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Annual Lantern Parade at the University of the Philippines Diliman lights up the hearts of Filipinos

The night fell upon UP Diliman, cloaking the university in a velvet embrace with a million sparkling lights. Excitement crackled in the air, thicker than the December chill, as the annual Lantern Parade prepared to ignite its magic.

  • 2 months ago
  • January 8, 2024
4 min read
This Red Giant Squid coming out of a newspaper creating an ink blot won first place for the best Christmas Lantern. This lantern display passed through the grounds of the University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City on December 20, 2023. | Photo courtesy of George Buid This Red Giant Squid coming out of a newspaper creating an ink blot won first place for the best Christmas Lantern. This lantern display passed through the grounds of the University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City on December 20, 2023. | Photo courtesy of George Buid
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QUEZON CITY, Metro Manila, Philippines ꟷ Today’s photo gallery comes from George Buid. Buid is an independent journalist and photographer from the Philippines. He focuses on capturing stories of everyday individuals, communities, and culture. This gallery features the University of the Philippines Diliman’s annual Lantern Parade. The theme of this year’s event, “Panibagong Lakas,” means renewed energy. The parade featured about 70 floats made solely of lanterns. The rolling floats cast a spectacle of light through the streets of the campus. The floats often reflect current social issues, cultural heritage, or artistic innovation. They serve as a beacon of creativity, inclusivity, and social awareness.

Each float in the Lantern Parade represents a story. The incandescent canvases pulse with messages that resonate with the souls of Filipinos, from social issues to cultural heritage.

The night fell upon UP Diliman, cloaking the university in a velvet embrace with a million sparkling lights. Excitement crackled in the air, thereby battling the December chill. The people waited expectantly as the annual Lantern Parade prepared to ignite its magic.

The COVID-19 Pandemic led to a three-year gap in the schedule. Yet, the Lantern Parade returned with zeal. The “Bagong Lakas” (New Strength) theme ignited every heart like a melody of hope etched in the twinkling lights.

Seventy sparkling floats deliver messages to ignite the Filipino soul

Seventy lantern displays, each a luminous goliath, stood poised to conquer the university’s academic oval. Traditional parols – simple stars embellished with intricate filigree – danced side-by-side with giant lanterns.

A jeepney, its headlights blazing neon, rumbled alongside a majestic vinta, its sails billowing with dreams of resilient fishermen. Laughter rang out from a mobile concert perched atop a truck, punctuated by the rhythmic stomp of cheerleaders’ acrobatic performance.

Indeed, the lanterns are more than just dazzling spectacles. Their incandescent canvas pulsed with messages that resonated with the Filipino soul. An enormous whale shark swam the campus street made out of recycled materials and whispered warnings of environmental injustice.

When the parade began, a wave of light swallowed the university. Thereby, they washed away the darkness with a kaleidoscope of colors. Music soared, laughter rippled, and cheers thundered as the giants rolled by. Faces, young and old, glowed in the reflected brilliance, etched with wonder and a renewed sense of community.

The theme “Bagong Lakas” awakens renewed hope for spectators

The parade flowed, not just along the path, but also through the veins of the crowd. It was a transfusion of “Bagong Lakas,” a collective surge of hope and resilience. The pandemic tested the Filipino people, however, it did not break them. The celebration became a testament to that, a vibrant tapestry woven from creativity, courage, and the unwavering Filipino spirit.

Each lantern sparked a conversation and ignited a question. Some, adorned with placards, ignited debates about public transport and progress. Others whispered the promise of a brighter future built on education.

As the last lantern faded into the distance, its final flicker left a trail of starlight in its wake. A hushed awe descended upon the campus. The echoes of laughter and music lingered, a sweet symphony of a community reborn. At that moment, under the luminous gaze of the lanterns, the future seemed a little brighter. The people felt a little bolder and full of “Bagong Lakas.” The UP’s lantern parade wasn’t just a spectacle. It was a promise, whispered like an oath in dark times. It reminded the crowd that the Filipino spirit will always find a way to shine.

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