Colorful, bright giant lanterns of San Fernando

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These giant lanterns, around 20 feet in diameter are entries of the different barangays of San Fernando.
These giant lanterns, around 20 feet in diameter are entries of the different barangays of San Fernando.

I got excited when I peeked at the glass walls of the mall and saw that the giant lanterns San Fernando were already lighted that I quickened my pace to the parking lot where a sizable number of people were already gathered. Finally, after several years, I’ve visited the famous giant lanterns of San Fernando, Pampanga!

The Giant Lantern Festival San Fernando is a yearly event in San Fernando, Pampanga. What started as a religious activity at the start of the 20th century and progressed to electrified lanterns when electricity was introduced in the city in 1934. From individual effort, it has transpired to a communal activity that today, instead of papel de hapon, bamboo frames and manual switches, the different barangays have one that is made from colored plastic or glass, metal frames and computer controlled switches to the tune of Christmas carols mixed with popular tunes.

But one really has to see these beautiful Christmas symbols that have made the City of San Fernando as the Christmas Capital of the Philippines, heck, it even has a Paskuhan Village (Christmas Village) several years before. Looking at the beautiful colors and the dancing lights can be mesmerizing. And to the tune of music?

People watching the entries to the festival
People watching the entries to the festival
Mesmerized audience as the lanterns's colors dance and blink
Mesmerized audience as the lanterns’s colors dance and blink
The entry from Barangay del Carmen as it switches from different designs and colors
The entry from Barangay del Carmen as it switches from different designs and colors
The entry from Barangay Telabastagan, winner in the 15 December competition. Their light design is just beautiful, imaginative and very colorful!
The entry from Barangay Telabastagan, winner in the 15 December competition. Their light design is just beautiful, imaginative and very colorful!
Entrants from the different barangays of San Fernando line their giant lanterns
Entrants from the different barangays of San Fernando line their giant lanterns

The Giant Lantern Festival of San Fernando is still ongoing till 3 January. Check the official Ligligan Parul Sampernandu FB page for details and schedules.

To reach San Fernando venue of the Giant Lantern Festival, from Manila, one can take different buses: Five Star, Bataan Transit, Victory Liner… but please make sure to ride on one that will make a stopover at SM Pampanga, you’re drop off.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London).

He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces. Open for work, collaborations and inquiries for site features.

7 thoughts on “Colorful, bright giant lanterns of San Fernando

  1. Bai, San Fernando is the birthplace of my wife. One of our dream places to be visited soon. Thanks bai ani. :-).

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