San Fernando City in Pampanga is known to be the Christmas Capital of the Philippines for its the home of the Giant Lantern Festival held every year for the Yuletide season. This year the competition happened last Dec 14, 2019 and will have a nightly exhibit until January 1, 2020. Different barangays of San Fernando City battling to win the title of the best giant lantern, for this year 12 barangays participated namely barangays of San Agustin, San Pedro, Telabastagan, Bulaon, Calulut, Del Pilar, Sindalan, Sta. Lucia, San Jose, San Juan, San Nicolas, and Sto. Niño.
At the end of the competition, they announced the 2019 winners rising to the top is the Grand Champion – Barangay Sta. Lucia, 1st Runner up – Barangay Calulut, 2nd Runner up – Barangay Del Pilar, and 3rd runner up – Barangay Sindalan.
This years’ event is also one of the best for many barangay participated the festival and I had the chance to bond with my friends from the media.
I had the opportunity to visit one of the famous parol makers Mr. Rolando Quiambao as to appreciate more this uniquely Kapampangan tradition. He show us the prototype of Giant Lanterns using Rotor System, share the basic parts of the lantern and lantern making workshop in which we put our creativity in creating our own parol that we can take home.
Mr. Rolando’s passion and love for Pampanga is truly inspiring and admirable. Lanterns are not only beautiful piece of art but a symbol of Kapampangan’s pride, hope, dreams and resiliency.
Mr. Rolando sharing history about Ligligan Parol”Giant Lantern Festival” and some inspiring stories about this world class craftsmanship.
Quick Facts about this Festival:
Historians said that the first lantern competition was organized in honor of Aurora Aragon Quezon, then First Lady of the Philippines in the year 1931.
Severino David introduced battery – operated giant lanterns in the year 1940.
Mario Datu and Susing Manalang introduced the molding of steel wire as frame in 1950.
The Christmas Lantern Contest was co-organized by the Municipality of San Fernando and Department of Tourism Angeles Field Office in the year 1975.
Brgy. Del Pilar was the Champion in 1983-1991(9 years ) the longest depending champion in the competition.
The traditional parts of a Giant Lantern from inside to outside are:
⭐ Tambor (inner core) ⭐ Siku-Siku (angles) ⭐ Palimbun (outer circle) ⭐ Puntetas (trimmings) ⭐
Heading to the Giant Lantern Festival?
Since the event happen at 6pm with nightly exhibit until January 1, 2020. You can maximize your visit in Pampanga by having a day tour exploring culinary, heritage and culture. Here’s a recommended itinerary from the Department of Tourism Philippines Region III.
7:30am Assembly Time (Angeles Area)
8:00am Estimated Time of Departure
8:45am ETA arrival at San Fernando Train Station
9:30am Start of Fernando Kalesa Tour Visit Old Houses ( Heritage District)
11:00am Visit Lantern Maker and Experience on How to make your own lantern.
12:00nn Lunch and Cooking Demo at Everybodys Café
1:30pm Visit San Guiliermo Church Bacolor
2:30pm Visit St James Church – The Sistine Chapel of the Philippines
3:00pm Visit Duman Maker and make your own Duman
4:00pm Drop by at Sta Rita Delicacies – Ocampo-Lansang
5:00pm Drop by local Christmas Delicacies like puto bungbong and bibingka
6:00pm Start of Giant Lantern Festival Show
The Tour Experience
*San Guillermo Parish Church
*Everybodys Café *Kapampangan
*Historical Train Station
*Kalesa Historical Tour
*Giant Lantern Festival Show
Visiting Pampanga will surely be one of the your best experience this yuletide season for this grand Robinsons Malls Giant Lantern Festival with day tour exploring Pampanga’s culinary, culture and heritage.
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See you there! 🙂