BIZ BUZZ: Lantern fest reinvented
Not even the COVID-19 pandemic can steal Christmas away from the city of San Fernando in Pampanga, whose artisans have been handcrafting exquisite Christmas lanterns for over a century.
Since 1908—long before electricity even came to the city—the “Ligligan Parul,” or the Grand Lantern Festival, has demonstrated the ingenuity of traditional Filipino lantern-making.
This spectacular festival of lights and music is back in the “Christmas Capital of the Philippines.” Robinsons Starmills, home of the giant Christmas lanterns for the past 14 years, promises a “stunning show” that will “warm the hearts and delight the soul” this yuletide season.
As the Giant Lantern Festival Foundation Inc. provides support to lantern-makers by providing training and seminars on lantern production, Robinsons Starmills provides a venue for these artisans to promote their ingenuity while selling parols. Carrying the theme “Sparkling Holiday” this year, seven barangays of San Fernando will showcase their best parol as spectators drive through a row of these massive Christmas lanterns, some of which reach up to 20 feet in diameter and gleaming with over 10,000 light bulbs.
“Sparkling Holiday fits the description of what the giant lanterns are to us—something that sparks excitement and a symbol of hope for the season. The giant lanterns will continue to shine and spread the message of hope, love and peace not just for the lantern-makers but to each one of us going through this pandemic,” said Jodee Arroyo, regional operations manager at Robinsons Starmills.
Despite the prolonged pandemic, organizers expect the festival to draw tens of thousands of visitors who do not need to leave their vehicles. The drive-in concept started last year as the pandemic unfolded. Even the cars must observe social distancing. QR codes and parking slots will be assigned to each vehicle. Preregistration is required.
The display is scheduled to run nightly at 6 p.m. on Dec. 16 to Dec. 23, Dec. 25 to Dec. 30, and Jan. 1 to Jan. 2, 2022, at the rear parking area of the mall. This year’s participating barangays are Sto. Niño, San Juan, San Nicolas, Sta. Lucia, Bulaon, Telabastagan and Calulut.
Inclusivity and intuitiveness are among the key principles that airport operator Luzon International Premiere Airport Development Corp. (Lipad) has vowed to follow in operating and managing the new Clark International Airport’s (CRK) passenger terminal, which will open by year-end.
Restrooms at the new CRK terminal will provide all-gender accommodations for transgender, nonbinary identifying individuals and cisgender people traveling with opposite-sex children or elderly companions. There will also be nursing stations for those traveling with infants, as well as prayer rooms, each with a foot-washing area for Muslims.
With a vision to be the “quietest gateway” in the Philippines, Lipad also plans to implement a “silent airport policy,” where passengers and visitors will rarely hear boarding calls and instead rely on posted announcements for quick reference.
Colors and signages will be put in place to guide passengers and visitors. Facing Manila Bay, the carpets and chairs at the domestic area are colored blue, while the international area, which faces Mount Arayat, is colored green.
Lipad is led by Filinvest Development Corp., JG Summit Holdings Inc., Changi Airports Philippines Pte. Ltd. and Philippine Airport Ground Solutions Inc.
Lipad won the 25-year concession for the operations and management of CRK in January 2019. It is the first hybrid public-private partnership project that was planned, constructed and completed during the Duterte administration.
Centennial stock grant
Sy family-led China Banking Corp., which celebrated its centennial anniversary last year, has obtained the green light from the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) to issue anniversary bonus shares to qualified employees as part of its centennial stock grant plan.
China Bank issued a total of 5,388,400 new shares to 8,321 grantees as of September 1. The shares will be listed on the PSE soon.
Employees with at least one year of service as of August 16 last year, when the bank marked its milestone anniversary, were the ones entitled to 100 shares for every year of service.
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