PAOAY, Ilocos Norte, Feb. 26 - Residents here are now gearing up for their Spanish-inspired tradition of merrymaking to mark this years Guling-Guling Festival, an authentic cultural festivity, backed by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.
As it continues to draw thousands of local and foreign tourists every year, the local government unit of Paoay wants to ensure that the celebration becomes grander than ever by offering cash prizes pegged at more than P100,000 and below to barangay contingents in the dance showdown that depicts a festive mood of thanksgiving and merry making on the last day before the season of Lent.
We are becoming restless as contingents really work hard to practice and win the competition, said Vice Mayor Jessie Galano of Paoay.
"This year, the audience may expect for a fast beat tempo although the dance steps, costumes and overall impact of the street dance competition are the same, said Galano.
Introduced by the Spanish friars in the 16th century, Guling-Guling is held every Tuesday before Ash Wednesday in Paoay town where the townsfolk dance their way to the St. Augustine Church and enjoy all forms of cheerful activities like eating "dudol" (rice cake) and drinking "basi" (sugarcane wine) before they observe the solemnity of the Lenten season.
Guling is an Ilocano word which means to smear or mark the sign of the cross in a persons forehead using wet and white rice flour as a symbol of purity.(PNA)