CITY OF SAN FERNANDO – For the second consecutive year, this city’s signature Giant Lantern Festival will be held in various digital platforms, as the city government continues to promote and implement “safe tourism” amid the current global health crisis.
The GLF 2021 Executive Committee has set the holding of the festival on December 16 through a live stream in local television channel CLTV 36 and committee-managed Facebook pages and other video sharing platforms.
Mayor Edwin “EdSa” Santiago leads this year’s committee as honorary chair, along with Vice Mayor Jimmy Lazatin as honorary vice chair, and Roberto Hizon as chair.
“May pandemiya man o wala, magpapatuloy ang kultura at tradisyon sa Siyudad San Fernando. Ang gusto natin, maipalaganap ng mga parol natin ang mensahe ng pagmamahal, pag-asa, at pananampalataya. Naging mas makabuluhan pa ito ngayong may krisis,” Santiago said.
Seven barangays— Bulaon, Calulut, San Juan, San Nicolas, Sta. Lucia, Sto. Niño, and Telabastagan—will showcase their masterpieces in this year’s edition.
Robinsons Starmills Pampanga will once again serve as the venue for the entire duration of the festival, including the main show and exhibitions. The venue will not be open for physical audience as everyone is encouraged to watch in the comfort of their homes.
While the organizers have yet to issue guidelines, exhibition days will be exclusively for drive-in audience and walk-in audiences will not be allowed, Hizon explained.
Despite the city government’s focus on funding its Covid-19 response, funds are still provided for the creation of giant lanterns, Hizon said. These will be used along with the help of private sector partners and sponsors, led by the Robinsons Land Corp.
“Ang LGU ay naglaan ng pondo para sa pag-repair o pag-ayos ng ating pitong parol. Habang ang executive committee naman ay humingi rin ng tulong sa mga pribadong kumpanya at sektor, sa pamamagitan ng solicitation,” he said.
City tourism officer Ching Pangilinan said apart from the continuous efforts in improving the previous edition, the celebration of female skills and talents will also be highlighted in the traditionally male-dominated festival, as two new members of their sector are joining the teams.
“We are looking forward to more improvements on the digital version from last year’s success. This year, there are also female workers among our participating barangays,” Pangilinan said.
In 2018, Maryanne Torres was recognized as the first-ever female member of the giant lantern-making industry. Torres created then San Jose’s entry and brought home the first runner-up trophy.
This year, two lady members of the San Nicolas team will participate in the village’s giant lantern-making journey.
The now over a century-old Giant Lantern Festival is an annual event of the City Government of San Fernando and Giant Lantern Festival Foundation, Inc.
Lantern-making, in general, earned for San Fernando the title “Asia’s Home of the Giant Lanterns” and “Christmas Capital of the Philippines,” and distinction as “2018 Top Tourism Hub in the Philippines.”