CITY OF SAN FERNANDO - Amid the chaos happening in the country nowadays, the giant lanterns that were lighted here over the weekend became symbols of hope to the nation this holiday season.
At the 109th Giant Lantern Festival held Saturday, December 16, most of the 10 participating barangays featured the words peace, love, hope and freedom in each of their 10-minute presentations.
Barangay Dolores was again named the champion for the fourth consecutive year.
Three barangays - namely Sindalan, Calulut and Del Pilar - also remembered the Maranao brothers and sisters who might be celebrating Christmas in the evacuation centers as well as paid tribute to the soldiers who battled it out with the terrorists for the liberation of Marawi City in Lanao del Sur.
Barangay Sindalan lantern maker Arvin Quiwa said his team thought of featuring the "Bangon Marawi" words dancing to the Awit sa Marawi song as way of honoring the bravery and resiliency of Maranao people.
Marawi was devastated by a five-month armed conflict between the government troops and the Maute terrorists, who laid siege to the city as security forces tried to arrest terrorist leader Isnilon Hapilon.
The conflict, which broke out on May 23, prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law in Mindanao. Congress has extended martial law until December 31, 2018.
Barangay Calulut, on the other hand, featured the "Hope and Peace for Marawi, Salute to AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines)".
Lantern maker Eric Quiwa noted that the special presentation was aimed at paying tribute to all people who sacrificed their time, strength, and resources for peace and freedom.
GLF 2017 Chairperson Virgilio “Gil” Cortez said that the incorporation of such uplifting interplay of lights and sounds made this year’s event more special and meaningful.
“We are all aware of what happened in Marawi City and our brothers and sisters there, and this is our way of extending our love and prayers to them and we wanted to thank our world-class craftsmen here who showcased that through their masterpieces,” he said. (SunStar Pampanga)