Giant Lantern Festival: The Biggest Christmas Extravaganza in the Philippines

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Giant Lantern Festival (all photos by RSPinzon)
Giant Lantern Festival (all photos by RSPinzon)
Giant Lantern Festival (all photos by RSPinzon) | Source

oWhile making hubs on Christmas decorations, I partially included the "Giant Lantern Festival" in the Philippines. With Princessa's follow-up HubMob topic this week (Nov.8-14, 2010), I will be able to reveal the 'grandeur and awesomeness' of this widely participated festival in the country.

With or without Santa Claus' reindeer and upgraded sleigh, let me bring you to the historic place called San Fernando, Pampanga, the place of the most-awaited festival during Christmas in the country.

Imagine having a forty-foot lantern as one of the entries or more bigger than that?

Spectators should be careful when looking at the display. That's my advise, folks and it's sensible. Aside from it, you should also be watchful about the lightings or the thousands of bulbs lighting every lantern. And of course the firecrackers and the deafening sounds during Christmas!!!

Christmas capital in the Philippines

A markerSan Fernando, Pampanga, Philippines -
City of San Fernando, Philippines
[get directions]

Giant Lantern Festival or Ligligan Parul is the tourist atraction of the city every Christmas season.

December in the Philippines

December is the busiest month in the Christian communities all over the world, whatever denomination you belong. Gift-giving, singing Christmas carols, watching giant Christmas tree lights up the center of the city, visiting orphanages or having a soup-kitchen for the less fortunates...what more can we do to really feel the 'spirit of Christmas' that the Lord Almighty told us to do throughout the year?

People are showy, but loving, so Christmas parades can be visible along the main thoroughfares of the famous cities around the world.

One worth-mentioning is our very own Giant Lantern Festival happening the last Saturday before Christmas eve in the Philippines.

The Ligligan Parul, as popularly known among locals in San Fernando has its long, memorable in the annals of country's history.

The making of giant lantern during the inauguration of President Manuel L. Quezon's presidency (Commonwealth regime under American occupation 1904-1944) paved the way to continue the traditian before Christmas eve.

It becomes the obsession of every residents in San Fernando to join the annual contest and win big prizes starting from barangay division up to the grand finale in the city.

I can observe nowadays that parol-making or star-lantern making became synonymous with the local industry in the city.

Although, the industry nearly die during the 1990 Mount Pinatubo eruption that enundated the whole city with lahar, people decided to renew their commitment and rebuilt their businesses, especially parol making.

The rest is history. More and more local tourists and foreign enthusiasts, as well visit the city every year to witness the awesome and spectacular event..that is. Giant Lantern Festival!!!

CRAFTSMEN in the City of San Fernando in Pampanga prepare one of eight giant lanterns that will compete in the 'Ligligan Parul' Festival on Dec. 21. A much bigger one is being considered for the Guinness Book of World Records.
CRAFTSMEN in the City of San Fernando in Pampanga prepare one of eight giant lanterns that will compete in the 'Ligligan Parul' Festival on Dec. 21. A much bigger one is being considered for the Guinness Book of World Records. | Source

The making of a giant 'parol'

Making huge entries for the festival pose problems to the city of San Fernando. That's why each entry must have the following protection to avoid the outpour of fire in the vicinity.

The city's fire bureau and the technical committee agreed that all entries should have:

  • safety box
  • 75 KVA (kilo-voltage/ampere) generator

The power emitting from those entries could light up the whole county or one barangay. With more than  30-40 thousands of light bulbs fitted at the intricate deisgn of one entry, I am sure, you'll be amazed on how they jive with the brass band music emanating from each lantern.

They're so high-tech that even the Guinness Book of World Records staff are intrigued and equally amazed that they visit the city every time the festival is in the offing!

Talked about a 'parol' or lantern as hight as the four-story building or about 40 feet in breadth!!!

Participants are entrants from exclusive barangays of the city (I hope it should be nationwide in the future) that include: San Jose, Dolores, Lourdes, Sto. Rosario, Del Pilar, San Pedro, Sto. Niño. Sta Lucia, and San Nicolas.

The colossal achievement of the city every Christmas can even surpass the excitement of the spectators and the fireworks and music that dazzle tourists frolicking the place at night.

Giant Lanterns Festival 2009 - Telabastagan c/o simplepretty2009

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Comments 12 comments

Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

Awww, who wouldn't love the light show. Cool hub!


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

Thanks, Denise!. This is not about all the giant lanterns being showcased in the place every December, but, the food two. Pampanga is also hailed as the cuisine capital in the Philippines, too!


earthbound1974 profile image

earthbound1974 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

Wow! This is awesome!!!Can't wait to hear the results for this year's contest. :D


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

Beautiful! I just love the light, the color, the unity, the beauty. What great photos too. Thanks a million.

Rated up! Yay!


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@earthbound1974: I'm sure the finest of it all will win and the biggest, too!


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

Thanks, BkCreative. Much appreciated! This lanter festival is the most awaited event in the city of San Fernado and here in the Philippines, too!


Fluffy77 profile image

Fluffy77 5 years ago from Enterprise, OR

Amazing, so positive and fun loving with this celebration here. We have festival, and parades but not this large and really very beautiful. Thanks for sharing!


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

Thanks for this very BIG appreciation. Being a Filipino, I am always fascinated with the craftsmanship of our fellow citizen here. They go beyond the expectation of everyone including foreign tourists.


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

Well put-together hub. Voted awesome! Thanks too for writing a hub about San Fernando's annual Christmas event. Been there only once. Would definitely visit again.


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 5 years ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@kerlynB: Thank you for dropping by. Welcome to HubPages. I'm sure you'll enjoy it here.


arjay perez limpin 4 years ago

He was so beautiful lantern but i saw many not lighting on the lantern :( but he know how to play her light so beautiful! :)


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 4 years ago from Bicol, Philippines Author

@arjay perez limpin: Thanks. It's the light sequencing that affect the whole play plus the music of the lantern.

They say that you have to witness the live projection of every giant lantern in San Fernando in order to wholly appreciate it.

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