(February 05, 2008)
This festival of Paoay, Ilocos Norte started in the olden days since the Spanish regime. The friars have introduced this event in the 16th century. It is a celebration held on Tuesdays before Ash Wednesdays to signify that this is the last day for the townsfolk to enjoy all forms of merrymaking before they observe the Lenten season. The Ilocano word “guling” means to mark or smear. Using wet and white rice flour, the town mayor would smear the sign of cross in a person’s forehead. Its white color signifies purity and it is believed that through this procedure a person is cleansed of all of his past sins. I even submitted myself to be smeared with the sign of the cross on my forehead.
They conduct street pageantry where the locals show off their terna (traditional national costume for women), gowns made of the indigenous abel cloth or the kimona and pandiling. There is a dance parade showcasing the Spanish-inspired Ilocano folk dances and they made a giant dudul, a native delicacy made of rice and molasses.
I love this festival since locals cater the public with dudol to taste and the basi placed in a coco shell to drink, just what Ms Nancy Reyes-Lumen of Cook Magazine had experienced, while everyone enjoys the dance parade and the showdown of the different groups. This years celebration was graced by the Former First Lady Imelda Marcos.