Sunday, December 16, 2007

Giant Lantern Festival 2007

As promised to myself… and to you… I returned to watch the 2007 version of this spectacular spectacle. And I was happy I did! This was my 3rd witnessing of the festival and anyone can kill me for being a fan… but I will surely return next year!

I have thus seen the 2005, 2006 and 2007 rendition of those giant lanterns. My verdict… I can’t seem to get enough of them giant lanterns! Ah they are just so gloriously beautiful – especially if you think of and have an idea on how those things come to be!

I am ready to declare that this must be one of the most amazing labors-of-love in this country! How else do we want to call it anyway… 18 feet in diameter, thousands of light-bulbs, kilometers of electrical wire, thousands of sheets of paper and transparent plastic, kilometers of masking tape, thousands of hair-clips, rehearsals, kilograms worth of starch made into paste, a truck, rehearsals, music, metal-sheets, layouts, artworks, rehearsals, electric bills, and many things else… all for the pursuit of a wooden trophy no taller than 3 feet?! Whoa and WHOA!

Officially, this is always called the Ligligan Parul of The City of San Fernando in Pampanga and its home venue is still that open-air “auditorium” at the back of (and by) SM City San Fernando.

So how was it this year?

There seemed to be more people last year (2006) though I did not attempt to count. I just thought I had more ease moving around and wading amongst the thousands of people in attendance. Ah there were more foreigners onstage than last year.

But there were fewer lanterns this year. There were only 8 lanterns compared to last year’s dazzling dozen! Nonetheless, we all had fun watching the 8 gigantic blinking things!

The runs were of course similar to last year’s. Each lantern must perform alone for its initial 7 minutes of fame! Then they played by pairs also for 7 minutes. Then by fours (first four then next four) also for seven minutes and finally “altogether now” which just mesmerized everyone! Really beautiful!

My notes:

Thankfully, there were no pre-program activities. When the ceremonies started (as usual, late than as advertised) it was already the main program.

Oh I don’t think those were the same two emcees who anchored last year’s event. The duo this time was a pair of leaner folks than last year’s (or so I thought). But they did have the same likeable voices sans the excessive exultation of politicians! The girl’s English was better than last year’s. They did of course acknowledge those but not in an over-rated and overzealous manner! Even the foreign visitors were acknowledged well.

The starting ceremonies were the same though, hehehe! That pesky choir was again called in to do the “Bayang Magiliw” and the lengthy “The Prayer” Tagalog Version! And yes, I even squeezed myself to the very front of the crowd and beside a big speaker, yet, I did not like how it came out. Maybe the city can’t afford more microphones?! I still ask the same question… “What on earth is an invocation really?” Does it have to be a spectacle? Do you have to regale the crowd with a performance by a choir? Ahh!

I still was not happy at the acknowledgement of the engineers and makers of the lanterns. They deserve more. But at least, I felt okay since there were no excessive & useless exultations of visitors and politicians – there were snippets of it though! I think its getting clearer to these people that what should be exulted are the lanterns and the makers and the event – not their visitors! Its enough to acknowledge and thank visitors.

The winner this time?! Barangay Telabastagan AND without question! That lantern was just yet in the first few seconds of performance and I already sensed it was going to grab top honors. It did!

See you next year?!


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  2. Very informative post. Keep it up.

  3. It has been my long time dream to participate in a giant lantern festival. I intend to watch the festival this coming dec 15 but unfortunately i will climb the summit of pulag... Hopefully i get to experience this too one of these days.