Magalang wins presidential award, ATOP-DOT Pearl Awards

MAGALANG, Pampanga – This once sleepy town has suddenly awaken as itwon two national awards for the preservation of its tradition and heritage.

Magalang, under the leadership of Mayor Malu Paras Lacson and Vice Mayor Norman Lacson, received the First Philippine Heritage Award for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage. No less than President
Rodrigo Duterte handed over the award to Mayor Lacson and Vice MayorLacson on October 24 at the Malacanang Palace. It is considered a presidential award.

Magalang officials pose with participants of the lantern- making workshop. –Photo by Joey Pavia

Earlier , the Magalang Local Government Unit (LGU) was awarded 1st place under the Best Practices on Community-Based Responsible Tourism (Community-Based Heritage Conservation Project/Program) category in the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines (ATOP) and Department of Tourism (DOT) Best Tourism Practices of the Philippines Awards, otherwise known as the ATOP-DOT Pearl Awards. The awarding was held in Cagayan De Oro City.

Mayor Malu Paras Lacson (2nd from right) and Vice Mayor Norman Lacson (right) of Magalang, Pampanga receive the First Philippine Heritage Award from President Rodrigo Duterte (2nd from left). Looking on is Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.
–Malacanang photo

Mayor Lacson said she was “elated” by the two awards they received in 2018. She stressed that the preservation of the culture, tradition and heritage “is primarily beneficial to the people of Magalang.”

“It’s not us officials who should be chiefly credited but the people of Magalang,” she said.

Ryan Miranda, Magalang tourism officer, disclosed that they won the two prestigious national awards for supporting the Lubenas tradition of their town. It involves the creation of the traditional Magalang lanterns. The project’s name that won it for Magalang was “Ing Banal a Batuin Qng Magalang: Lubenas Ning Pasku” (The holy stars of Magalang: Nine days of Christmas procession with traditional Kapampangan lanterns and masses}.

“The initiative of the Magalang government was able to inspire the Parish Pastoral Councils, the barangay councils and the community to work as one coordinated body with a common objective to produce lanterns in the most creative and finest craftsmanship each has to offer, in the spririt of preserving a cultural gem passed on by elder Magalenos and reliving the traditions of Lubenas and Maytinis for the appreciation of the present generation and archiving it for the future,” it said.

“Lubenas used to be a dying tradition until Mayor Lacson actively revive it during her first few months in office in 2016. Only 11 barangays joined in 2016. In 2017, 13 barangays joined. This year,
there will be 20 barangays joining,” said Miranda.

The Lubenas 2018 will be held on December 13. The grand winner will receive P100,000 cash prize.

Last September, a municipal ordinance was passed supporting the Lubenas Tradition. It requires the participants in the competition to parade the lanterns for nine days in their respective village.

Lubenas came from the word Novena, which means nine days of “Simbang Gabi.” In the Ordinance, Lubenas refers to Kapampangan holding of a procession on the eve of every “Simbang Gabi.”

Miranda said the lanterns of Magalang are predominately colored white.

It has not tails, he added.

Miranda said they will tap the services of patients at the Central Luzon Drug Rehabilitation Center to create Magalang lanterns. He added that they are receiving orders from LGU units from Mindanao.

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