Asean lanterns sparkle across PH towns, cities
Heavy rains and power interruptions in Central Luzon on Tuesday night did not stop the regional leg of the nationwide ceremonial lighting of lanterns to mark the 50th founding anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
Down south, in San Isidro town in Davao Oriental province, the 1.8-meter diameter lantern with the red and gold Asean colors glowed on the wall of Mt. Hamiguitan World Heritage Park museum.
In Eastern Visayas, three key cities and two historic towns joined in the lighting of lanterns made by craftsmen in the City of San Fernando in Pampanga province, the home of the giant “parul” (Christmas lantern).
More than 1,000 people in San Isidro joined the celebration at the foot of Mt. Hamiguitan, a United Nations world heritage site.
San Isidro, a rustic town of 36,000 people, and the bustling regional capital of Davao City were the two local governments in Southern Mindanao chosen by the Department of Foreign Affairs to take part in the lantern-lighting activity which capped the golden anniversary of the 10-member state regional economic and political bloc.
San Isidro Mayor Justina Yu said the inclusion of San Isidro was due to the presence of Mt. Hamiguitan, acknowledged as one of the Asean models for environment protection.
In Davao City, Mayor Sara Duterte was joined by Indonesian consul general Berlian Napitupuli and Malaysian charge d’affaires Saiful Nizam Wahid in the lighting of the Asean lantern at City Hall.
In Pampanga, San Fernando Mayor Edwin Santiago said the dream of Dr. Jose Rizal, the Philippines’ national hero, of unity among Malays had come true with the founding of the Asean 50 years ago.
In Tarlac province, Mayantoc Mayor Iluminado Pobre Jr. led the ceremony at Don Francisco Pascual Santos Memorial Auditorium.
In Nueva Ecija, the Science City of Muñoz switched on three Asean lanterns, followed by a fireworks display.
“Let these lights inspire further unity and cooperation toward progress in the Philippines, along with our neighbors,” Muñoz Mayor Nestor Alvarez said.
Asean lanterns were also lit in Angeles City and Diosdado Macapagal Government Center in the City of San Fernando, Pampanga; Iba town in Zambales province; Baler town in Aurora province; and at the Central Luzon office of the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
In Eastern Visayas, lanterns were lit in Maasin City in Southern Leyte province; cities of Ormoc and Tacloban in Leyte province; and the towns of Palo (Leyte) and Balangiga (Eastern Samar), following street parades.
A lantern was placed at MacArthur National Memorial Landing Park in Barangay Candahug in Palo while another was placed at Balangiga Encounter Monument in Balangiga.
“We are very, very honored to be included among the 50 sites as Asean celebrates its 50th founding anniversary. This is symbolic for Tacloban as we bounce back after [Supertyphoon] ‘Yolanda,’” said Tacloban City Mayor Cristina Romualdez. —TONETTE OREJAS, ARMAND GALANG, JOEY A. GABIETA, ROBERT DEJON AND FRINSTON LIM
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