HIMALA SA BUHANGIN. Hundreds of visitors gather at the Paoay sand dunes to celebrate music and the arts during the annual celebration of the “Himala sa Buhangin” Festival in this undated photo. According to the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office, the event is expected to be bigger and better this year as the event has been turned into a thanksgiving celebration for the victory of presumptive president Ferdinand “Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and his allies in the local elections. (Contributed file photo)

LAOAG CITY – A bigger and better arts and music festival in Ilocos Norte is set to be held on May 28 and will feature trending Pinoy pop-rock band, Agsunta.

Dubbed "Himala sa Buhangin", the grandest outdoor arts and music festival is an annual event held every May in honor of the La Virgen Milagrosa Festival, the province’s patroness, provincial tourism officer Aian Raquel said in an interview Friday.

Raquel said the festival was originally scheduled for May 14 but they opted to push it back to May 28 to turn it into a thanksgiving celebration for the victory of presumptive president Ferdinand “Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and his team in Ilocos Norte.

Among the festival’s highlights are the unveiling of a new sculpture “Reflections of Rebirth” and the opening of a semi-permanent bamboo installation to attract more visitors to the sand dunes.

“There will also be 4x4 race and food fair at the event as we are expecting more people to come to attend the victory party of Team Marcos,” he added.

Since its launch in 2012, the festival had featured giant bamboo installations that symbolized the galleon that brought the miraculous statue of La Virgen Milagrosa along the white sands of Logo Cove in Barangay La Virgen Milagrosa in Badoc town more than 400 years ago.

Covering an 88-hectare spread of sand and wild landscape, the Paoay sand dunes is part of the key tourism development plan of the province.

It is just a few minutes' drive from the newly upgraded Laoag International Airport, as well as the international seaport of Currimao.

According to Raquel, the development of the tourism industry is among the priority programs of the Ilocos Norte government and that the annual celebration of “Himala sa Buhangin” is an attempt to create an alternative source of livelihood for the locals while enticing more tourists and investors to come in. (PNA)