Pampanga | Ligligan Parul 2016: Winners, Schedule of Exhibits, Etc.

giant lantern of barangay San Nicolas - Ligligan Parul 2016 participant

Pampanga's Giant Lantern Festival, also known as Ligligan Parul, is an annual event held in December in the City of San Fernando. Dubbed as the "Christmas Capital of the Philippines", the festival traced it's roots in Bacolor (former capital of Pampanga) and as far back as 1908 when the first festival began. This festival is an offshoot of a religious activity called "lubenas", a parade of lights wherein the people of the community bring lanterns before going to church for misa de gallo. The first lantern competition, however, was held in the 1930's in honor of the first lady of Pres. Manuel L. Quezon, First Lady Aurora Aragon. 

This year, the competition was held two Saturdays ago, December 17. I was lucky to have witnessed it this year; thanks to my dearest BFF for joining me and accompanying me to this event. I wasn't able to take much photos because I didn't bring a tripod but I'm still thankful, at least I was able to actually watch it and not concentrate on taking photos. I hope to be back next time to take more photos and to finally buy a Fernandino-made parol. Hopefully... :)

Giant Lantern Festival 2016 Winners

winning lantern (champion) - Ligligan Parul 2016

1st runner-up: barangay Calulut - no photo, unfortunately but watch the video of the grand showdown below, barangay Calulut is the rightmost lantern in the video. :)

winning lantern (2nd runner-up) - Ligligan Parul 2016

Schedule of Exhibits

For those who weren't able to witness the competition proper last December 17, you may witness the display of the giant lanterns in the following dates and venues:

December 18 - 21, 7:00PM - Robinson's Starmills
December 22, 7:00PM - Essel Park, Brgy. Telebastagan
December 23, 7:00PM - Greenfields, Brgy. Sindalan
December 24, 11:00PM - Brgy. Poblacion
December 25 - 30, 7:00PM - Robinson's Starmills
December 29 - 30, 6:00PM - Marquee Mall
January 1, 7:00PM - Robinson's Starmills

barangay Del Pilar lantern - Ligligan Parul 2016 participant

Giant Lantern Festival 2016 Showdown

Watch the showdown between barangay Sta. Lucia, the acknowledged pioneer in lantern making and where the inventor of the rotors (the steel barrels that manipulates the play of lights and patterns on the lantern) came from and this year's winner, barangay Dolores in the video below. Pretend for a while you didn't know yet the winner, which would you choose between these two?

Ligligan Parul 2016: group showdown!

Watch the video below for the grand showdown among all the participating barangays in this year's giant lantern festival competition. The showdown was accompanied by a live music by Betty's (not sure of the name) Band 48, the tune of which is unknown to the participants until the showdown starts.

Ligligan Parul 2016: The Grand Showdown!

~ oo00oo ~

Pampanga's Giant Lantern Festival is indeed "the biggest, brightest and most colorful Christmas event in our country". It showcases the artistry and craftsmanship of Filipinos, Fernandinos particularly, through painstakingly building and creating intricate designs and patterns that become the giant (20 feet in diameter) lanterns. Truly, it's a delight to watch and get mesmerized by the myriad (around 14 thousand bulbs) of colorful lights and kaleidoscopic patterns as they dance to the tune of lively Christmas songs (and other pop music).

Note: Participating giant lanterns in this year's Ligligan Parul are still on display at the exhibit. If you want to witness the spectacular display of giant lanterns, please check above-posted schedule and venue.

Have a happy and blessed holidays everyone, Merry Christmas! ^_^

~ oo00oo ~

Ligligan Parul 2016
San Fernando City, Pampanga
Date of Visit: December 17, 2016

Tagaytay | Puzzle Mansion: A Showcase of Amazing Passion and Dedication

Puzzle Mansion - Tagaytay

I've seen the owner of Puzzle Mansion being interviewed on TV a few years back but it's only this year that I was able to visit the Puzzle Mansion. Puzzle Mansion is owned by the late Georgina Gil-Lacuna (she died of heart attack in 2014), holder of Guinness World Record's largest collection of jigsaw puzzles. To date, Puzzle Mansion has more than 1,500 collections of jigsaw puzzles of various sizes and shapes and themes from religion, classic arts, landscapes, architecture, places and many others.

Gina Gil-Lacuna's Guinness World Records certificate

In the photo above is the certificate from Guinness World Records certifying that Georgina Gil-Lacuna has the largest collections of jigsaw puzzles consisting of 1,028 different puzzle sets. It was awarded in 29 November 2012 and this record has not been broken up to this time. Though not certified, Puzzle Mansion also holds the biggest puzzle in the world consisting of 33,600 puzzle pieces though it's not clear to me who worked on/finished the puzzle.  But according to one of the staff manning the mansion, Lacuna intends to break her own record in Guinness. Unfortunately, her demise prevented her from doing so.

Wildlife: world's biggest puzzle consisting of 33,600 puzzle pieces

How to Get to Puzzle Mansion

Google maps is our usual company during our road trips. I will search the place at the start of our trip, start traveling and follow the route provided. That's how we were able to reach the Puzzle Mansion, though we almost missed the road leading to it because it's kinda narrow. Anyway, if you're traveling by car from Manila, here's how it goes:
  • Drive through the South Luzon Expressway
  • Turn right and exit at Sta. Rosa exit
  • Continue driving straight ahead passing through Silang-Tagaytay road until you reach Tagaytay Rotonda.
  • At Tagaytay Rotonda, exit/follow the Tagaytay-Nasugbo road; after around 6-7 kilometers (you'll pass by Sky Ranch halfway through) and after Bag of Beans, drive slow and look out for a narrow road with Puzzle Mansion signage; turn right on that street and drive through until you reach the Puzzle Mansion.

For those commuting from Manila, here's how you'll get to Puzzle Mansion:
  • Take Nasugbu-bound (via Tagaytay) buses from Cubao, Buendia Taft or Pasay. Tell the conductor or driver that you're going to the Puzzle Mansion and to drop you off at Maglabe Drive. The road is on your right, after passing through Sky Ranch and Bag  of Beans.
  • From that corner, take a tricycle and tell the driver to bring you to the Puzzle Mansion.

Entrance/Parking Fee:

Puzzle Mansion charged 100 Php per visitor, young and old. Parking fee is free, however. Puzzle Mansion's parking area can accommodate a number of vehicles but if your car is kinda loaded, you might as well leave it on the road before you turn right at the Puzzle Mansion as the slope of the road leading to it is kinda steep. 

Puzzle Mansion Bed and Breakfast

Reception Area, at the back is the Mansion's Cafeteria
the bed and breakfast facility

Puzzle Mansion is also a bed and breakfast place. It has 11 rooms that can accommodate up to 4 persons comfortably, this according to the mansion's staff. The Mansion's accommodation rate ranges from 4,000 Php to 6,000 Php per room. It has its own pool (not in photo, forgot to take one) where guests can take a swim. For more info on their bed and breakfast offering, please check their FB page.

Puzzle Mansion's garden - flowering plants are sold here, too.
Puzzle Mansion Museum, view from the garden
a wishing well, also in the garden

Puzzle Mansion Museum in Photos

I admire people who are into puzzles. I find them gifted and visually talented (which I'm not); super duper patient, too (solving several thousands-piece puzzle needs tons of patience, I'm sure). Seeing more than 1,500 finished jigsaw puzzles is really amazing but kind of puzzling, for me. Thinking of solving and finishing a thousand-piece puzzle is in itself a puzzle for me, much more if several thousand pieces. I wonder how they were able to acquire so much patience to solve complex jigsaw puzzles. (I'm no patient person; I easily get bored, sometimes even with my work hehe.)

By the way, according to the staffs, before her demise and whenever she's in the Mansion, Gina Gil-Lacuna herself welcomes and tours her guests around, some of which are dignitaries from other countries. It's sad to know that the owner of these great collections already passed away. She could have toured us around and she could have given me some tips on how to be patient, a virtue I guess, each and everyone of us should have.

Anyway, here are some of the photos I took while exploring the Puzzle Mansion. Enjoy the (virtual) tour. :)

hundreds and hundreds of framed jigsaw puzzles, majority of which done by Gina Gil-Lacuna herself.
more framed puzzles of different sizes...
and many more ones, amazing!
The Pope and some religious stuff, in jigsaw puzzle format
The White House - 1,000-piece puzzle completed in 12 hours, whoa!
if I'm the one to do this, I'm not sure if I can finish this at all hehe 

beautiful piece, looks like a painting...
another one that looks like a painting from afar
3D puzzle collections
up-close: Florence Cathedral in 3D puzzle
up-close: St. Basil's Cathedral in 3D puzzle
real vases? nah, they're puzzle sets too

The second floor of the museum houses the three largest puzzle sets in the world. Gina Gil-Lacuna herself finished the second largest called DOUBLE RETROSPECT, a jigsaw puzzle based on a work by 80's American pop artist Keith Haring. The largest one (third photo from above) is called WILDLIFE and was designed by digital artist Adrian Chesterman for Educa.

The second floor also houses its souvenir shop where guests can buy puzzle sets of different sizes, some of which are the same puzzle sets on display at the museum. It's also where you can have your souvenir digital photo be converted into a puzzle for a minimum price of 500 Php.

world's third biggest puzzle
didn't get the name of this one :(
Double Retrospect: world's second biggest puzzle
souvenir shop: puzzles to take home to and get addicted, too :P
more puzzles for sale at the souvenir shop
coconut cream pie, variation of buco pie common in Tagaytay; a must-try!
rich and creamy but with no 'umay' factor; not too sweet, too.

~ oo00oo ~

The Puzzle Mansion
Barangay Asisan, Tagaytay City
Visiting Hours: 8:00AM - 7:00PM
Entrance Fee: 100/person, young and old
Parking Fee: Free
Date of Visit: November 30, 2016