The Showdown of Pampanga’s Giant Lanterns

Everyone’s talking about how stunning Catriona Gray was when she strutted wearing her Miss Universe 2018 national costume featuring Pampanga’s pride: the giant lantern. It was a great introduction and very timely as the annual Giant Lantern Festival 2018 happened this December. This year was extra special because it celebrated its 110th year.

The Giant Lantern Grand Showdown 2018 took place at Robinsons Starmills San Fernando, Pampanga on December 15, 2018, Saturday where thousands of spectators came to witness this year’s Giant Lantern Festival main event.

11 barangays showcased their own enormous colourful lanterns and competed for the Ligligan Parul. The intricacy of making a giant lantern took each barangay one year to perfect their entries, a demonstration of the lantern makers’ passion and artistry. They still stick to the tradition in lighting the lanterns and they all still use a rotor to operate a complex yet spectacular pattern of lights. This is definitely one of the wonderful things Pinoys should be proud of – art that the whole world shoul see.

During the first round of the showdown, each barangay showed off their pieces with light patterns, techniques, and music. The audience couldn’t help but dance to the music each competitor used, especially when the trendy KPOP songs of Momoland played. Of course, it was more heartfelt when each of the giant lanterns showed their Christmas messages reminded the audience of the true meaning of Christmas: the birth of our saviour, Jesus Christ.

The second round was tougher as they had to operate their giant lanterns to the tune of random music. This was done by a batch pre-selected by the organisers.

For the last round, all 11 giant lanterns took the stage for the final showoff. They were accompanied by a brass band in honour of the tradition. In the old days, brass bands played the music while lighting the lanterns. It was magnificent!

However, in the middle of the final showdown, faulty wiring sparked, which caused the electric supply for some parols to shut down. Because of this, the organisers sped up the program. Good thing no one got hurt. It was merely a minor electrical issue that was part of the tradition. As the Kapampangans believe, whichever parol stands the last would be the winner of the showdown.

In the end, Telabastagan won the grand prize for this year’s Ligligan Parul. Among the other winners were San Jose (1st runner-up), San Juan (2nd runner-up), and San Nicolas (3rd runner-up).

The program ended with spectacular fireworks! Those who were not able to catch the main event can still witness nightly exhibitions until January 2, 2019 in different venues in Pampanga. You can visit their official Facebook page for the schedule.


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