Ilocos Norte

Pamulinawen Festival

Pamulinawen Festival celebrates the religious, patronal feast of St. William the Hermit and the cultural and historical heritage of the people in the city of Laoag, Ilocos Norte, Philipines every February 10. Its schedule of activities lasts for the whole month of February and thus coincides with the foundation of the Ilocos Norte, which takes place every second of February, and the celebration of Valentine’s Day.


Pamulinawen is a folk song familiar in the Northern Luzon. Believed to have originated in pre-Hispanic times, it is a courtship song that tells the story of a lady unmoved by the words of her suitor. Daughter of a chieftain, she was named after a type of hard stone thought to have come from the outer space (such as a meteorite) and used by the locals as a flint to start a spark to produce a flame to light up their cigars. These characteristics are said to be likened to the people of Laoag.

Scholars stated that the love song was sang by boatmen as they rowed their boats along bodies of water in Luzon. From a composition with a deliberate pace, it has numerous renditions of varying lyrics and tempo. Widely popular are by the artist Arman Ratuita in the 1960s, by Lea Salonga in the album Bahaghari in 2017, and by the UP Madrigal singers as introduced by National Artist Lucrecia Roces Kasilag.

History of Pamulinawen Festival

The local government of Laoag passed the Ordinance No. 3 during the time of Mayor Eulalio Siazon in 1967 that established February 10 as the date of its annual festival. Through the years, its celebration has grown grander and within the term of then Mayor Cesar Ventura it was called Pagdadapun Festival. It was renamed to Pamulinawen Festival starting in 1996. Afterwards in 2008 during the tenure of then Mayor Michael Fariñas, its calendar takes up the entire month of February.

Devotion to St. William the Hermit

Pamulinawen Festival is held in conjunction with the feast of St. William the Hermit, the patron of the city. Christianity came to Laoag through the Augustinian friars who set foot and built a humble church made of light materials in 1580. Dedicated to the patronage of St. William the Hermit, it was rebuilt in stone in 1612. When it was damaged by fire in 1843, it was repaired between 1873 and 1880 by Antonio de la Camara and Fr. Santiago Muniz.

During the Philippine Revolution and the Philippine-American War, it became a garrison for Filipino troops and subsequently for American forces, respectively. In the years of the American occupation, the religious authorities of the Roman Catholic Church took over the church from the Aglipayan.

It became a cathedral when Laoag was elevated to a diocese on June 5, 1961 with canonical erection on July 26, 1961. Its secondary patroness is Our Lady, Cause of Our Joy (Virgen Milagrosa de Badoc).

Pamulinawen Festival Activities

The month-long calendar of Pamulinawen Festival features many public spectacles and community activities. There are concert, trade fair, grand parade, street dance, Calesa Parade, sports, beauty pageants like Miss and Mister Laoag, Valentine’s Day program, pet show, entertainment, variety shows, cultural presentations, Dulang Food Festival, etc.

On the other hand, religious activities are taken care of by St. William Cathedral Parish. There are the nine-day novena and mass, fluvial procession, the pontifical mass on the feast day, etc.

How to reach Laoag City, Ilocos Norte

One can book a flight to Laoag International Airport. Alternatively, buses from Manila have regular trips to the city daily.


Pamulinawen Festival Summary

NamePamulinawen Festival
CelebrationCulture, Religion
ChurchSt. William's Cathedral
DateFebruary 10
Duration1 month
LocationLaoag City, Ilocos Norte
OrganizerCity Government of Laoag
PatronSt. William the Hermit
Previous NamePagdadapun Festival
ReligionRoman Catholic
Simultaneous eventFoundation of Ilocos Norte, Valentine's Day