San Fernando City: Giant Lantern Festival 2012 | Ligligan Parul

SAN FERNANDO CITY, Pampanga - It's the middle of December and many houses in the Philippines are already decorated with Christmas lights and lanterns of different sizes and colors. I remember in my childhood the giant Pampanga-made lanterns displayed in upscale subdivisions in Pasig. It was in the 1990's when having a Pampanga-made lantern was a status symbol for the rich and wanna-be rich. Watching those lanterns at night have always been a source of entertainment for many.

Fastforward to year 2012, we traveled to San Fernando City in the province of Pampanga to witness the annual Giant Lantern Festival. Because of this century-old tradition, locally called Ligligan Parul, the City of San Fernando was dubbed as Christmas Capital of the Philippines.

We were so excited as this would be our first time to attend the festival. We left Manila at 3:00pm and arrived at Robinsons Starmills Mall, the venue of the event, at around 5:30pm. After we had claimed our media and photographer ID cards, we immediately proceeded to the event area to secure the "best spots" to cover the event.

Eleven giant lanterns were set up side-by-side in a showdown competition for the best lantern award. Each lantern, representing the eleven participating barangays, can have a height of up to 20 feet. The “dancing” lights of each lantern is controlled by a metal barrel manually turned by a team representing their barangay. 

This year's winner is Brgy. Del Pilar, with Brgy. Telabastagan and Brgy. San Jose placing second and third, respectively.

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