Parol Lantern Fest to light up SF’s Filipino cultural district again
SAN FRANCISCO – Filipino community members once again will create hand-made parol lanterns to display at a free, family-friendly celebration of the holiday season
This year’s festival with the theme, Tayo Ang Liwanang / We Are The Light, features a parol lantern parade, a gallery of handmade parols, live music, dance performances, and a sampling of traditional Filipino desserts and delicacies.
The 17th annual festival will honor the resilience of leaders, artists, youth, student groups, and families who have faced political and economic challenges for decades in San Francisco and the Bay Area.
Since the 1960s, Filipino families have celebrated Christmas in the Moscone Center/Yerba Buena Gardens/South of Market district. The Parol Lantern Festival is not just a celebration, but also a reflection of history in the area which has long been a site of resistance against community displacement
“The Parol Lantern Festival is symbolic of our Filipino culture visibly celebrated in our new home in the U.S., SOMA Pilipinas,” says Bernadette Borja Sy, director of the Filipino American Development Foundation and Bayanihan Community Center.
The 17th annual San Francisco Parol Lantern Festival and Parade will light up SOMA Pilipinas, Filipino Cultural Heritage District on Saturday, December 14, 2019 at Yerba Buena Gardens, Jessie Square, and St. Patrick’s Church, from 3:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
“The Parol Lantern Festival is a beautiful annual celebration of culture, community and light that has become a beloved tradition in the Yerba Buena neighborhood. We look forward to it every year!” states Linda Lucero, executive/artistic director, Yerba Buena Gardens Festival.
“The Parol Lantern Festival in San Francisco was inspired by a tradition in my hometown, San Fernando, Pampanga, which has a tradition of lantern festival,” explains MC Canlas, founder, Parol Lantern Festival. “It became a uniting force for the different organizations [in SOMA Pilipinas] to come together and showcase their strength and community.”
A highlight of the festival is A Taste of Pilipino Christmas, a free sampling, while supplies last, of an assortment of traditional Pilipino sweets and delicacies, including tsampurado with tuyo flakes (chocolate rice pudding sprinkled with dried fish flakes), bibingka (sweet rice flour cake garnished with fresh shredded coconut), and lechon (roasted suckling pig) made by local chefs from the community.
Another festival highlight is a community-wide performance of Sayaw sa Ilaw (Dancing in the Light) and Sagayan. Choreographed and led by master of Philippine Dance Sydney Loyola, Sayaw sa Ilaw is rooted in the indigenous practice of dancing as prayer and offering of gratitude and for a bright future. Inspired by the sun and the stars, the performance aims to recall indigenous practices of celebrating fruitful harvests, a good year, and to meditate on and prepare for the future.
Led by dance artist Jonathan Mercado, Sagayan is inspired by the indigenous practice of dancing as prayer and offering to drive away bad luck and open space for good fortune. It is based the Sagayan warrior dance of the Maguindanao and Maranao people in Mindanao, Philippines. Sagayan warrior dancers will ignite the spirit of the Parol Lantern Festival’s Yerba Buena Gardens loop stroll marchers as well as spiritually cleanse and open the main festival space at Jessie Square.
Several workshops are available for groups, families, and individuals to learn how to make their own Parol Lantern over the next two weeks. Parol Lantern Workshops will be held Friday evenings leading up to the December 14 festival at the Bayanihan Community Center, 1010 Mission Street, from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. Participants are encouraged to
enter in the Parol Lantern competition, a cash prize of $500 will be awarded to the most creative design.
Dance workshops for Sayaw sa Ilaw and Sagayan with master of Philippine Dance Sydney Loyola and dance artist Jonathan Mercado are held Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Bayanihan Community Center, 1010 Mission Street in SOMA Pilipinas. To register for a parol lantern or dance workshop visit www.parollanternfestival.com
17th Annual Parol Lantern Festival Highlights:
- A Taste of Pilipino Christmas: A free sampling of special Pilipino sweets and delicacies made by local chefs from the community starting at 3:30 p.m. at the Social Hall in St. Patrick’s Church
The SF Parol Lantern Festival is a collaborative project by the Filipino American Development Foundation (FADF) and Kularts.
- Parol Stroll: Community members stroll through Yerba Buena Gardens to Jessie Square with lighted parol lanterns
- Tala Awards: Contingents enter to compete with their hand-made life-size parol lantern. The winning groups win up to $500
- Parol Lantern Gallery and Parol Lantern Art Commissions: A gallery of parol lanterns from San Fernando, Pampanga and by local artists Lynn Bryant
- Live Music Performances: by APCA & Bay Area Rondalla Groups and Autonomous Region
- Sayaw sa Ilaw and Sagayan: a community-wide performance choreographed and led by master of Philippine Dance Sydney Loyola and dance artist Jonathan Mercado featuring Philippine folk dance companies from the Bay Area, Karitan Dance Company, Little Manila, and Parangal Dance Company, joined by members of the community Calendar Listing Info: 17th Annual San Francisco Parol Lantern Festival and Parade Saturday, December 14, 2019, 3:30 p.m.-8 p.m. Location: Jessie Square, Yerba Buena Gardens, St. Patrick’s Church Cost: Free For more info: www.parollanternfestival.com Taste of Christmas Menu:
- Tsampurado with Tuyo Flakes (Chocolate Rice Pudding with Dried Fish Flakes) by Rosie Drapiza
- Sotanghon Soup (Chicken and Bean Thread Noodle Soup) by Rosie Drapiza
- Cassava Cake by JT Restaurant
- Biko (Sticky Rice Cake) by Rosie Drapiza
- Bibingka (Rice Flour Cake Garnished with Fresh Shredded Coconut) by Ed Quiambao of Kababayan Restaurant
- Ube-Quezo and Malunggay Pandesal (Filipino Bread Rolls infused with Ube-Cheese and Moringa Flavors) by Khadija Aguinaldo
- Pitsi-pitsi (Gelatinous Dessert made from Grated Cassava and topped with Coconut Flakes) by Ed Quiambao of Kababayan Restaurant
- Lechon (Roasted Suckling Pig)