Saturday, January 19, 2013

Kada Meow At Giant Lantern Festival 2012

Due to Margot's intense desire to explore and experience various Philippine festivals with us, our first destination place came to be Pampanga's Giant Lantern Festival. Incidentally, this was also our barkada's first get together that's overnight. :D

I booked a room at Otel Apartelle. This was my first time to scour through the intimidating lists of possible places to stay at a particular place. During trips with my other set of friends, I just wait for the organizer to get the itinerary done. Then, I just pay the amount required from me. :p Therefore, I was really anxious on how I could find the best and the most affordable place to stay at. :p One big factor to consider is the proximity of the place from the event. I am expecting that the festival would last until very late at night and I wouldn't want us to stay too long outside just because we are still travelling back to our place. Luckily, Otel Apartelle is just one jeepney ride away from the venue of the festival. There's a jeepney terminal in front of SM Pampanga with a "Dolores" sign that goes to St. Jude Village. From the entrance of the village, Otel Apartelle is just a 5-8 minute walk away. d(^___^)b

We boarded the Victory Liner bus at Cubao terminal at past 11am. We arrived at SM Pampanga around 1pm, very hungry and looking for a place to eat our late lunch. Then, we checked-in at Otel Apartelle at 2pm and I was very happy to find that the room we got satisfied my barkada. :p While I was unlocking the door, I was seriously hoping that everything is just what they wanted the place to be. :p
Otel Apartelle
Our room's window is directly above the Otel Apartelle sign. Haha. :D

The place is complete with towels for each one of us, basic toiletries, a cabinet with several hangers, slippers, a television, an airconditioning unit, wifi connection (which is turned off during the night), two sets of free breakfast, and a hot and cold shower. And mind you, the water can become reeaally hot. The shower got me a little bit confused, I can't figure out which valve to turn on/off so that I get just the right temperature. I ended up showering under continuously running water with temperatures alternating from hot to cold, cold to hot, and so on. :p Margot didn't have difficulty using it, though. :)

[Days later, I found out that Otel Apartelle's owner is actually a relative of my boyfriend. :) Really, it still surprises me how small this world can get. :p]

The trip was almost perfect until I saw people rushing in to the Giant Lantern Festival holding those precious ticket passes. >.< I forgot to check on that very important detail! It almost felt like I really failed big time. :( With all the heat, the hunger, the number of people squeezing us to get past the entrance to the event, the stress was really getting on to me. It felt like I had to rescue our situation and find a way to redeem myself.  >.< But, there was nothing I could do. Ticket booths were not available on the venue itself, and when we asked some people, most of them told us they got the tickets months before the actual event. >.<

Imagine my hopelessness. T_T So we just had to be content with stretching our necks and holding our cameras up while watching the giant lantern show. So pardon the blurry quality of the following images and videos because I had to adjust my camera's zoom setting way past it's normal level. :p In some of them, silhouettes of tree tops and posts can also be seen. >.<

From Wikipedia,
The Giant Lantern Festival is an annual festival held in December (Saturday before Christmas Eve) in the City of San Fernando in the Philippines. The festival features a competition of giant lanterns. Because of the popularity of the festival, the city has been nicknamed the "Christmas Capital of the Philippines".
The first lantern festival was held to honor President Manuel L. Quezon. At that time, Quezon made Arayat his rest area and converted Mount Arayat into a tourist resort. As a show of gratitude to Quezon, the people of San Fernando held a Christmas lantern contest to honor the first family. Quezon himself donated the prize for his lantern contest, which was personally awarded to the winner by First Lady Aurora Aragon Quezon.

Then the barangays were divided into groups and each group engaged in a showdown of lights. :D I can't decided where to look first, my eyes were feasting. :D

Lastly, all lanterns were lighted up. :) At this point, we decided to eat dinner and to go back at our place. My legs were very strained, I got rashes all over them (which took days before they disappeared). :p As a result, we never learned which barangay won the festival, haha.

This may not be the best Giant Lantern Festival experience but I enjoyed it because our barkada was complete and I got Edmund to come with us as well. :) There were many cute, exciting, and funny experiences amidst the tiresome evening we had - starting off with Anika's unexpected getting off from the jeepney leaving us all four undecided whether we should follow her or not (We didn't. =)) Dawn just waved her off while dramatically calling Anika's name. =)) ) to our very suspenseful rounds of Monopoly deal until around 2am. :D

Our next stop is at Hot Air Balloon Festival this coming February 23, 2013. :)

Otel Apartelle:
Telephone Number: (045) 961-18-33 / (045) 861-0422
Email :
Address : Skye Plaza Bldg. Lazatin Blvd. City of San Fernando (P).
Facebook page:


  1. Reginald Infante26 March, 2013 15:43

    Hi. It’s now called Otel Pampanga. I’ve yet to try it out but from what I’ve gathered from my friends, it’s the best budget hotel Pampanga has to offer.

    1. Hi Reginald!

      Thanks for passing by my site. I didn't know that it's now called Otel Pampanga, but as far as their FB page and website say, it's still Otel Apartelle though. :)
      I didn't know about other hotels/apartelles in Pampanga yet but if it's true that it's the best budget hotel, we're very lucky then! :)

      Good luck and enjoy your stay in Pampanga! :)