But did tourists come?

I ARGUE, dear karikna, that the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office folks are the busiest bees in this part of the world. And I argue further that their queen bee, Governor Imee Marcos is Awesome with a capital A. After the successful staging of the Sineng Pambansa here in Ilocos, they initiated a series of events for Halloween, the most notable being the Parada Iloca-locana held last October 31 in Laoag, from the cemetery down to the centro.

Viewers, including my dad who sits on a wheelchair, were so happy with the event. He was even doing the high five with zombies, white ladies, and elementals. I heard others who saw the event murmur, “First time detoy aya? Nagmayat.” (This is the first time, right?  Beautiful.) Beautiful, however, may seem an inappropriate term, because the parade participants were no doubt at their scariest best. But really, the event is very uplifting. It makes you feel that something good is really happening in Ilocos. Day after that, it was the eerie Tumba Festival’s turn to paint the town black in Paoay.

Did tourists come because of these recent events? No, not yet. But we are definitely moving in the right direction. We must continue to make Ilocos a fun place so guests would be enticed enough to hit the long road up North. There must always be a show to go to, a spectacle to marvel at, an experience to try, and temptations that are impossible to resist.

I am glad there is no stopping. Before I can even congratulate the masterminds, here comes the Tan-ok ni Ilocano Festival of Festivals unfolding next week.

Author: Herdy La. Yumul

A hesitant academic pimp, writer

6 thoughts on “But did tourists come?”

  1. I was there at the Tumba in Paoay. The line going inside the ‘kumbento’ was really looong. Local tourists went there for sure! I just hope in the next years to come, local tourist not only from Ilocos will come.

    1. Thank you, mike. I’m sure that, if we sustain the momentum, more people will come in the next months and years.

      The Tumba and other events were provincial. So, for the purposes of this article, those who come from Ilocos are not counted as tourists.

    2. The Tumba of Paoay, Ilocos Norte is indeed a great event. However, if we want to attract tourist, I doubt it considering with the system and management they have in the Tumba. The line alone is a disaster, ang daming sumisingit and pinapasingit and too bad that simple situation cannot even be handled properly. Kawawa yung mga naunang pumili who turned out to be the last to enter the old kumbento. Just imagine tourist experiencing such… Negative impact for sure. We dream big, that is good but we should improve.

  2. While I applaud the provincial government under Ms. Marcos’ leadership for promoting tourism as a way to improve the economy of the province, and thus, the lives of its citizens, I feel that it concentrates too much on tourism. Tourism will indeed stimulate the formation and growth of businesses, creating more jobs, and increasing the economic output of the province, the ultimate goal of which is to improve the lives of its citizens, but the province cannot and must not expect to rely on tourism for economic growth and sustainability in the long run. An economy dependent on one industry alone will not only gain if such industry is booming but will also lose when such industry is in a decline; and it is often easier to lose than to gain.

    I think the provincial government must strive for a diversified economy and the first thing that it must do to achieve such is to recognize the enormous capacity of the province to enter into diverse industries. For example, the food industry could be a lucrative business in the province. In Quezon City alone, there are many restaurants, both lower- and upper-end, that serves dishes based on Ilocano delicacies such as the bagnet, but not many of them delivers authentic-looking and -tasting bagnet. In addition, the Ilocano diaspora in the country is also large, and many Ilocanos in the diaspora often crave authentic Ilocano food which they rarely get. The province could take advantage of such opportunities by supplying raw materials, in our example the bagnet and other Ilocano delicacies, to the said restaurants and importing our delicacies to places where the Ilocano diaspora settled.

    Known for the abel Iloco and basi and other local wines, the province could also develop a progressive textile and fashion, and wine industry by starting to develop what its own heritage in these industries, and later expanding to non-traditional textiles and wines. The province could encourage the production of new and vibrant designs and patterns for the abel Ilocano aside from the traditional designs and patterns and for the basi, as well as other wines and of course other products, the province could set standard minimum requirements of quality. Producers that meet the minimum requirements shall be entitled to use a seal and could be given certain benefits over producers that do not meet them.

    1. Nice inputs you got there, ading. The tourism activities get media mileage because they are bonggacious, but I am confident there are sufficient programs, too, for trade and industry. Hope the Capitol communications team keeps us posted, too, on these.

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