MORE than 50 giant lanterns accentuate the magnificent view of the Iloilo River, reviving the Filipino tradition of hanging "parols" during Christmas season.
“We would like to showcase Iloilo River, our natural resource, which we are truly proud of,” said Mayor Jose Espinosa III following the opening of the first ever Iloilo City Giant Lantern Festival on Monday evening, December 11.
Espinosa said he would like families to appreciate the beauty of the river, make it a preferred venue for families to stroll, and at the same time highlight the "parol" this Yuletide.
He said it has been the tradition of Filipinos, especially children, to watch for "parols" during the "Misa de Gallo."
“This is the happiest time of the year and we would like our people to enjoy. We hope they appreciate how beautiful the city is,” he said.
While strolling, they may enjoy street foods being sold along the river as well, he added.
The activity, with the theme “Viva Parol: Kasanag kag Duag sang Paskwa” (Viva Parol: Light and Image of Christmas), seeks to remind Ilonggos that “lanterns symbolize Christmas and this season is the best time to celebrate Jesus Christ’s birth in a Christ-loving city.”
The festival is also a competition open to the city’s 180 barangays.
Each "parol" stands six feet tall and six feet wide, with either traditional or modern design but the final product should be made of recycled and indigenous materials.
Best "parols" will be judged based on their originality (uniqueness) and creativity (lighting and design), getting 40 percent each of the criteria and workmanship (utilization of recycled and indigenous materials) at 20 percent. The City Government has allotted P155,000 for the prizes.
Winning "parols" will get P50,000 for the first-placer; P40,000 and P30,000 for the second and third placers, respectively. Five others will receive P5,000 each.
The lanterns will be on display until January 8, 2018.
Espinosa, in an earlier interview, said the attraction starting from Plaza Libertad passing by the lighted Iloilo City Hall toward the stretch of the Iloilo River would connect up to the Iloilo Provincial Capitol, which also has its own festival of lights.
The City Government also lighted all district plazas to give visitors more places to visit this Christmas. (PNA)