The launch coincided with the inauguration of the Garlic Farmer's Monument, sculpted by Filipino visual artist Raphael David who was also behind the sculpture of "Panday" film series character Flavio unveiled at the Paoay Sand Dunes during last year's Himala sa Buhangin! Art and Music Festival.
Provincial Tourism Officer Mr. Ianree Raquel shared that more than tourist attractions, the garlic center and farmer's monument stand in honor of all Ilocano farmers "who really made sure that our province will thrive and that development is sustained, and they have done that for many generations."
The Tourist Center, which doubles as an educational garlic museum, also aims to centralize garlic commerce for "agritourism," benefiting both sellers and consumers.
This was a response to tourist feedback regarding the difficulty and lack of security in stopping by roadside stalls just to buy bawang (garlic), lasona(spring onion), and other local products.
The site also offers visitors the opportunity to observe abel or loom weavers in action. The fabric was highlighted in the recently concluded Miss Ilocos Norte 2016 pageant, which featured candidates clad in evening gowns made almost entirely of the fabric.
Governor Imee R. Marcos shared, "Kinikilala natin ang ating mga weaver… ang kagandahan ng paggawa ng ating heritage craft na kailangang buhayin."
"I'm very hopeful that together, we'll be able to make Pinili a center of investment, trade, and tourism," she added.
Since December 2015, Ilocos Norte has been aggressively opening and refurbishing cultural and historical tourist sites such as: the Taoid Museum in Laoag City; the Balay Dingras; the Burgos Lighthouse Museum; the Paoay Convent Ruins; the Museo de Siwawer in Vintar; and the Museo nina Juan at Antonio Luna in Badoc.
These efforts are in line with Gov. Marcos' vision for PGIN to uphold the Ilocano heritage through the preservation and development of culture and arts.