LAOAG CITY - President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Friday assured the public of his administration’s commitment to strengthen the Philippines’ tourism industry, as the country continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I assure you that the government’s commitment to strengthen the domestic tourism industry remains a top priority and Ilocos Norte will play a very large part of that,” Marcos said in a speech here during the opening of the annual Tan-ok ni Ilocano: Festival of Festivals.
The Tan-ok ni Ilocano, held for the first time in three years after being sidelined by the pandemic, showcases the rich history, heritage, culture, and traditions of Ilocos Norte through colorful and creative dance performances from the 21 municipalities and two cities of the province.
In his speech, the President noted that Ilocos Norte has shown that it is ready to reclaim the time and opportunities lost during the pandemic, expressing optimism that the province will restore the vibrancy of its local tourism industry to pre-pandemic levels.
“In the past three years, we have been severely hit by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing us to retreat into our homes, put our lives on hold. And yet, here we are today, holding our heads up high, ready to usher in a new era not only for our province, but for the entire country as well,” Marcos said.
“The darkest hours of the pandemic we pray are over, and now, we are ready to reclaim the time and opportunities we have lost for the last few years as we now emerge stronger than ever,” he continued.
Marcos said the Tan-ok festival “is expected to stimulate economic activity and support Ilocano families by driving tourism industries, sustaining local livelihoods.”
“A festival will put a spotlight on our local artists, small-scale workers who will display their skills for art and serve as a gateway to our rich and dynamic culture,” he said.
“Let us share with our fellow Filipinos, and the rest of the world, the story of our roots in the upland indigenous communities and the vibrant communities of Ilocos, many of which have been crucial in molding us into what we are as a people today. Remember these roots with every idea and masterpiece that you create with your minds and hands."