'Himala sa Buhangin!' festival benefits locals, boost livelihood

April 9, 2015 12:59 pm 

LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte, April 8 — As the Himala sa Buhangin Festival continues to prosper on its third year, the biggest and most recognized outdoor arts and music festival in the north is again set to provide more employment opportunities for the locals of Ilocos Norte.

Set on May 2, Himala sa Buhangin! features Ilocos Norte’s sand sports adventures such as the 4X4 racing competitions, sand castle making, sand boarding and zorbing as well as music performances and art installations by various local and international artists.

Behind the live entertainment and exciting activities, several retail stores, food establishments as well as the construction force and hospitality industry get a big boost yearly as the festival takes place in the vast land of Paoay Sand Dunes.

Like Marcelo Bacud, 58, in-charge of the construction of the massive art installation by international Filipino visual artist Leeroy New, said that up to 30 laborers from Barangay Nagbacalan, Paoay, Ilocos Norte benefit from the construction yearly.

For the past two years, said locals worked daily for one month for the construction of the giant masterpiece dubbed as ‘Chrysalis’ which is made mainly of bamboos and other indigenous materials.

Bacud and his co-workers were thankful for their job opportunities through Himala because “when we have no work for Himala, majority of us fish in the sea or search for construction jobs around the area.”

He also shared that their jobs for 30 straight days are a big help to their families especially for sustaining their daily needs as well as in supporting the education of their children.

The Provincial Tourism Office also reported a significant increase of tourists visiting the sand dunes throughout the year to experience 4X4 riding, sand boarding and other sand sports activities.

Food stores, souvenir shops and inns nearby also grew in order to accommodate over 300,000 tourists visiting the province during Holy Week alone. Last year, the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte recorded over 1.5 million tourists during the summer season.

Governor Imee Marcos said this growth in tourism “unlocks jobs to bring not mere growth, but genuine, transformational jobs-rich growth.” (PNA)

FPV/LGA/EDS

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