In January 2012, the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) filmed the “Paoay Kumakaway!” (PK) tourism brand to showcase the province’s natural and manmade wonders on local and international television.
Production was done by award-winning director Mark Meily and his wife, Lee, a renowned cinematographer. Joining them were filmmakers from the Creative Media and Film Society of the Philippines (CREAM), a Best Picture Awardee during the 2011 Metro Manila Film Festival.
It was dubbed necessary by Governor Imee R. Marcos as tourism had proven to be one of Ilocos Norte’s greatest employers, consistently generating more jobs and revenues two years prior.
The PK campaign was also PGIN’s response to the 2010 Luneta hostage crisis which had led to numerous cancellations from Chinese visitors who had been flocking to Ilocos Norte each year as the province’s main tourism clients.
Governor Marcos also clarified that the PK campaign was a consolidation of must-see destinations and not only a promotion of the San Agustin Church or “Paoay Church.”
“We coined the brand as a total package for travelers who wish to visit the province’s great sites.”
As a result of the campaign, Ilocos Norte recorded a total of 259,148 day visitors in the year 2012; however, efforts to uplift the province’s tourism sector, including the pioneering of “film tourism” and promotion of sports and cultural tourism, added to this growth.
Triathlons and international dragonboat races have been held in Ilocos Norte, while events like the “Tan-ok ni Ilocano Festival of Festivals” and “Himala sa Buhangin!” Arts and Music Festival have enticed thousands to visit the province for more than the natural landscapes and heritage structures.
In 2016 alone, the province welcomed 2,031,884 visitors, signaling an increase of more than 600% in just four years.
Meanwhile, the Holy Week season of 2017 alone recorded 472,989 visitors.
Tourism in Ilocos Norte still anticipates sustained growth as the sector continues thriving. Last March 20, the first luxury cruise ship line, Star Cruises, made its maiden arrival through Superstar Virgo docking at Currimao, a southern coastal town in the province.
“We see the biggest growth in our tourism sector, very dynamic and still growing,” said Governor Marcos. – PGIN-CMO