Guling-Guling is a traditional festival, implemented by Spanish monks at the beginning of the 16th century. It is celebrated in Paoay, Ilocos Norte the Tuesday before the Ash Wednesday—the last day for merrymaking before the start of the Lenten season. The celebration starts with a ritual called “Guling.” This word can be translated as “mark” or “sign.” In the old days, the mayor of the town smeared people’s foreheads with a white cross made of wet rice flour.
This cross signifies purity and cleansing from one’s past sins. Nowadays, the celebration starts with a colorful dance parade. Both men and women wear traditional clothes, jewelry, and other accessories. Guests of the town may also join the celebration.
Moreover, this is a unique chance to try several kinds of local food. Dudol, for example, is a delicacy also made from rice flour, as well as coconut milk, sugarcane juice, and anise. Usually, people share this dish with their family and friends. Another thing to try is sweet and sour Basi also known as sugar cane wine. This is the official drink of the festival, made naturally from sugar cane extract flavored with ground glutinous rice, java plum bark, and other fruit and barks.