CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga: Thousands of spectators, local and foreign tourists, flocked the traditional annual Giant Lantern Festival held at Robinson’s Starmills to witness the kaleidoscope of colors dancing to the tune of Christmas carols.
This year, 10 barangays here, participated and competed for the prestigious title and bragging rights. These are the barangays of Sto. Niño, Telabastagan, San Jose, San Juan, Calulut, San Nicolas, Del Pilar, Sta. Lucia, Dolores and Sindalan.
For the third year, Dolores emerged as the champion, while Calulut and Sindalan, landed in second and third place respectively.
Dolores claimed P150,000, 2nd placer Calulut received P100,000 and Sindalan got P75,000.
Also Dolores used 14,140 bulbs in its lantern, Calulut 13,995 bulbs and Sindalan 13,500 bulbs.
In his message, Mayor Edwin D. Santiago said that of all the symbols of the Yuletide Season, the parul or Lantern has become the symbol that makes Christmas distinctly Fernandino and Filipino.
“A uniquely ‘ours’, the Giant Lanterns shine bright each year, bringing radiance to our artisans and craftsmen for 107 years. The event is a testament to the truly Fernandino talent, ingenuity, and workmanship in creating mesmerizing and awe-inspiring giant lanterns,” he said.
These larger than life lanterns standing 20 feet in size are composed of thousands of festive lights twinkling and shifting colors to the tune of Christmas carols and novelty songs.
Mayor Santiago noted that “Ligligan Parul” now regularly attracts visitors from other parts of the globe boosting tourism and trade and causing major leaps to the economy and development.
According to him, with the impending Asean integration, LGUs like the City of San Fernando are encouraged to find a niche within the globalized market. “One answer to this—is right in front of us—our Parul San Fernando.”
With this in mind, the city government has created various programs to further enhance the livelihood capability of lantern makers. Various training programs have been put in place to widen their scope and better their skills.
“Lantern products are no longer limited to the seasonal Christmas lanterns but have expanded to a year round light industry” Mayor Santiago said.
Extending the colorful event for the duration of the holiday season, the giant lantern exhibition will last until January. Winning entries will be displayed in the city and are expected to attract a million viewers coming from different regions of the country.