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Posted by Dexter Matilla - - 0 comments

If the mood around the Cultural Center of the Philippines appears brighter this time of the year, it’s probably because of the 50 new white lanterns that surround its façade.
Designed by CCP’s chief of production design Eric Cruz, the lanterns came all the way from San Fernando in Pampanga, a city that has earned acclaim as the “Christmas Capital of the Philippines” thanks to its rich history of lanterns that go all the way back to the early 1900s.
The lanterns were made in the home of Ernesto David Quiwa, a Fernandino who has made a living out of making lanterns ever since he first learned to make one in his youth.

A fourth-generation descendant of Fransico Estanislao—acknowledged as the pioneer of lantern making in San Fernando—Quiwa is well-known for his giant lanterns that range from 1-20 feet in diameter. Lanterns of that size usually use up to 6,000 light bulbs. Quiwa’s giant lanterns have been seen in other countries including Spain, the United States of America, and Japan.
But for CCP’s starburst lanterns, the design called for simplicity, which according to Cruz complements the building’s exteriors. Each lantern is eight feet in diameter and has 64 bulbs with eight flicker circuits.
The lanterns are built to last and are expected to be the main decoration for the CCP in the next three years. As for the number 50, Cruz says that there’s no particular reason why except for budget constraints since they had initially hoped for more lanterns.

In a year that was defined by the controversy surrounding an art exhibit that earned the ire of the religious community, the CCP at least now has something else to show off that would likewise serve as a symbol of hope for a better year in 2012.
The lanterns will be lit from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. during this year’s Simbang Gabi. On Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, it will be on from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. and will continue to be lit until Jan. 8, 2012.
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     Text and photos by Dexter R. Matilla
     For the Philippine Daily Inquirer

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