CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- From being the "Christmas Capital of the Philippines," the City of San Fernando has been branded by CNN.com as "Asia's Christmas Capital" because of its "Parul Sampernandu" and giant lanterns.
In a recent report for CNN by Al Gerard Dela Cruz, the Fernandino giant lanterns, featured in a December 14 competition and a two-week exhibition and tour that culminated on January 3, were cited as the credence for the brand "Christmas Capital," even as the lantern industry here is a year-round activity.
Dela Cruz described the giant lanterns in the CNN post as "the largest incarnations of the Philippines' parol, an eye-dazzling electric Christmas lantern that symbolizes the Star of Bethlehem. In action they're truly a sight to behold. Each giant parol features a series of thousands of spinning lights synchronized by seven large steel drums -- the rotors."
He added: "Only 10 or so of the giant parols are produced a year to compete in San Fernando's Ligligan Parul, or Giant Lantern Festival. It has been held every December for the last 80 years in Pampanga province, about 75 kilometers outside of Manila. It's this yuletide fervor for the nationally loved electric star that has lent credence to San Fernando's cachet as the 'Christmas Capital of the Philippines.' And likely even Asia."
Mayor Edwin Santiago and 2013 Giant Lantern Festival Executive Committee chairman Engr. Marni Castro both welcomed the "new branding" and said that the international recognition brings more distinction to the city and the Parul Sampernandu.
"We are very happy and proud to be named as Asia’s Christmas Capital. It is a great honor for Fernandinos and our lantern makers that the world has recognized the ingenuity and craftsmanship of this centuries-old tradition. It gives as the drive to be better and support the Parul industry in San Fernando," they noted. (Sun.Star Pampanga/Sunnex)