LAOAG CITY — Hundreds of Ilocanos witnessed the Ilocos Norte Capitol and Laoag City Hall Christmas trees light up on Monday night, heralding the holiday season in a traditional ceremony that dates back more than 50 years.
Led by Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Joseph Manotoc and his uncle, Laoag Mayor Michael Marcos Keon, this year’s Capitol Christmas tree light up features a recycled installation inspired by the Minor Basilica of St. John the Baptist Parish Church (Shrine of La Virgen Milgrosa de Badoc-Coronada).
It has miniature houses made of bamboo and cogon grass, a 30-feet tall Christmas tree, and a giant lantern that illuminates the facade of the newly-painted century-old Ilocos Norte Capitol building and its open park.
“It’s always a good time to come to Ilocos Norte since it is the homecoming season of Ilokanos, extending until February for the Laoag City fiesta. Every year, we showcase a ‘homecoming feel’ and you will see this in our decorations. We want to portray that Christmas is for the children and for the Ilokano families,” provincial tourism officer Aianree Raquel said.
The Laoag City Hall Christmas light-up also represents a “Baro a Laoag (New Laoag)”, a campaign slogan under the new administration of Keon who defeated reelectionist Chevylle Fariñas in the last election.
Unlike previous years, the Laoag City Hall Christmas tree dazzles with white lights, having no iconic holiday elements and classic colors.
Other activities for the Christmas celebration in the province include “Partuat ti Kailokuan” trade fair which will open on Dec. 17-22, 2019, 10 a.m.-10 p.m., and a small fashion show for the “Inabel Weavers Appreciation Night” on Dec. 18, 2019, 6 p.m. Both events will be held at the Aurora Park, Laoag City. Leilanie Adriano / PNA – northboundasia.com