Culminating its 112th Anniversary, Saint Louis University (SLU) once again illuminated the streets of Baguio City with its magnificent lantern parade and dynamic performances. With the motif, “Missions on Horseback”, the 15th Lantern Parade of SLU highlighted a grand University Float that captures the missionary legacy of Fr. Florimund Carlu, CICM, a significant figure in the history of Catholic missions in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) through the Congregation.
Further, the lantern-dance performances by the various Schools of SLU pumped up the event. Last year, the contingencies’ performances were non-competing.
This year’s Lantern Parade carried the theme Cor Unum et Anima Una: Journeying Towards Catholic Integral Formation and Global Excellence, highlighting the provincial mission stations established by the Congregatio Immaculati Cordis Mariae or the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (CICM) in the Philippines. It was held on 01 December 2023 at 5:00 p.m. with the parade starting on the Upper Session Road down to the Football Field of Melvin Jones Grandstand.
Each school of SLU exhibited their intricate lantern crafts while incorporating the CICM mission work in different provinces namely: Cebu, Manila, Agusan Del Sur, Cagayan, La Union, Bacolod, Kalinga, and Nueva Vizcaya.
Lantern procession draws big crowd
Hours before the festivity, thousands of people from all ages eagerly lined up along the parade route between Session and Harrison Road to witness the grandiose event.
The SLU Marching Band led the lantern procession and played festival music and Christmas songs to accompany the street performers. With the blessing of SLU President Rev. Fr. Gilbert B. Sales, the band was followed by the Float of Lights, symbolizing the missionary zeal in the Philippines and the enduring spirit of CICM missionary work.
International students cheerfully waved their flag lanterns while the non-competing participants proudly showcased their lantern entries.
SLU Marching Band
“Missions on Horseback” – The SLU Grand Float
NAVI – The Blue Bear
Crowd favorite NAVI shows off some personality and groovy dance moves, pumped up with joy and holiday cheer. With a Santa-inspired ensemble, NAVI was surely one of the showstoppers at the 15th Lantern Parade.
Baguio Officials & BOT with the CICM Conferers and Maryhurst Seminarians
With lanterns painted by hues reminiscent of a cathedral’s stained glass, the SLU Administration illuminates with divine elegance.
SLU Sacred Heart Medical Center
Dedicated to healing and vitality, the lantern at the SLU Hospital illuminates the path with a tone of hope and renewal, inspired by the life-giving essence of medicine.
SAS – Agusan del Sur (Non-Competing)
The School of Advanced Studies (SAS) walked the streets of Baguio highlighting Agusan Del Sur’s cultural heritage and natural beauty through a mandala-inspired lantern design. It embraces the serenity of the province, and with each intricate pattern, each lantern casts ethereal yet graceful patterns.
Lantern designs embody CICM Missions in the Philippines
Competing for the best lantern exhibition, the seven (7) participating schools under SLU unveiled their designs after weeks of extensive preparation for the momentous event.
Basic Education Schools (BEdS): Cebu
Starting with Basic Education Schools (BEdS), three major lanterns were conceptualized to vibrantly represent Cebu province with its rich cultural heritage and the famous Sto. Nino de Cebu, truly a tribute to our most revered Christ Child.
Mr. Roy Asignacion, Assistant to the Principal for Discipline and Student Affairs and BEds Lantern Parade Coordinator, acknowledged the efforts and full support of the Core Group that took lead in the different parts of the lantern parade, such as the performers and instrumentalists, design team, the creative team behind the theme and story, as well as those in charge of lantern materials and other paraphernalia. When asked about their preparations, Mr. Asignacion said, “The scheduling of practices and availability of teachers-in-charge are seriously considered to make the most of the limited time available. Equally important is the careful planning of the purchase of urgent and vital components of the Lanterns considering the limited budget.”
School of Medicine (SOM): Manila
With Manila-themed designs, the School of Medicine (SOM) flashed ornate designs of horses and churches of the Metropolitan area. They went beyond the geographical and religious boundaries to relay the message of the CICM mission.
During the preparation, the work was divided into teams for structural design, lighting controls, procurement of materials, and decorative arts. While giving students the freedom to explore their creativity and resourcefulness, faculty mentors offered assistance. To guarantee the lantern’s message and aesthetic appeal, the lanterns are painstakingly constructed using a blend of conventional craftsmanship and cutting-edge methods.
School of Nursing, Allied Health, and Biological Sciences (SONAHBS): Cagayan
From Southwestern to Northeastern Luzon, the School of Nursing, Allied Health, and Biological Sciences (SONAHBS) represented the province of Cagayan. The province’s rich culture and history can be seen through their decorative lanterns astonishing the large crowd.
Justin Andrei Chan, Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science (BSMLS) senior and Theatri Sonata Artium student coordinator shared that from the planning down to the mobilization, it was entrusted to the organization’s student leaders and its creative members to facilitate the conduct of their training and preparations.
When asked how they prepared for the event, Chan shared, “There were actually many aspects to choose from like [Cagayan] produce, its different festivals, and even its history of how it came to be. When we already had a working idea, we then started to mobilize the different departments to focus on different aspects such as participants, music, choreography, lanterns, and the like. With this said, we hope that the audience, most especially the Cagayanos that will watch, will appreciate not only our Handog to Baguio City, but also to the rich and deep culture of Cagayan.”
School of Accountancy, Management, Computing, and Information Studies (SAMCIS): La Union
Known for its surfing spots, the School of Accountancy, Management, Computing, and Information Studies (SAMCIS) found the perfect wave to illustrate the cultural heritage of La Union. However, La Union is more than just its beaches and vacation spots, the Bachelor of Multimedia Arts (BMMA) first year students submitted their unique designs to showcase the grape picking and temple lanterns in the province.
Senior Bachelor of Science in Accountancy (BSAC) student and one of the Officers in Charge of the Parade, Zhiann Andrei Remnor Abendan, shared the extra hustle they endured to perfect their lanterns and performances. “As a student juggling academics and extracurricular activities, handling such a big event was challenging since we had to look for volunteers and all,” he said, as he expressed gratitude to their faculty.
School of Law (SOL): Bacolod City
All the way back to Western Visayas, the City of Smiles visits the City of Pines through the luminating lanterns of the School of Law (SOL). Prior to planning the overall concept, Juris Doctor (JD) students coordinated with the Bacolod City government to gather a comprehensive idea from the words of a true local of Bacolod.
Ensuring that the audience can easily grasp the message of the lanterns shown, Raphael Madrid, president of Discipuli Legis Universitatis Sancti Aloysii (DLUSA), SLU-SOL’s official student organization shared, “The team highly accentuated the Lantern Parade’s objective: to impart Christian Spirit values to all. We found it proper to share that message in a way that everyone, even children, would understand; through storytelling. What we have worked hard to plan and practice for the past few weeks revolved around depicting the inspiring history of how faith and devotion brought forth the colorful and lively culture of what is now known as the City of Smiles.”
School of Teacher Education and Liberal Arts (STELA): Kalinga
On the other hand, the School of Teacher Education and Liberal Arts (STELA) proudly represented the Cordilleran Region through Kalinga’s art and culture. Unlike the past few years, STELA Overall Coordinator Dr. John Amtalao, together with Mr. Jules Philip Tillay, shared that they took an artistic strategy in creating unique lantern designs to ensure that their aesthetic alignments are pertinent to the Kalinga province.
“We are very critical with art appropriation, especially that we all know that Kalinga is a home for arts at kilala si Apo Whang Od for tatotting, [also] of indigenous culture and authentic tradition na meron pa sila ngayon. Ayaw naming magkaroon ng problema pagdating sa designs, so, we are more into authenticity,” STELA Coordinator Amtalao said.
School of Engineering and Architecture (SEA): Nueva Vizcaya
In the heart of Nueva Vizcaya, there lies a story of illumination and harmony. The School of Engineering and Architecture (SEA) centered its lantern designs on the timeless contributions of CICM in the field of education and religion in illuminating the lives of the people of Vizcaya.
Lanterns in the shape of golden rice, citrus fruits, and blooming flowers symbolize the sustainable agricultural practices introduced by CICM which led to bountiful harvests, fostering harmony between the people. The design also incorporates the indigenous resources, native species, and significant landmarks of Nueva Vizcaya.
Architect Mei-Ann Cayabyab-Patano, SEA Faculty Overall Coordinator, emphasized the embodiment of creativity, innovation, and collective efforts of the different departments to meticulously orchestrate the concepts that blend engineering precision with architectural finesse. She said, “The result of these preparations embodies more than a mere lantern; it stands as a representation of the SEA’s collaborative BIBO spirit, technical expertise, and artistic excellence, ready to captivate and ignite inspiration among the audience of the spectacle.”
Field Performances exude artistry and goodwill
The much-anticipated field performances of the seven competing Schools captivated spectators and participants alike. Non-competing school, School of Advanced Studies, also exhibited creativity through their field performance.
After the individual performances, the competing Schools participated in a synergic final performance.
The School of Medicine emerged victorious after clutching the championship and one minor award.
The complete list of winners in the 15th SLU Lantern Parade Competition is provided below:
Champion: SOM – Manila
1st runner-up: SEA – Nueva Vizcaya
2nd runner-up: STELA – Kalinga
3rd runner-up: SOL – Bacolod City
4th runner-up: SONAHBS – Cagayan
Eco-lantern Innovation Award: SAMCIS – La Union
Most Colorful Group: BEdS – Cebu
Most Disciplined Group: SONAHBS – Cagayan
Best Rhythmic Accompaniment: STELA – Kalinga
Best in Illumination: SOM – Manila
Best in Parade Concept: SEA – Nueva Vizcaya
Best in Field Performance: SOM – Manila
Best in Street Parade: SEA – Nueva Vizcaya
The 15th year of the SLU Lantern Parade, indeed, showcased culture, creativity, and unity. The lived reality of CICM missionaries were shown in colorful lights, high-spirited performances, and strengthened synodality among the Louisian community.