THE newly-inaugurated Giant Lantern Tourism and Information Center is housing the centuries-old heritage and tradition of this capital city.

Sitting inside the historic Paskuhan Village along the Jose Abad Santos Avenue, Giant Lantern Tourism and Information Center was redeveloped by SM Prime Holdings Corporation (SMPH) to become a venue for showcasing the Fernandino’s artistry and creativity.

The SMPH, through its subsidiary Premier Central Inc. which currently has ownership of the 5,000 square-meter Paskuhan Village, donated 500 square-meter of the land and shouldered the construction expenses of the two-storey infrastructure as part of its amicable settlement on the purchase of land.

The building is house to an exhibit space, a museum, pasalubong shop, library and archives center, an office for the City’s tourism department, and a conference room.

According to Mayor Edwin Santiago, the launching of the Giant Lantern Tourism and Information Center strengthens the title of this capital as the Christmas Capital of the Philippines and the Home of the Giant Lanterns.

“Ito ang sumisimbilo sa pagkakakilala sa atin na ang San Fernando ay lugar ng mga higanteng mga parol. Ipinagmamalaki natin na dahil nag-iisa lang itong Christmas Village sa buong Pilipinas, at dalawa sa buong mundo,” he said.

Santiago furthered that the opening of the Giant Lantern Tourism and Information Center will help boost the trade and commerce of the city which slowed down due to the pandemic.

He said that apart from the in-house pasalubong center, the Giant Lantern Tourism and Information Center will also hold regular trade fairs where local businessmen can sell their products.

Meanwhile, Santiago expressed gratitude to the support of third district Representative Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales, the Department of Justice and Office of the Solicitor General, and the generosity of SMPH for making the realizing the dream of redeveloping and reopening the Paskuhan Village.

“Ipinaglaban natin ito para sa mga Fernandino at Kapampangan ng susunod na henerasyon. More than the legacy, ito ay aking trabaho bilang namumuno sa ating siyudad. At sa pagtatapos ko sa termino, ito ang aking ambag sa pagpapatatag ng kultura ng siyudad San Fernando,” he said.

Santiago also stressed that the project is part of the seven parks in the city that were built and developed during his incumbency.

SM Development Corporation President Jose Mari Banzon, for his part, expressed gratitude to the city government for allowing SM Group to be part of revitalizing the City of San Fernando and Pampanga’s cultural heritage.

“Pampanga is becoming an important economic corridor in the Philippines and the SM Group will continue to show its support to make Pampanga a world-class destination,” he said.