Pamulinawen Festival 2023: What to Expect in Laoag City

The Pamulinawen Festival is an annual celebration in Laoag City featuring the locality’s rich culture and heritage. Over the years, it has become a platform to showcase the colorful traditions of both Laoag and the rest of Ilocos. This 2023, the Pamulinawen Festival goes even bigger than its previous years as it welcomes international acts as part of its celebration. 

But first, here’s everything you need to know about the festival.

When is the Pamulinawen Festival celebrated?

The Pamulinawen Festival, observed every first week of February, is a long-week celebration in Laoag City. This Festival corresponds with the feast of Saint William, the city’s patron saint. Although Saint William’s feast dates back to Spanish colonial times, the Pamulinawen festival as people know it today only began in 1996.

What are the origins of the Pamulinawen Festival?

The name Pamulinawen itself references various icons in Ilocano history. Supposedly, it was a tree variant that used to grow abundantly in the Ilocos region. Other sources say that it is the name of a legendary bird. Ultimately, Pamulinawen is most famous as the name of a maiden immortalized in a popular folk song. From these pieces of local history and culture, the celebration got its official name, Pamulinawen Festival.

Pamulinawen Festival itself, however, is a convergence of religious and cultural celebrations. Initially, the Festival is meant to celebrate the city’s patron saint, Saint William the Hermit. More specifically, it commemorates the conversion of the Ilocanos to Christianity. What started as a simple celebration to honor Saint William is now a full-blown cultural showcase in Laoag.

How is the Pamulinawen Festival traditionally celebrated?

Pamulinawen is a spectacular festival featuring a wide variety of activities. After over two decades of celebration, the extravagant Festival has included many events, such as the calesa festival, a civic-military parade, and a mountain bike race. Additionally, it is a platform to showcase the best of Ilocos’ local culture, in addition to the Bawang Festival and Dulang Food Festival. And like most Philippine cultural celebrations, Pamulinawen Festival showcases a street dancing competition and a beauty pageant.

What’s new at Pamulinawen Festival in 2023?

Locals and tourists alike can expect a more spectacular festival in Laoag for this year’s Pamulinawen celebrations. The biggest of which is the visiting Super American Circus featuring world-class acrobatics like the Cirque de Soleil. This 26-man show will accept visitors on February 3 to 5 in the Laoag Centennial Arena. Admission tickets start at Php 300 to Php 3,000, and attendees also have a chance to win from a raffle draw.

Pamulinawen Festival 2023 | Photo from City Government of Laoag Facebook

What is the significance of Pamulinawen as a festival?

Beyond culture and heritage, the Pamulinawen Festival also celebrates the local community. Over the years, the festival has become a way to promote camaraderie, with Ilocanos coming together to connect and celebrate their shared roots. Furthermore, the festival is the gateway to promoting local arts and crafts and their preservation.

The Pamulinawen Festival is also instrumental in promoting the local economy. Attracting tourists to the region, the festival helps sustain local businesses and creates jobs for the community.

What are the other sights to see in Laoag?

Laoag Church

Aside from the Pamulinawen festivities, Laoag is a locality with a rich history and heritage that makes it an attractive destination.

Sinking Bell Tower

Not everything that is sinking is scary; sometimes, they can be quite scenic. One best example of such is the Sinking Bell Tower or the Bantay Bell Tower in Laoag. This bell tower tilts at a 5-degree angle, which makes the structure look like it is sinking. But is the tower actually sinking? While there has been no scientific study to ascertain, observant locals believe that the tower sinks an inch deeper each year. Given its sandy base and the tower’s coral stone blocks, it may as well be the case. Despite this, the Sinking Bell Tower remains a popular attraction where tourists can claim and take panoramic pictures of Laoag.

Paoay Church

Laoag is home to many heritage sites, including the famous Paoay Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993. What sets this church apart from others is its unique combination of architectural styles combining Gothic, Baroque, and Oriental elements. Surviving from the 18th century, Paoay Church remains one of the best Baroque churches in the country.

La Paz Sand Dunes

La Paz Sand Dunes Photo by Arvin Simbulan from Facebook
La Paz Sand Dunes Photo by Arvin Simbulan from Facebook

Just a few minutes off Laoag, tourists can reach the La Paz sand dunes, a famous desert-like landscape of around 4,000 hectares in area. Visitors often go here to take photos of its natural beauty. However, others come here to experience the adventure with its wide range of activities, including sandboarding and ATV rides.

More things to look forward to in Ilocos Norte

With its lively and colorful street parade, upbeat traditional music, and energetic dance performances, the Pamulinawen Festival is truly a must-see for anyone who plans to visit Laoag. But this festival is just one of the many things to look forward to in Laoag and the rest of the Ilocos Region.

Your home in Laoag

Camella Laoag | Ilocos Norte
Camella Laoag | House and Lot for Sale Ilocos Norte

Planning to make Laoag City your home? Invest in your favorite real estate brand this far up north, like Camella, with its 18-hectare house and lot community in Laoag. Inspired by the city’s heritage, Camella Laoag is a cozy, Spanish-themed development that fits perfectly in the picturesque Ilocano sceneries.

But more than the landscape and the backdrop, Camella offers quality house and lot options for individuals, starting families, and even expanding households. In addition, it is conveniently near transportation hubs, schools, malls, hospitals, and clinics.

The development is situated in Brgy. Zamboanga, Ilocos Norte, which is only about five minutes away from the Laoag International Airport. Masterfully planned, Camella Laoag offers residents attractive homes with modern amenities and a welcoming landscape that makes them feel at home.

More properties in the Ilocos Region

Looking for a home beyond Laoag City? Camella also has properties in Ilocos Sur that are close to other famous tourist destinations, such as Vigan. For more information, check out our gallery for Camella Bantay and Camella Candon in Ilocos Sur.

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