The Pamulinawen: A Celebration of Culture and Colors

What happens at the Pamulinawen Festival? Discover the highlights and main events in this colorful cultural celebration in Laoag City.

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The Pamulinawen Festival, observed with great enthusiasm in the Philippines, holds significant cultural and historical importance. This extravagant festival celebrates the local heritage, paying homage to the Pamulinawen flower, a symbol of enduring love in Ilocano folklore. It was also where the popular folk song “Pamulinawen” drew inspiration from.

Every first week of February, Pamulawen is celebrated, marking the feast day of Saint William, the city’s patron saint, and is observed by the city government.

Amidst the festivities, the Dulang Food Festival takes center stage, showcasing the rich culinary diversity of the region. Culinary enthusiasts and visitors alike partake in the Dulang Food Festival, where traditional and modern Filipino dishes are featured, creating a delightful fusion of flavors. This cultural extravaganza not only honors the indigenous roots of the Pamulinawen Festival but also serves as a platform for fostering community bonds and to promote camaraderie through the shared appreciation of local art, music, and, of course, the delectable array of dishes presented during the Dulang Food Festival.

What is the Pamulinawen Festival?

The Pamulinawen Festival was initially celebrated to honor the city, Saint William the Hermit. It was a reminder of how Christianity gives color to the lives of the Laoageños. This is along with their unwavering faith that everything will get better, even on the darkest days. The locals celebrate this event every first week of February.

From a simple celebration, the Pamulinawen has evolved into a one-of-a-kind celebration and a promotion of the heritage of the city. As a result, it attracts both tourists and balikbayans alike to the province. Now, the festival, through the local government, showcases the rich Ilokano culture. These are presented through various forms like interpretative dances and literary arts contests, among other things.

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Where did the name Pamulinawen come from?

Pamulinawen’s story traces back to the name Pamulawen, which comes from the infamous Ilokano popular folk song about courting a tough-hearted woman with the same name. As the feast for Saint William became more extravagant and culturally extravagant, it adopted the name Pamulinawen. It is a celebration in Laoag that its citizens believe at any age. 

What are the activities at the Pamulinawen Festival?

The Pamulinawen festival features the city’s culture and heritage through various social-civic activities. This includes a parade of well-crafted floats across the city, the Calesa Festival (horse drawn carriages) and the Baro a LaoLaoag’syna ti Amianan beauty pageant. But the main event at the festival is the Street Dancing Competition. 

All in all, it is a celebration of culture and colorful traditions. Furthermore, it is an expressive way of celebrating the way of life up north. 

Pamulinawen’s Calesa Parade

Pamulinawen’s Calesa Parade | Photo source:

The celebration of the Pamulinawen Festival would feel incomplete without the Kalesa Parade. It showcases one of the city’s landmarks, the kalesa. This carriage still runs to downtown Laoag to take residents and tourists to different places around the city. 

Despite Kalesas becoming increasingly rare to see these days, this unique form of transportation is still common in Laoag. However, despite kalesas being famous for offering an exceptional experience to commuters, and having the ability to feel like an individual is living out of a fairytale, these kalesas significantly transform during the festival. Visitors get to see Ornate Kalesa paraded and take their posture to flaunt how posh and polished they were while marching on the city’s street.

Moreover, the city of Laoag makes great efforts to preserve kalesas. This is because it is one of the city’s landmarks, robustly intertwined with its history. The province also has its ‘Kalesa Lighted Evening Tour’ to promote them. During the festivity, kalesas take locals and tourists to a mini-tour of the city on a parade of well-lit chariots.

For the people of Laoag, the kalesa grand parade is just one of the many ways to deepen and renew their local culture and heritage. It is their way to stay rooted in their historical identity and, most importantly, an excellent way to protect and promote the livelihood of the kutseros, or the kalesa drivers. The festival also includes an orientation for the kutseros to preserve their kalesa and history better.

Street Dancing

Another highlight of the Pamulinawem festival is the street dancing competition. Like any other festival in the country, Laoag also fills its streets with colorful merriment during Pamulinawen. For Laoageños, this is their way of telling their rich history. That means each dance and chanting carries their gratefulness and pride.

Street dancing is especially present every year to encourage the participation of all Laoag. Here, barangays from the farthest towns attend and celebrate their shared identity. This event is where Laoageños parade their best costumes inspired by the traditional Ilocano aesthetics. All in all, street dancing forms an image of Ilocos before and after colonization. It is a big celebration of everyday life in Ilocos that highlights the city’s livelihood, natural resources, and identity.

Battle of Beauty and Wit

The Pamulinawen Festival is also a celebration of beauty among Laoageños. Laoag also presents the Baro a LaoLaoag’syna ti Amianan, the grandest search for the city’s ambassador among Ilocandia. This event is a night of glitz and glam that highlights women’s empowerment.

Sashed by their respective clusters and organizations, young compete in beauty and wit for the chance to represent the whole of Ilocos Norte

Why is the Pamulinawen important for Ilocos Norte?

Festivals play a crucial role in nation-building. The Pamulinawen is just one of the many celebrations that bring people from every religious, social, and economic background. This way, people can appreciate their shared identities and take pride in the best of their community.

The Pamulinawen is a way for Laoag to preserve its local customs, ideas, cultures, and everything. Furthermore, people appreciate how the local community has enriched their lives in these festivals. It is a way of imprinting the identity of a generation and taking it to the future.

Living in the colorful City of Laoag

Though Laoag may look like a city from the past, it also offers many opportunities for locals at present. Laoag is the Ilocos province’s industrial and commercial center. In addition, it also houses the busiest airport in the region, making it highly accessible. That said, Laoag promises growth opportunities for local investors in the city.

Camella Laoag : Inspired by the rich Spanish heritage of the city

Camella Laoag presents an irresistible opportunity for those seeking a new abode in the vibrant locale of Laoag City. Inspired by the rich Spanish heritage of Laoag, Camella has meticulously crafted an expansive 18-hectare real estate development thoughtfully designed with comprehensive amenities within a masterfully planned community.

Strategically positioned near key commercial districts, medical facilities, transportation hubs, educational institutions, places of worship, and an array of dining options, residents enjoy unparalleled convenience. With its proximity to renowned tourist attractions such as the Sinking Bell Tower and La Paz Sand Dunes ensures endless exploration and adventure right at your doorstep.

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