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Old Posted Dec 12, 2012, 7:04 PM
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Feature: Central Luzon: The undisputed Belen and Lantern capital of the Philippines
By Joelyn G. Baluyut
Wednesday 12th of December 2012

Central Luzon has been famous for a number of things -- from gastronomic delights to fashion, from arts to sports. Name it and Central Luzon is surely on the A-list.

Every Christmas season, thousands of foreign and local tourists converge on the region to see and be amazed with the colorful displays of the Belenismo and Giant Lantern Festival in Tarlac and Pampanga, respectively.

In the gospel of Matthew, three wise men had followed a star known as the “Star of Bethlehem” to bring gifts to Jesus. Pampanga has giant replicas of this.

Eleven villages from the City of San Fernando will compete in the 2012 Giant Lantern Festival on December 15 at Robinsons Starmills.

Participants are defending champions Sta. Lucia, Calulut, Del Carmen, Del Pilar, Dolores, San Jose, San Juan, San Nicolas, San Pedro Cutud, Sto. Niño and Telabastagan.

Designer Eric Quiwa of Sta. Lucia promised to give the people “a burst of colors” on the night of the festival, while Del Pilar lantern-maker Raner Deveraturda disclosed that their entry this year has 9,000 bulbs.

According to historical accounts, the festival that is locally known as “Ligligan Parul (Showdown of Lanterns)," 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.

Through the years, several innovations were introduced to the competition, namely, the use of batteries in 1940, molding of steel wire as frame in 1950 and rotors in 1957.

Rotors are aluminum tubes that are moved so hair pins and a series of bulbs connected to these are exposed to the electricity source. The movements dictate when the bulbs will light up and project images.

Visitors can expect the burst of colors, the twinkling, a real of art of Kapampangas seen just right in front of them.

Visitors are invited to go to Central Luzon and experience the best of Philippine Christmas!

Philippines: Pearl of the Orient & Rising Tiger of Asia
Pampanga: Culinary Capital of the Philippines & Shopping Capital of Northern Luzon
City of San Fernando: The Christmas Capital of Asia, Capital of Pampanga & Economic Center of Central Luzon, Hall of Famer & Most Awarded LGU, One of the Best Cities in the World by LivCom
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