WATCH How Pampanga lanterns ‘twerk’

Miley and the girls from Brandon Beal’s music video, “Twerk It Like Miley,” were not the only ones to specialize in this newest form of dancing. Last December 19, at the Robinsons Starmills grounds, the city of San Fernando gave the word its own Kapampangan interpretation, as the annual Ligligan Parul (Giant Lantern Festival) proved once again that they truly deserved the title “Christmas Capital of the Philippines.”


"Al dove u all," a variation of AlDub, the phenomenal tandem from Eat Bulaga's Kalyeserye.

“Al dove u all,” a variation of AlDub, the phenomenal tandem from Eat Bulaga’s Kalyeserye.



Now on its 107th year, the lights of the eleven colossal lanterns, each around 20 feet high, twerked through a music show amidst the rain on the opening day. Brgy. Dolores was hailed as the overall champion while Del Pilar, Sindalan and Calulut bagged the first, second and third runner-up awards, respectively.



The Giant Lanterns of Pampanga are run by electricity and controlled manually by using these rotors.


So how do these electricity-driven, manually-controlled lanterns twerk? Watch this:




Released in 2014, the song, Twerk It Like Miley, was even popularized locally by the segment, “That’s My Bae” on the noon time show Eat Bulaga. The song eventually became part of the soundtrack of the show’s phenomenal segment, Kalyeserye, featuring Pambansang Bae (National Heartthrob) Alden Richards and Dubsmash star, Maine Mendoza. The tandem was later on known as AlDub, which was a combination of Al from Alden and dub for Maine.

The lanterns also twerked to the tune of Dawin’s Dessert, Lou Bega’s Mambo No. 5, and Bigbang’s Fantastic Baby, all of which were also included in the soundtrack. Watch the lanterns dancing to theses tunes here:




But using festive songs, with a little bit of spice in them, did not mean losing the true essence of the image of the lanterns, the star which guided the Three Wise Men towards the child Jesus. An figure of the Virgin Mary and of Christ on the cross were featured in Brgy. Sindalan’s parol.




The asset of the lantern of first runner-up Brgy. Del Pilar featured a dove, symbolizing peace and bringing “al dove,” a variation of AlDub, across also.





Brgy. Sindalan also paid tribute to the Philippine flag to the tune of Francis M.’s Mga Kababayan Ko.





The world-class lantern performances were re-staged at Essel Park at Brgy. Telebastagan on December 22. The following day, Brgy. Sindalan witnessed the lantern twerks at Greenfields Tennis and Country Club Inc., where the Viewfinder took all her videos. On December 26 and 27, Angeles City watched the lights at Marquee Mall. The lanterns had returned to Robinsons Starmills from December 28 – 30 and would be illuminating Clarkfield on New Year’s Eve. They would be spending the first 6 days of 2016 back at the same mall.



From the Facebook page og Giant Lantern Festival 2015.

From the Facebook page og Giant Lantern Festival 2015.



If one would be going on a road trip, Pampanga would just be one to one and a half hour drive from Manila. Just cross the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and take the San Fernando exit. Robinsons Starmills would just be after the toll gate.

If one would be taking public transportations, any bus going to Bataan would be passing by Pampanga. The said buses also had a bus stop at Robinsons Starmills. Genesis or Bataan Transit terminals in Cubao or Pasay would get anyone to the city of San Fernando. Bus fare would be just around a hundred pesos.



The Ligligan Parul truly was one of the most festive celebrations of Christmas in the country. And for the tradition to last more than a hundred years meant that our Kapampangan craftsmen were able to go with the trends over time. And so this year, they made the lanterns twerk. In 2016, the year of the monkey sure would be bringing something naughty and cheerful for the world to see at the Giant Lantern Festival of Pampanga.

Pursuing Polaris, Seven Years Ago

It was the year when DSLRs started capturing video, and memory cards began dethroning mini-DVs in the film and photography industries.



At the Dominion Bus terminal in Cubao, Quezon City. Circa 2008.



The year was 2008. It was the semestral break of our third year in film school. For the following term, we would be asked to present our production theses and proposals. And the pressure was just so overwhelming that we felt lost and did not know what to do.

We all knew where our compasses pointed and so we decided to find ourselves further north. We went on a trip, not towards the Cordilleras where most people would go to, but somewhere northwest.

After more than eight hours of traveling by bus, we found places willing to share their experiences with lost souls like us. And they were none other than the provinces of Ilocos.

A Place to Look Around

In Science, the first step in the scientific method had been to observe. And where could we go to see an overview of the whole situation? High places had always been perfect spots, just like the Bantay Belfry.

Situated on top of a hill, the campanile of the municipality of Bantay provided one of the best views of Ilocos Sur. Built during the 1590s, the brick establishment served as a watchtower for enemies since the Spanish Period up to World War II.

The Bantay Belfry, towering over Ilocos Sur.

The Bantay Belfry, towering over Ilocos Sur. Photo by Ami Gatchalian.


But the tower was not made only to spot intruders. It was also a good place to check what the vast world could offer young castaways like us. And upon seeing the entirety of the picture, we decided to visit the Spanish checkerboard of the nearby city of Vigan.

Crossroads at Vigan

Intersecting roads might be more confusing to those seeking the right path. But the timeless beauty of the cobblestones and the capiz shell windows were telling us that they might be holding the lead to our search.



A piece of technology amidst the centuries-old surroundings. Photo by Sheig Encelan.

A piece of technology amidst the centuries-old surroundings. Photo by Sheig Encelan.


The Heritage Village of Vigan never lost its magic through the years. The calesas continued to transport guests back in time. The place was even hailed recently as one of the New 7 Wonder Cities of the World.

Calle Crisologo and its old Spanish houses would always remind us of our rich history. The place taught us, that for us to be able to move forward, we should, every once in a while, look back to our past.

Pottery is a process

Pottery had been a craft practiced around the world ever since mankind began. And it remained to be a process ever since.


Danboard overseeing the burnay-production. Photo by Sheig Encelan.

Danboard overseeing the burnay-production. Photo by Sheig Encelan.


The Pagburnayan of Vigan, located a few minutes from the Heritage Village, was a living demonstration that the best things in life never happen overnight.

From the gathering of clay to the molding of the jars up to the kilning process, pottery sure was a craft requiring specific skills and a lot of patience. And so was film and other significant forms of art.

Test of Strong Winds

So did we really have the patience? We braced ourselves and embarked on another three-hour bus ride to witness the coastal towns of the nearby province of Ilocos Norte.

And just before we reached the municipality of Pagudpud, the first test of endurance greeted us, “Hello!” Strong winds came rushing, blowing away everything on its path. And they were no ordinary winds. They were strong enough to make 20 colossal pieces of steel rotate to produce energy.


The epic Bangui photo of Sheig Encelan. windmills

The epic Bangui photo of Sheig Encelan.


The Bangui Wind Mills, inaugurated in 2005, were one of the major sources of electricity in the region. Because of the strong winds, the shore was covered with chunks of polished stones instead of the usual white sand.

Journeys were made exciting by these strong winds. And the best way to get through them was just to glide and go with the flow.

A Long and Winding Road

A few more minutes on the journey and the winds finally subsided. But it was just a starter. We were welcomed after by a majestic view of the West Philippine Sea and a significantly winding road.


Are you willing to go through Patapat Viaduct? Photo by Ami Gatchalian.

Are you willing to go through Patapat Viaduct? Photo by Ami Gatchalian.


The 1.3-kilometer Patapat Viaduct connected the Ilocos Region to Cagayan Valley. The word viaduct came from the Latin words via meaning ‘road’ and ducere, meaning ‘to lead.’

The ride through it was nice and sweet. And true enough, this winding road was really kind to lead us to our final destination.

The North Star

Finally, the fine white sand beaches of Brgy. Saud in the town of Pagudpud brushed the soles of our feet. And being on a journey to find our true north, the Polaris Beach Resort caught our attention. And luckily, they even offered us a fair student discount.

It was already dark. The six of us sat quietly by the shore, staring down at our sand-laden feet, while enjoying the sweet hum of the waves.

Everything was so calm and serene. There were no bars by the shore. There were no drunk people dancing around bonfires. There were no loud music. It was just the sand, the sea and us.

Hours passed by quietly. Drowsiness was slowly pushing our backs flat on the sand. Looking up now, we finally saw what we were looking for.

Apparently, we were not alone that night. We were accompanied by the stars, beautifully arranged in the velvet sky.

And there at the center was the genuine Polaris, outshining all the other stars. And the experience was like an electric shock to our veins. Right there and then, sweet smiles were etched on our faces. Every trace of being lost was now temporarily gone.


rainbow copy

There was a rainbow behind us. There was… really. haha. Pagudpud 2008.

After 3 days and 2 nights, we were able to find what we were looking for. We went back to the bustling streets of Manila bringing with us those shining ideas for our theses.

Seven years after, in the year 2015, we are still wandering, this time in this so-called real world. And being lost in the real world is nothing compared to being lost at the university. We were now on an intensified search of ourselves, hanging somewhere in the time-space continuum.

Consulting the compasses of the real world can be overwhelmingly confusing. They point to a variety of paths that lead to a variety of goals.

But upon looking back on this trip, we are reminded. The night sky offers a wide range of stars and dreams. All we need to do is to find our true North Star, the one that outshines them all.

Pursuing Polaris in Pagudpud

The year has been 2008.  We have wandered in search of our theses topics.

The year is 2015. But we are still wandering, and are lost on what to do with our lives.

A throwback post will be arriving soon as the Viewfinder shares her experiences of being lost, literally and figuratively, during the time when she is not into blogging yet.


pagudpud 2008 ilocos norte philippines

Circa 2008. Forgive the reaction on my face.

Will we ever find our true North Star? Our true Polaris? Our true passion and that thing that we really wanted to do with this thing called life?

Seeking Davao


“Business travels or work-related trips are always tight on schedule and may only include one rest day or none at all. But traveling to a city like Davao, with all the metropolitan sheen all over it, and upon seeing its vast greeneries from the plane ride, a true traveler would definitely set his or her goal.

Official business focuses on the city proper. But the adventurer will not be able to resist the temptation and will eventually sneak out. He or she can definitely find a way to escape work through the urban forests of Davao. And if one is keen enough, one could even find a natural wonder that is three hours away from the bustling streets of the metro.”

More of Davao on the 2nd Quarter issue of The Electrical Engineer! Digital copy of the magazine can be accessed here.