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Pampanga lanterns light up Philippine Center in New York

Ric Sapnu - The Philippine Star
Pampanga lanterns light up Philippine Center in New York
Filipinos gather at the Philippine Center in New York City on Dec. 1 for photos with two giant Christmas lanterns sent by the provincial government of Pampanga.
STAR / File

SAN FERNANDO CITY, Pampanga, Philippines – Two big lanterns sent by the Pampanga provincial government to the Filipino community in New York City have been lit and are on display at the Philippine Center on Thursday.

Elmer Cato, Philippine consul general in New York, led the lighting ceremony, which was graced by Ambassador Antonio Lagdameo, permanent representative of the Philippines to the United Nations.

Consul General Winanto Adi of Indonesia, Consul General Abu Hassan of Malaysia, Consul Christine Tay of Singapore, Consul Renita Moniaga of Indonesia, Assemblyman Steven Raga of New York and Deputy Commissioner Dilip Chauhan of the Office of International Affairs of New York City also attended the event, believed to be the first ever lighting of big Christmas lanterns at the Philippine Center.

“Our dream of having giant lanterns here in New York is finally happening tonight, thanks to Gov. Dennis Pineda of Pampanga who was generous enough to send two mini-giant lanterns from our province,” Cato said in a brief program held before the lighting ceremony.

Speaking on behalf of the governor, Lubao Mayor Esmeralda Pineda said the provincial government sent the lanterns so that Filipinos could “get a feel of what Christmas is like back home.”

“Paskong Pinoy, ika nga,” she added, expressing hope that the lanterns would “renew their sense of being Pinoy and their sense of home.”

Cato said that “with many Filipinos working in New York missing their families and friends in the Philippines during the Christmas season, we wanted to spread a little holiday cheer – the Filipino way – by having our parols light up the street outside the Philippine Center.”

Eric Quiwa, a great, great grandson of the pioneer giant lantern maker Francisco Estanislao, handcrafted the two lanterns.

The first lantern measures eight feet in diameter and is fitted with 875 bulbs.

The second one is six feet in diameter and has 680 bulbs. The lights go on and off in various patterns using channel sequencers – a unique contraption invented by lantern makers – rather than the traditional rotors.

The Bureau of Customs in Clark helped ship the lanterns. Mekeni Food International, Dollarhits in New York, Ihawan Restaurant in New York and Pampangueña Restaurant in New Jersey supported the event.

LANTERN

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