San Fernando’s Giant Lantern Festival returns, bigger than ever

After a two-year hiatus, the City Government of San Fernando, the Giant Lantern Festival Foundation, and the GLF’s Executive Committee brought back the Giant Lantern Festival, with participating villages once again battling each other in the competition.

In 2020 and 2021, due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, the GLF was held through a blend of digital and limited face-to-face schemes and an exhibition of seven participating giant lanterns.

This time, 10 barangays were in competition, with thousands of spectators able to see the entries of barangays Bulaon, Calulut, Del Pilar, Dolores, Pandaras, San Juan, San Nicolas, Sta. Lucia, Sto. Niño, and Telabastagan during the festival competition night on 17 December 2022 at the Robinsons Starmills Pampanga.

The competition was also livestreamed and broadcast on various private and government-run social media platforms.

The number of light bulbs used in each 20-foot-tall lanterns in this year’s festival ranged from 8,000 to nearly 10,000.

Apart from the traditional love, hope, and faith-themed messages of the Christmas lanterns, the entries highlighted the City’s COVID-19 pandemic recovery stage and other social issues such as environmental management, gender equality, etc.

“One way of showing the importance of our lantern-makers and the Fernandino artistry and craftsmanship is our continuous staging of the Giant Lantern Festival, which, after a two-year break, we are bringing back with bigger prizes,” said GLF 2022 Executive Committee honorary chairperson City Mayor Vilma Caluag.

From P150,000 in 2019, this year’s top prize was doubled to P300,000.


San Fernando, Pampanga Mayor Vilma Caluag (second row, seventh from left) led the awarding of the cash prize and trophy to Barangay San Juan, the winning village in this year’s Giant Lantern Festival. Joining Caluag were San Juan team members, festival committee members, festival judges, and city councilors. (Photos courtesy of San Fernando’s Giant Lantern Festival)

The GLF was once again co-managed with various representatives from the private sector,  led by Executive Committee chairperson Ricardo “Jun” Pineda, Jr.

Clinching this year’s top title and bringing home the grand trophy and P300,000 cash prize was Barangay San Juan — a first for the village in the 114 years of GLF history.

San Juan’s Mark Niño Flores also made history in his decade-long lantern-making stint, bagging his first-ever championship title and making him the second youngest maker at 27 years old.

“Our triumph would not be possible without the grace and blessings of the Lord Almighty. My father also played a huge role in my career now, as he was the one who introduced me to lantern-making. My sincerest gratitude also goes to my team, who performed excellently to give our audience a great show,” Flores said.

Sharing the podium with San Juan were Telabastagan and Sta. Lucia, which were named first runner-up and second runner-up, respectively.

After the competition, a two-week exhibition in various sites will be held, beginning on 18 December at the Robinsons Starmills Pampanga.



Read more Daily Tribune stories at:

Follow us on social media
Facebook: @tribunephl
Youtube: TribuneNow
Twitter: @tribunephl
Instagram: @tribunephl
TikTok: @dailytribuneofficial