The City of San Francisco joined the Filipino community in celebrating one of its much-awaited Christmas traditions, the 11th Parol Lantern Festival and Parade. Over twenty contingents from different institutions and organizations joined this year’s parade which was held on the evening of Saturday, December 14, 2013. The parade, which was organized by the Filipino-American Development Foundation, began at the Martin Luther King Waterfall at the Yerba Buena Gardens and ended with a program at Jessie Square. What started as a simple parade by the Filipino community in San Francisco has developed into one of the major festivals in the city. This year’s celebration not only featured a parade of colorful, artistic and innovative parols, but participants and on-lookers were also treated to musical performances, artistic displays and games.
The theme for this year’s parade is Liwanag para sa Tanan: Enlightenment for All, which celebrates and encourages the creation of a better society, a society that integrates immigration reform and the promotion of equal rights for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders and queer (LGBTQ).
In light of the recent calamities that struck the Philippines, the Philippine Consulate General Parol Contingent used this theme of enlightenment to refer to the overwhelming sympathy, support and assistance that the Philippines has received, and is still receiving, from its friends all over the world. The parols created by the Consulate personnel symbolized the hope of the victims of calamities. It reflected the Filipinos’ unwavering resilience and ability to smile amidst difficulties. The bright parols designed with the colors of the Philippine flag is also a way to say thank you to all those who helped and sympathized with the typhoon and earthquake victims.