MABALACAT CITY – The city of San Fernando lit up its skies with its annual Giant Lantern Festival (GLF) to celebrate the Kapampangan Christmas spirit at the Robinsons Starmills open grounds on Saturday, December 17.
Locals celebrated the 114th year of the highly-anticipated “Ligligan Parul” (Giant Lantern Competition) after two years of virtual celebration brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Onlookers watched a dance of lights from 10 San Fernando barangays in Pampanga as they competed and showcased their lantern-making craftsmanship.
The following barangays took part:
- Del Pilar
- San Juan
- San Nicolas
- Sta. Lucia
- Sto. Nino
- San Juan
Barangay San Juan won the grand prize, amounting to P300,000 and a trophy. Barangay Telabastagan and Barangay Sta. Lucia bagged the 1st runner-up and 2nd runner-up positions, winning P200,000 and P100,000, respectively.
“It is indeed a blessing that we prevailed as this year’s grand winner and our hard work paid off as we share God’s grace through our skills in lantern-making,” said Mark Niño Flores, the youngest giant lantern maker from San Juan.
Flores encouraged his fellow Kapampangan youth to experience the wonders of lantern-making with his advocacy in preserving and promoting its industry in the province.
Pampanga Governor Delta Pineda and San Fernando Mayor Vilma Caluag expressed their support of the Giant Lantern makers and artisans who devoted their time and skills to put up a cultural exhibition as the lantern makers served as a testament to the Kapampangans’ resiliency by continuing the tradition despite the pandemic.
“The GLF celebration is a tribute to their creativity, and collective effort to further promote lantern-making to help sustain the Kapampangan’s distinction as artists and craftsmen in the global community of nations,” the governor said.
“The entire lantern making industry also contributes to the economy and tourism of the city. As we preserve our brand of being the Christmas capital of the Philippines, the city government will continuously support our lantern makers and the whole industry,” the mayor added.
Caluag noted that the symbolic ornaments play a vital key in the preservation of culture and heritage of the province as it continuously passes on to the next generations.
Over the years, Kapampangan lantern makers have traveled to different countries to showcase their craftsmanship and creativity, providing colorful lights with a message of hope around the world. – Rappler.com