Giant lanterns of Pampanga to dazzle starting Saturday
by FFE PH News Staff
The annual ‘Ligligan Parul’ or Giant Lantern Festival of Pampanga will start brightening up the Christmas season starting 14 December. The organisers have also said that this year’s festival comes with a message to typhoon Yolanda survivors: Don’t lose hope.
This year’s festival will open at Robinson Starmills. San Fernando mayor Edwin Santiago said ‘At the start of the festival, the crowd will be invited to spend a minute of silence to wish the survivors of supertyphoon Yolanda the strength to rebuild their lives and communities.’ San Fernando tourism officer Ching Pangilinan-Gonzales added that the festival will be a unique way of inspiring hope to those who have survived the typhoon.
Ligligan Parul started in 1930 with 10 villages displaying two-storey lanterns, vying to win the title of the most beautiful replica of the Star of Bethlehem — the star which guided the Three Kings to the newborn Jesus more than 2,000 years ago.
Gonzales added that in this year’s festival, ‘The lanterns are going to give the impression of dancing as these display various kinds of lighting patterns in sync with music.’
According to local research, a salt maker by the name of Francisco Estanislao started making giant lanterns in 1908. He used bamboo and coco cloth. His grandson will compete this year, as well as other well-known lantern artisans of Pampanga. To spread the spirit of Christmas in Visayas, the local government and the festival organisers have also donated 80 lanterns to parishes in Palo, Leyte.
Big lanterns were also sent to Philippine embassies in Turkey, Switzerland, Rome, New Zealand and the consulate in China.