BATTLE OF THE GIANTS
Updated: Nov 11, 2019
VOL. 1 NO. 1 DECEMBER 2018
BY: MARIA AZALEA FLORENTINO
PHOTO COURTESY OF: CITY TOURISM OFFICE - SAN FERNANDO, PAMPANGA
Originally called Ligligan Parul, The Giant Lantern Festival in San Fernando, Pampanga, is a yearly festival held on the Saturday before Christmas. Regardless of whether the festival first started in 1904 or 1908, this festival has become an integral part of Philippine Christmas tradition.
This grand event can trace its humble roots to Bacolor, where a simpler version of this festival marked the start of the event. Upon the usher of the 20th century, this celebrated event was moved to its familiar home now, San Fernando, Pampanga, also known as the Christmas Capital of the Philippines. It is only in this province where you can see the colorful grandiose of lanterns that measure more than 15 feet in diameter.
The first Giant Lantern Festival was in honor of former President Manuel Quezon, who opened Mt. Arayat National Park for tourism which greatly helped generate income for the province.
Nowadays, you can expect to see an explosion of the colors of the rainbow in a wide array of dazzling lights and grandeur as the giant lanterns take center stage in the parade. The lanterns though were not as humongous as they are now. Back in those days, the lanterns that paraded in broad daylight were just about two feet in diameter.
Today you can feast your eyes on jaw-dropping gigantic lanterns that are five times larger than their original size in the past. It is perhaps the fierce competition that goes with the parade that lantern makers continue to push the creative boundary forward with innovative materials and designs.
Imagine lanterns with built-in machines that allow movement and light optimization. As the parade entertains its audience, participants of the Giant Lantern Festival keep their fingers crossed in hopes of being declared as the winner of the festival.
Perhaps more than the splendor that the festival has is the hope that light itself brings; after all, the lanterns were originally made to give guidance and light in the darkest night. So head on to San Fernando, Pampanga, and witness all the glory that our humble parol has to offer.
Check out http://www.giantlantern.ph for more details and schedule of the Giant Lantern Festival. [K]