Pampanga capital sparkles with giant lanterns

Posted 3 years ago

Pampanga capital sparkles with giant lanterns

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO— This capital of Pampanga province pressed on with the 106th edition of its Ligligan Parul (Giant Lantern Festival), where the city’s craftsmen showed off nine two-story-high lanterns that represented the Star of Bethlehem

Eleven judges, who included diplomats and artists, chose the lantern of Barangay Dolores to be the best lantern in the festival’s staging this year.

Designed by tricycle driver Teddy Aguilar and using rotors made by Darwin Dayrit, the Dolores lantern featured an image of the belen (Nativity scene), which sparkled with 20 patterns of lights.

The crowd cheered the rotor operators who made the lights dance with the music. Rotors are aluminum sheets rolled into barrels. Operators are able to move this contraption through a car wheel fitted to the rotor.

The crowd watched the operators, whose moves were caught on camera from behind the scenes and beamed live to the audience on large screens.

This was 43-year-old Aguilar’s first time to design a giant lantern. For more than 20 years, he was a handyman in many similar projects.

The village received the revolving trophy and bagged the top cash prize of P150,000. Aguilar and his team will get a share of P30,000 from the prize while the village will keep the rest of the amount to pay some of the cost of building the lantern, which runs to as much as P600,000.

The lantern of the defending champion, Barangay Telabastagan, designed by Arnel Flores, placed third while the entry of Barangay Calulut, designed by Eric Quiwa, was second. These villages got P75,000 and P100,000, respectively.

The other competing villages were San Juan, San Nicolas, Del Pilar, Sto Niño, San Jose and Sta. Lucia.

Special citations were given to the late musical composer Benito Escasa, who composed the festival’s official song, and to Ernesto Quiwa, who, with

50 years of experience of making lanterns, has been regarded as a local living treasure.

The competition came in three rounds. In the first round, the lanterns performed one after the other while three lanterns performed as a batch in the second round. The last round saw all the lanterns displaying their full designs and colors.

“This is so good, fantastic … There are so many dancing lights,” said Jonny Fukuhara, 29, a visitor from Tokyo.

“I have not seen big lanterns like these,” said British tourist Susan Western.

Marion Jaime came all the way from Iligan City in Mindanao to watch the festival while Jan Chong drove from Caloocan City in Metro Manila to catch the event. “The designs are unique and the event is very organized,” Chong said.


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