Sky lanterns light up Iloilo sky, set world record


BREAKING THE RECORD Thousands of youths release sky lanterns—15,185 of them—within 10 minutes at the University of the Philippines Visayas campus in Miag-ao in Iloilo City to call for world peace through inner peace. This breaks the Guinness World Record of 12,749 sky lanterns released in a single event, according to organizers. GUIJO DUENAS/INQUIRER VISAYAS

MIAG-AO, ILOILO—Thousands of lanterns brightened the evening sky in this town on Friday as the Philippines lit its way to a Guinness world record for the most number of sky lanterns flown simultaneously.

The event held at the University of the Philippines Visayas here was also a call for “World Peace through Inner Peace” and was organized by Filipino and Thai participants from various religious faiths.

Seyda Subasi-Gemici, adjudicator and official representative of Guinness World Records, said thousands of participants launched 15,185 sky lanterns at the football pitch of UP-Visayas (UPV). This bested the previous record set in June 2012 by Romania at 12,740 lanterns to promote a shopping mall opening.

“I’m happy to announce a new Guinness World Record. You all were officially amazing,” Gemici told the crowd of around 15,000 who broke into cheers and chanted “Philippines! Philippines!”

A certificate from the world record body was awarded to the organizers for the feat.

The event dubbed “Inaugural Light of Peace Event in the Philippines: World Peace through Inner Peace,” was organized by the Middle Way Meditation Institute (MMI)-Philippines and its Thailand-based main organization which promotes meditation.

Venerable Burin Thitakusalo, MMI director, said flying sky lanterns, a traditional form of prayer for Thais, was a way to encourage harmony and cultivate inner peace toward attaining world peace.

“We need more than material things. We need a sense of calmness, a sense of direction amid the challenges in our lives,” he told the Inquirer.

He said that similar activities were held in Thailand but the number of lanterns flown was less than 10,000.

The activity was joined by leaders of various religions, including Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, Imam Abdulnasser Langco and Babaji Karmjit Singh.

“World peace starts from inner peace,” Lagdameo said in his prayer.

He said that world peace would come from “within our hearts, within our own persons.”

The participants mostly came from Miag-ao, other parts of Panay Island and other provinces. They were joined by around 100 MMI partners and volunteers from Thailand.

Participants of all ages and from all walks of life arrived as early as 2:30 p.m. on the 1,200-hectare UPV campus in Miag-ao, about 42 km south of Iloilo City.

The campus was chosen as the venue because of its extensive open space bounded by trees and mountains on one side and the sea on the other.

The event organizers asked for a P350 donation from each participant to cover the cost of the activity and they were given priority passes, but those who did not make a donation were still allowed to join.

The release of the sky lanterns was preceded by a 15-minute guided meditation with the participants sitting on the football pitch.

The participants first lit 10,000 ground lanterns to illuminate the football field. A short orientation video and live demonstration were shown.

The Thai-manufactured sky lanterns were made of rice paper with bamboo frames. They had a diameter of 50 cm and a height of 150 cm, according to Dr. Emiliano Bernardo III, the event organizer.

The participants were instructed to light the lanterns for two minutes and 45 seconds to allow the air inside to heat up before releasing them.

The lanterns were released in three waves within 10 minutes starting at 6:45 p.m. by 5,000 pairs of participants.

The cheers of excitement grew as more of the lanterns were released.

Around 15,687 lanterns were prepared and displayed but some were flown outside the 10-minute limit. Others burned up before they could be released.

Organizers said the environmental impact of the event was “much less than that of fireworks and rubber balloons.”

Bernardo said the lanterns did not use fuel oil but tissue paper dipped in wax. The only metal material was the 1-mm wire used to secure the heat source.

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  • bok

    puro reklamo..puro reklamo… napaka-negatibo talaga ng mga taong talangka

  • boybakal

    Guinness book of world record for thousand lanterns not ours but Thais……yehey yehey.
    How about Guinness book of world record for too many squatters and garbage, it is ours, sariling atin.
    Yehey yehey !!!!!

  • tarikan

    I’m more interested on the side news on how many residences were put on fire by the wayward lanterns or how many brush fires it started. These sky lanterns are safety/fire hazards. It’s not that you can stir them to a safe landing spot, they are blown by the vagaries of wind directions. Just last Christmas there was a fire in MMla caused by sky lanterns. Why don’t they just fly lighted kites in the evening (kites are anchored by strings) and enjoy the sight for a little longer. It is a popular practice in Singapore during Gregorian and Chinese New Years. Safety first noble purposes later.

  • Jan Do

    Iloilo is always one of the best province of the phils., for those who don’t know this place and its people will probably give criticism as their first reaction, but know deeper and you will be impressed. Personally, I will say the ilongos knew what they were doing, and would like to congratulate them for a job well done.

  • Meow Ming

    Delikadong magka-forrest fire sa ginagawa nyo.

  • Garry Garcia

    I have seen a paper lantern land on a nipa covered hut in a resort. They had to run out to put the fire. It is not being against the people of Ilo-Ilo its about being against about flying lanterns wherever it may be

  • rock_steady

    “The campus was chosen as the venue because of its extensive open space bounded by trees and mountains on one side and the sea on the other.”

    To all stupid negative crab mentality fc.uks on this forum, please read the article before you hit the keyboard. Only shows your ignorance. So you think you were actually making a smart comment eh?

  • barry p


    One word – POLLUTION.

    This is a useless novelty…and can easily be surpassed by other countries anytime they wish.

    Meanwhile you are triggering a race to further pollute the Earth.

    Peace advocacy is always good…but it is so much better if we could do it without producing any waste footprint.

    As it is – after the temporal “feast for the senses” which apparently brought peace to the participants, TONS OF semi-permanent GARBAGE came crashing back to Earth.

  • Guest

    Can you imagine the environmental impact of flying thousands of sky lanterns up in Iloilo? Where do you think these THOUSANDS of lanterns will end up?

  • bauninam

    dyan kayo magaling..basta paimpress..pinoy number 1

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