History and Culture
Walk Through Ilocos Norte’s History and Future
Rey Arcangel | Feb 06, 2014
In celebration of the province’s 196th Founding Anniversary, the Ilocos Norte Provincial Capitol transformed its facade into a theme park by lighting up art installations that showcase the distinct eras of Ilocos Norte -- the pre-Hispanic era and Basi Revolt, the colonial era, and the present and future.
The pre-Hispanic corner depicts the history of Ilocos as a rich and serene province, a land known for its production of gold, which merchants from Japan and China traded for ceramic, beads, and silk.
Standing proud at the west ground are the celestial warrior sculptures representing the courage and bravery of the Ilocano ancestors who first called Ilocos as “Samtoy,” from “Sao mi ditoy,” which meant “Our language.”
Erected beside it are huts and carabao sculptures showing the Ilocanos' basic lifestyle.
A Dadapilan or sugar cane crusher, a tool for making “basi” (sugar cane wine) is also displayed, underlining the importance of the Basi Revolt. The story behind the revolution is actually significant to the establishment of Ilocos Norte as a province on February 2, 1818. Ilocanos revolted against Spaniards who tried to colonize the Ilocos region and monopolized local products such as tobacco and basi.
The Basi Revolt then spread, which ultimately led to the division of the old Provincia de Ilocos into Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur through a Royal Decree.
The capitol's east facade displays the famous buttresses of the UNESCO heritage site, the Saint Augustine Church, or famously known as the Paoay Church, which is outlined with LED lights.
The view depicts the colonial era when Ilocos Norte started to prosper and build massive structures such as the Paoay Church, which was completed in 1894.
Also, in this period, new schools, bridges, roads, dikes, and government buildings were constructed. One of them was the Capitol which was built during Ilocos Norte’s centenary in 1918.
The center facade exhibits the present and future of Ilocos Norte, featuring the province’s tourism brand "Paoay Kumakaway" which was launched in 2012.
People might ask, Why Paoay? Why not Laoag since it’s the capital of the province? What does the mustache in the logo represent?
Simply because Paoay alone is already known as the home of many tourism spots and adventure places in Ilocos Norte, such as the Paoay Church, Paoay Sand Dunes, Paoay Lake, Malacanang of the North, and the Abel loom-weaving houses.
Meanwhile, the curly mustache, which stirred curiosity in many, is actually Juan Luna’s. The maestro of Philippine visual arts was the first Filipino international achiever; he was born in Badoc, Ilocos Norte.
His iconic mustache became a trademark among Filipinos, making students remember him as the guy with the curly mustache they encounter in history class.
So It’s clear, the bushy facial hair is not related to Pringles or Johnny Depp. It's Ilocos Norte’s very own Juan Luna.
The windmills of Bangui are also present at the display, representing the continuous development of the province across many fields, such as its tourism, infrastructure, agriculture, and economics.
As the countdown continues for Ilocos Norte’s bicentennial celebration on February 2, 2018, the Ilocanos are already preparing for the further development and transformation of their province in the following years.
(Photos by Fernando Mangapit.)