Friday , 19 April 2024

Tradition co-exists with progress in Ilocandia

More than two centuries since Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte were separated by a royal decree, yet both provinces  continue to find a balance between preserving  their  unique cultural identity—rooted in their rich Hispanic culture—and embracing progress.

Their long-standing geographical identity had set them apart from many other provinces. Their being known to be inherently frugal, but hardworking, can only mean they continue to  value efficiency and productivity.

“I don’t think we will ever lose that identity, it was always ingrained in the Ilocano,” according to Ilocos Norte Vice Governor Cecilia Araneta Marcos.

Being proud as a people also does not make them ethnocentric. Araneta-Marcos is a native of Zamboanga City, but her 38 years of marriage to a scion of the Marcos clan was her immersion into the Ilocano way of life. “I’m not an Ilocano, but an Ilocano captured my heart, so I am an Ilocano by heart and by choice,” she said.

She had never been a politician until her husband Nonong Marcos, the first cousin of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., died while preparing for the vice gubernatorial race in the 2022 elections.

Former First Lady Imelda Marcos urged her to run as substitute candidate to her husband. “If you do not do it, you will just end up crying all the time. At least you will be able to serve our people,” she recalled Mrs. Marcos telling her.

According to Araneta-Marcos, they have seen how the province “was always at the end of the budget” queue after the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr. was forced to flee the country with his family after 21 years in power.

“But now, hopefully we will be able to hit the ground running,”’ she quickly pointed out, with President Marcos Jr. at the political helm. “Our president sees the whole picture of our country, but there is a soft spot for Ilocos Norte because he is from here,” she said.

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