The City Government of San Fernando is stepping up its game towards sustaining its brands as the country’s “Home of the Giant Lanterns” and “Christmas Capital” as it is set to develop a center which will showcase the centuries-old tradition of giant lantern making.
On February 4, 2021, in time for the City of San Fernando’s 20th Cityhood anniversary celebration, the City Government, along with the SM Development Corporation (SMDC), held the official groundbreaking of the Giant Lantern and Tourist Information Center at the former Paskuhan Village here.
The two-storey building, which has a total floor area of 500 square meters, will sit in a 5,000-square meter land area donated to the City Government by Premier Central, Incorporated (PCI), a subsidiary of SM Prime Holdings Corporation.
“The project that we have today is more than just a building or infrastructure. Mas nakikita po natin ito sa mas malawak na perspektibo, isang bunga ng ating trabaho na pagbuklurin po ang ating mga komunidad sa pamamagitan ng pagbuhay muli sa ating kultura at tradisyon,” said Mayor Edwin “EdSa” Santiago.
Further, Santiago shared that the building will house an exhibit space, a museum, pasalubong shop, library and archives center, an office for the City’s tourism department, and a conference room.
Meanwhile, the remaining portion of the land area will be built with an amphitheater that could hold different activities.
According to City Engineer Anele David, the construction of the center and amphitheater will be free-of-charge and will be shouldered by the said private firm.
“Ang lote at gusali po ay ipinagkaloob sa atin ng ating katuwang na kumpanya kaya ang partisipasyon po natin sa tuwing makakatanggap tayo ng donasyon ay ang maintenance at operation expenses. Sa construction naman po ay magsasagawa tayo ng monitoring sa compliance nila sa ating mga alituntunin,” David explained.
For her part, City Tourism Officer Ching Pangilinan said that the new building will become an image of the original Paskuhan Village.
“In keeping true to its legacy and as part of our Kapampangan heritage, through our City Mayor, we were able to get a donation for the property. With that, kahit na wala na yung Paskuhan na dati nating kilala, mabubuhay muli ito sa isang panibagong paraan, mas contemporary, at mas akma sa panahon na ito na hindi nakakalimutan yung kasaysayan at tradisyon natin bilang Fernandinos,” Pangilinan said.
On July 2, 2020, the City Government and PCI formally signed a deed of donation for the said land area and two projects as part of the amicable settlement between the firm and the City.
This served as a “go signal” for the City Government and SMDC to begin the development in the area, including several meetings for the building’s design and details and the planning for its groundbreaking.
“The future Giant Lantern and Tourist Information Center will become a beacon for Filipinos and the rest of the world to witness the glitter and beauty of your city, your rich heritage and culture, and the Fernandinos’ ingenuity, artistry, and craftsmanship,” said Jose Mari Banzon, SMDC President.
Following the groundbreaking ceremony, the SMDC will now begin the primary steps in construction and the Giant Lantern and Tourist Information Center is expected to be launched before the year ends.