Giant lanterns wow 30,000 folks; Ballsy awards winners

>> Saturday, December 29, 2012

By George Trillo

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga — A host of high-profile personalities led by presidential sister Ballsy Aquino-Cruz hailed the lantern-making tradition of this city as they judged last week this year’s “Ligligan Parul (Showdown of Lanterns)” witnessed by over 30,000 spectators.

“Indescribable. You have to see it yourself and the program is getting better and beautiful” said Aquino-Cruz shortly after awarding Barangay Del Pilar for ruling this year’s Giant Lantern competition.

Barangay Del Pilar took home a giant star-shaped trophy and the P120,000 grand prize, while Barangay Telebastagan came in second place with P60,000 and Barangay San Jose as third placer, winning P40,000.

Electrician Antonio Manaloto from Barangay Del Pilar said their team was preparing almost every night in the past two months to experiment with the right color combinations in a bid to topple perennial Lantern December Festival winner, Barangay Sta. Lucia.

Equally elated at awarding held at Robinsons Starmills was champion lantern-maker Rainier de Vera Turda. “We used 8,500 bulbs worth P300,000, which is lesser compared to our P500,000-worth entry in 2011 when we ranked fourth. Also, we have nine rotors and none of it was broken.”

One of the 12 judges – KumikoKoroda, a musician and wife of the president of Asian Development Bank (ADB) – revealed that she wanted to bring some of the lanterns in her hometown in Japan.

“Paper lantern” is common in parts of East Asia for over 300 years now.

To highlight the enduring tradition, City Tourism head ChingPangilinan bared plans of constructing a lantern museum that would house the best made crafts.

The LigliganParul, is believed to have started in 1908 when Francisco Estanislao pioneered the lantern-making industry in San Fernando.

Estanislao is said to have built a giant lantern for a Christmas procession during that year.

However, it was only in 1931 when the first lantern competition was formally organized. The inaugural contest was in honor of Aurora Aragon Quezon – wife of former president Manuel Quezon.


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