Manila, March 19, 2003 -- The Ilocos Region, spearheaded by the Department of Tourism-Region 1 (DoT-R1) takes the centerstage at the Pueblo Filipino of Intramuros, as it presents “Rimat ti Amianan” (Brilliance of the North) until March 29, as part of the year-long event Visit Philippines “Best of the Regions.” This time it will be a showcase of the unique culture and best tourism assets of the four provinces of Region 1, namely: Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union and Pangasinan.

The DoT-R1, together with the provincial tourism offices and various city tourism councils prepared a full-packed 11-day cultural market featuring the Region’s products, artworks, handicrafts, and a day and night of festivals and musical extravaganzas.

Dagupan City’s “Bangus Festival” will also be presented today featuring the Dagupeños skills in deboning bangus and a cookfest of “101 ways to cook bangus.” Various bangus products will also be on sale at the Best of the Arts and Crafts Fair.

On March 20, visitors will have a chance to witness a street dancing spectacle with participants wearing mango and bamboo-inspired costumes as San Carlos City brings their Mango-Bamboo Festival here. There will also be a video/film showing on mango and bamboo growing plus arts and crafts demonstrations.

Virgen Milagrosa University Drum and Bugle Exhibition and gifted children Sapigao brothers with Maestro Ryan Cayabyab (a native of San Carlos City) will provide the musical entertainment in the afternoon and evening, respectively.

The Galicayo Festival of Manaoag will be the highlight on March 21. Galicayo is a cultural religious celebration of dances and music in honor of Our Lady of Manaoag. La Union’s presentation of the “Rambak” (local term for celebration) on March 24 will have the Hundred Voices of La Union depicting songs and dances of La Union culture.

The most popular festival of the north, the “Pistay Dayat” of Pangasinan, will be staged on March 23. The so-called “sea festival of thanksgiving” will feature “Palaro ng Lahi,” a display of the province’s native games. The “Princess Urduja” musical play will cap the evening.

Ilocanos from the City of Vigan, clad in their local costumes, will serve their home-grown delicacies to visitors on March 25. The cultural event will feature the “Binatbatan and Longaniza” street dancing and “Bukanegan,” the Ilocano version of “balagtasan.”

On March 27, Agoo, La Union will present “Panagyaman” (or thanksgiving), which is a tribute to Our Lady of Charity. A Marian procession will be held in the afternoon and a cultural presentation with the theme “One God, One Town, One Family” in the evening.

Laoag City will stage the “Pamulinawen Festival” on March 28 which will showcase the Ilocano customs and virtues. This will include a day-long presentation of mini-festivals featuring the “Basi,” the “Dulang” and the “Damili” festivals. A night of cultural songs and dances will also be held featuring the Ilocos Norte High School Regional School for the Arts.

Paoay, Ilocos Norte’s “Guling-Guling Festival” will close the “Rimat ti Amianan” on March 29. Natives will participate in singing and dancing in the streets dressed in their native costume “Abel Paoay Kimona” with “pandiling.” A cultural presentation of “Kasar” (the traditional Ilocano wedding ceremony) and a fashion show highlighting the native costume “abel” will formally close the event.

The “Best of the Regions” is a tourism showcase of the country’s 16 region’s best destinations and attractions. It is also an opportunity for trade buyers to make deals with tour operators for Foreign Individual Tourists (FITs) and tour groups, and for prospective clients to plan their travel and make direct reservations.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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