Giant holiday lanterns light up the Philippines

Lantern makers work on traditional Christmas lanterns known as “parols” in a side-street shop in Manila. -- AP photo

Skillfully crafted giant lanterns are lighting up the Christmas spirit in the Philippines.

Ten villages in Pampanga province took part in an annual giant lantern competition, proudly showcasing huge elaborate lanterns for everyone to see.

Small lanterns called “parols” traditionally decorate Filipino homes during the holiday season. In Pampanga, located on the outskirts of Manila, this tradition is followed on a much grander scale.

Compared to traditional Christmas lanterns that decorate many homes in the Philippines, Pampanga’s awe- inspiring giant lanterns are usually around 20 feet in diameter, holding up to 10,000 light bulbs.

Electricity to power the lights is run through wires attached to large steel cylinders that are turned by hand, in sync with background music. This creates a complex harmonization of lights and sounds, making each giant lantern unique.

Giant lanterns display their intricate light patterns at the competition in Pampanga province. -- AP photo

It takes almost a year of planning to painstakingly create these giant works of art.