The Kannawidan Ylocos Festival occurs annually in the province of Ilocos Sur. Activities include mass at the St. Paul Cathedral, procession around the city, “Talent Night ti Saniata” where local songs will be aired, beauty contest, “Partuat ken Patanor Trade Fair,” concerts, Delphic Games, horse race, Quiz bee, on-the-spot painting, Iloco poem writing, Kannawidan a pay-ayam-Sarsuela Ilocana, Bingo Game and Battle of the Bands. The festival marks the occasion to strengthen the Ilocano culture, recognize Ilocos Sur’s sons and daughters who brought honor to their province, celebrate abundant harvest or just to celebrate the Ilocano spirit that continues to drive locals to boost their home province.
Ilocos Sur, our very own province has rich and stunning cultures and traditions that we Ilocanos must be proud of. In order to showcase these, we have important festives just to exhibit and promote products of ours and precious cultures of Ilocanos to attract and invite tourists to come and visit Ilocos. One of these is the Kannawidan Ylocos Festival which is a week-long festive of happiness for local and foreign tourists as more entertaining events are included in the celebration.
The Kannawidan Ylocos Festival had already established its identity as the prime festival of the province. The festival was launched in 2008 under the leadership of then Governor Deogracias Victor B. Savellano to commemorate the 190th foundation day of Ilocos Sur as separate province through the approval of a Spanish Royal Decree on February 2, 1818. The province has a rich heritage and unique cultures that need to be preserved for the next generations. However, many of these traditions, songs, dances and other Ilocano cultures were not already familiar to the younger generations due to the influence of the television, computer and internet.
Highlights include the members of the Bayanihan Dance Company entertained the Ilocanos with their world class performance of the Beauty of the Philippines through dances, music and sounds. Their graceful movements and excellent rendition of songs and playing the indigenous musical instruments drew attractions from the crowd. Governor Luis Chait Singson and Vice Governor Savellano together with the officials of the Department of Education Division of Ilocos Sur signified the start of the different contests for elementary and high school students. These include traditional tribal rituals, choir and glee club competition, marching band contest, traditional music ensemble, dance drama, traditional and folk dances, contemporary dance competition and street dancing showdown. These events aimed to encourage young Ilocanos to learn these indigenous songs and dances for sustainability and preservation.
Another important event is the Partuat ken Patanor Trade and Agri Fair. Officials from the trade and agri fair displayed all products from the different towns of the Ilocos Sur and its nearby provinces. The annual “Pinaka Contest” was also held to give citations the local farmers’ extraordinary farm and fishery products and livestock. This Kannawidan Ylocos Festival aims to create awareness on the preservation of the province’ rich cultural heritage, practices and traditions, and a showcase of the different agriculture and industry products. We, Ilocanos should all be proud of with this because we are having this for tourists to appreciate our rich culture. Moreover, let us all preserve these cultures for next generations and this will serve as our trademark as an Ilocano.