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Events & Festivals 2001
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October l November l December

Feast of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception

On 8 or 9 December each year, the Feast of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception is celebrated. On this feast day, one will be able to witness street processions in the afternoon and a grand boat procession at night on the Malabon River and Manila Bay of the fishing community of Malabon, northwest of Metro Manila.

Giant Lantern Festival

December is probably the most spectacular month in the Philippines with many colorful festivals taking place. Like many Christian countries, this month is dedicated to the celebration of Christmas. As such, there is one particularly stunning festival called the Giant Lantern Festival, which is celebrated three days before Christmas at the town plaza of San Fernando, Pampanga Province.

At sunset on 22 December, lanterns of different shapes and sizes (some so big that they need to be drawn by a tractor) can be seen parading along the streets, bringing light to the dark of night as townspeople dance to the music from the lively brass band. The sound of Christmas carols fill the air, bringing wonderful nostalgia while children playing in the traditional pabitin game clamber up a trellis to grab at candies.

A grand competition exhibiting the finest parols (colored paper lanterns) is held on 24 December as people from different town barrios vie for the coveted Star of Bethlehem title in a friendly rivalry, reflecting the effort and amount of time spent on the exhibit. The celebration that begins on 22 December is a parade of lanterns, music, dancing, feasting and merry-making. Rest assured that the housewives of San Fernando will have no peace at this time of the year as their houses will be swamped with visitors in their bid to sample traditional Noche Buena. Noche Buena are Christmas Eve specialties of chicken relleno, lechon, bibingka, rice a la Valenciana and menudo among others.

Almost everyone in town except for the locals, smiles and yells Maligayang Pasko, meaning Happy Christmas as a sign that they had a great time.

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