview.
Two hundred years ago, Ilocos region was split into two provinces—Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur.
History record shows the Spanish regime caused the division due to a series of rebellion from the Ilocano inhabitants against tobacco, basi (sugarcane wine) and vinegar monopolies.
On February 2, 1818, the king of Spain issued a Royal Decree separating the Provincia de Ilocos, which aimed to destroy unity among Ilocanos.
Nonetheless, strong kinship and clan ties preserved the unity of Ilocanos wherever they may go in search of a greener pasture.
Marcos said there are plans for a joint celebration with Ilocos Sur, but the details are not yet finalized. PNA-northboundasia.com