Lights Up: Giant lanterns stun Pampanga in historic ‘parol’ festival

Image: Gerald Gloton
Image: Gerald Gloton

One of the hallmarks of a Filipino Christmas is the parol (Christmas lantern), and the province of Pampanga is best known for its bright and grand displays as the country’s Christmas lantern capital.

True to its identity, each of the city of San Fernando’s communities showed off its largest and most stunning parols in the province’s 114th Giant Lantern Festival — the first time the competition was held in two years after it was paused due to the pandemic.

In the past two years, the lanterns were merely displayed as part of an exhibition.

Some 10 barangays (villages) joined the competition, with the barangay of San Juan emerging as the winner with its mosaic pattern and Santa Claus design.

Image: Gerald Gloton

“As we preserve our brand of being the Christmas capital of the Philippines, the city government will continuously support our lantern makers and the whole industry,” San Fernando mayor Vilma Caluag said.

At the end of each year, the city of San Fernando is known to light up with several roadside displays of lanterns, as local makers sell different versions of the traditional parol. Large, electronic versions of the parol made in Pampanga are known as parul sempernandu.

READ: After 10 years, father and son lantern makers perfect design for sturdier fabric parols

Reader Interactions

Leave A Reply


Support local news and join a community of like-minded
“Coconauts” across Southeast Asia and Hong Kong.

Join Now
Coconuts TV
Our latest and greatest original videos
Subscribe on