Our friend from Pampanga invited us to its annual Ligligan Parul or the Giant Christmas Lantern Festival/Competition on December 22, 2012. The lanterns are prepared by each barangay headed by its captain. Among the 11 barangays that participated are Brgy. San Nicolas, Brgy. Del Cramen, Brgy. Telabastagan, Brgy. Galulut, Brgy. Sta. Lucia, Brgy. San Pedro, Brgy. San Jose, Brgy. San Juan Nepomuceno and Brgy. Del Pilar. The best parol presentation for 2012 was awarded to Brgy. Sta. Lucia (1st), Brgy. Telabastagan (2nd) and Brgy. San Jose (3rd).
According to its operator, it takes a year to design and mount the lantern. The festival is a spectacle for the locals that both adults and children enjoy. At 6PM, people trooped to the plaza where the lanterns were mounted. They sat and waited for the lanterns to be lit. Each lantern presentation took 6-10 minutes. It was enjoyable and tiring too. To know the secret of the parol, you will have to talk with the operator at the back of the lantern, who dances to the beat of the Christmas song as he switches lights for the lantern. To know how much of the barangay budget each parol costs, you will have to ask the captain how much it sacrificed for extravaganza. I am not sure though whether this matter is made transparent to the public by the local government.