We’re almost in the home stretch. Half of the last “-ber” month is already over, and Christmas is a little over a week away (as of this writing). Our Municipality is gearing up for its own “3 N 1” – Christmas, the town fiesta, and New Years – and everyone’s a youngster again.
Somewhat unseasonable weather, like a meteorological Grinch, is trying hard to dampen the townsfolk’s spirits; but it’s failing to do so. Wintery daytime temperatures of 22C seem rather cold compared to the 29C-35C days that we’ve enjoyed last week. A continuous light rain, mixed in with northerly winds of 30-45 km/hr, supplements the temperature in feeling lower.
Still, today was a big day for holiday lovers here in Pasuquin. The Annual “Christmas Lantern Parade” and the lighting of the Municipal Christmas Tree kicked off our town’s “official” holiday celebrations. Even though three and a half months of “commercial” celebrations have just barely tolerated, all is forgiven with the shop owners who’ve plagued us with “Jingle Bells” blaring for the eternal -ber months.
All’s harmoniously wonderful as holiday tunes, old and new, fill our ears this week.
THE LANTERN PARADE …
… is quite the activity here in the province. Every barangay, school, and school district constructs their own lantern to both parade for all to see and, more importantly, to compete with other lanterns for prizes. Though limited to a 4 ft x 4 ft height and width, a lot of time, energy, ingenuity, and good old-fashion work goes into putting together each symbol of Christmas.
As in the past five or six years, your humble scribe was honored to be one of the panel of judges for the parade this year. And, as in years past, the honor is not an easy one to perform. Each entry is viewed when it stops in front of the panel, and is assessed in five somewhat subjective categories:
- Creativity and artistic quality;
- Use of 80% “disposed” materials (empty plastic bottles being a favorite) and 20% “natural” materials (bamboo being tops in this regard);
- The use of colors and lighting;
- The quality of construction; and
- The community’s reaction.
As the prizes are substantial amounts of cash, and competition is considerable, there are even “penalty points” subtracted from an entry’s final score if directions are not followed to a “T.” Being late to appear, register, or find your proper place in the parade line up can cause your winning lantern’s score drop to the bottom of the pack. Other “violations” are equally disastrous.
Here are some pictures from the event. I hope you enjoy them.
As you can see, it was a cool day with continuous light rain showers. The pictures were all taken prior to the parade forming up, during the lantern registration period. The weather didn’t dampen the spirits, but sunset at around 5:30 PM made judging just that little bit more difficult.
(This Grinch, by the way, is making my composition a little difficult. As we are currently undergoing very strong winds with even stronger gusts, frequent, short duration brown outs have me typing in a sentence at a time! 🙁 )