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Sunday, May 20, 2012

“HimalasaBuhangin!” redefines Philippine Fiestas



himalaLetting go of the mundane street dancing and pageants usually associated with provincial fiestas, the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte came up with a concept that has never before been experienced by the people of I. Norte.

In line with Gov. Imee Marcos’ “PaoayKumakaway” tourism campaign, an event entitled “HimalasaBuhangin!” was held at the mysterious sand dunes of Paoay, the only desert-like landscape in South East Asia, thereby promoting the site as a prime tourist destination.

Free shuttle services were available on the day of the event to ferry festival-goers to and from the sand dunes.

Considered a miracle on its own was the number of people who came to see “HimalasaBuhangin!” The crowd numbering at more or less 5,000 included people from the different municipalities in I. Norte, local tourists and visitors from all over the world.

With various activities lined up for the event, audience had their fill of adventure, art, music and culture. The festival’s headliners included no less than legendary rock bands Wolfgang and Up Dharma Down.

Joining them was a diverse musical army that included local band Better Than Noise and Manila-based actsPowerpuff Corn, Hidden Nikki, and Sleepwalk Circus, all of whom contributed to the unique sound that the festival had to offer.

The outcome of the deliberate selection of artists was a multi-dimensional experience that can now be considered distinctly Ilocano.

While a great number of people enjoyed the music that night, the morning and the afternoon of May 10 was jam-packed with rides and activities that satiated the adventurous. Zorbing, sand-castle building, and 4×4 leisure driving were some of what was offered to the daring. 4×4 Racing Competitionswere participated in by various groups and individuals from the province.Winners of the semi-modified categorywere Edgar Padayao, Len Menor, and John Mel Reyes, while Rudy Fariñas, Harold Martin, and Jonas Cajigal won in themodified category, and JR Fariñas, Buddy Nicolas and JR Bunye won in the Buggy category.

The festival site was also enticed with creations by award-winning artist Leeroy New and revolutionary artists Gerilya Artists Collective. Chrysalis, a large-scale art installation by New greeted festival-goers as they entered the site.

Fireworks, belly dancers and fire dancers brought people to their feet as they led the way to the climax of the event which was the burning of New’sart installation.

Evidently, the festival is bound to get biggerand the province expects to draw a bigger crowd for next year’s provincial fiesta.

By: Nicole Rudio, CMO-PGIN
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