Hindus in PH mark Festival of Lights

MANILA, Philippines – Hindus around the world celebrate Diwali, the Festival of Lights.
In the Philippines, up to 3,000 people gather to mark the victory of good over evil.

Paterno Esmaquel reports.

(Watch Rappler's video report below.)

(The script of the video report follows.)

For the world's one billion Hindus, it's the season of change.

Hindus celebrate one of their biggest feasts – Diwali.

They call Diwali the Festival of Lights.

During this feast, Hindus remember the return of Lord Rama, who went in exile for 14 years.  It also marks the defeat of Rama's enemy.

For them, it stands for the triumph of light over darkness.

In their homes, Hindus light candles to symbolize the power of goodness.

They do this, too, in the workplace to attract prosperity.

SHAKUNTALA VASWANI, PRESIDENT, INDIAN LADIES CLUB: It's a festival of lights. It's a festival during which we light up our homes. It is also to signify lighting up our lives. It is an opportunity for us to renew or cleanse our inner personalities, and bring light into our lives.

Hindus believe Diwali is also about friends and families.

In a mall in Pasay City, up to 3,000 people from Indian families gather on the eve of Diwali. Organizers say it's one of the biggest gatherings of Indians in the Philippines.

Over 8,900 Indians live in the Philippines. This excludes those who became Filipino citizens.

While now a Christian, 27-year-old Rajiv Lachmandas makes it a point to join the party.

RAJIV LACHMANDAS, YOUNG PROFESSIONAL: It's a chance for everyone to get together once a year, see new faces, and see old faces as well.

An Indian embassy official says the Festival of Lights in the Philippines is unique.

N. RAM PRASAD, CHARGE D' AFFAIRES, INDIAN EMBASSY: [Q: How different is the Filipino version of Diwali?] Much better, much better. There's so much energy, there's so much bonding among the people... because of the mutual love, affection, and respect that Filipino and Indian people have for each other.

Paterno Esmaquel, Rappler, Manila.

– Rappler.com