Giant lanterns foster bayanihan amid crisis

THE Giant lanterns of the City of San Fernando in Pampanga not only are symbols of hope and resiliency, but are works of art that foster the spirit of bayanihan and volunteerism amid the coronavirus crisis.

During the Giant Lantern Festival or "Ligligan Parul" main exhibition night on December 16, 2021 at Robinsons Starmills, the seven barangays of Telabastagan, San Juan, Bulaon, Sta. Lucia, Calulut, Sto. Niño, and San Nicolas showcased their 20-foot lanterns holding up to 10,000 light bulbs to light up the spirit of Christmas in this city branded as the Christmas Capital of the Philippines.

Mayor Edwin Santiago underscored that the Giant Lantern Festival, crisis after crisis, truly fosters the bayanihan spirit amidst challenging times, as communities come together to share and pitch in to the creation of the Parul Sampernandu crafted by the city's talented lantern makers.

“The Ligligan Parul defies the odds brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic and other challenges we face. It gives a message of hope, joy, faith, and love among Fernandinos, kabalens, compatriots, and to all people around the globe,” he said.

The local chief executive further stated that the city's sparkling giants will bring joy, courage, and hope, not only to the citizens of Pampanga, but to everyone who will witness the performances, to overcome the present challenges and look forward to a better normal.

For his part, Giant Lantern Festival 2021 Executive Committee Chairperson Roberto Ma. Hizon emphasized that the festival is the biggest, brightest, and most colorful celebration not only in the City of San Fernando, but in the whole Pampanga as well.

“The Ligligan Parul does not only exhibit giant lanterns as stars of hope, but also a display of artistry of the city's esteemed lantern makers whose talents are passed on from generation to generation,” he stated.

Part of the intangible cultural heritage on the giant lanterns is the use of rotor technology where electricity is run through the wires attached to steel cylinders that are turned manually by had to create the harmonization of lights and sounds.

Meanwhile, Giant Lantern Festival 2021 Executive Committee Co-chairperson Ricardo Pineda Jr. said the festival is proof that Kapampangans did not lose hope amid the pandemic with its tradition still being colorful and grand.

“The City of San Fernando, being the Christmas Capital of the Philippines and Home of the Giant Lanterns, did not let the Covid-19 pandemic hinder a tradition that stood through generations. I commend the lantern makers for bringing happiness to everyone's heart, and letting Kapampangans celebrate Christmas with love, and the essence of bayanihan,” he said.

It was in the year 2020 when the festival had gone fully digital for the first time and was held online via livestream considering the guidelines on community quarantine.

Robinsons Mall Senior Vice President and Business Unit General Manager Arlene Magtibay added they are delighted to be the venue of an amazing display of huge lanterns for the Ligligan Parul.

“Year after year, the participating barangays put up an amazing and awe-inspiring display of lanterns. These giant lanterns are truly a testament to the artistry and creativity of Kapampangan folks... Not even the pandemic hindered us in having this event,” she pointed out.

For this year, the Ligligan Parul will have a limited face to face viewing to be opened to about 300 persons; and drive-in for about 50 cars per show on the nightly from December 17, 2021 to January 2, 2022, except December 24 and 31.

Those who are looking to witness the showcase of the huge lanterns may register at Level 2, Robinsons Movie World, Robinsons Starmills; or book their tickets online at www.giantlanterns.com. (JTD)

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