2015 Sillag Festival of Lights: Poro Point’s uplifting festival

LIKE SHOOTS to the Sun, tens of thousands of tourists will be lured to Sillag.

The 4th Sillag: Poro Point Festival of Lights will shine anew from April 9 to 12 with additional exciting events highlighting the rich heritage of the warm, hardworking people of La Union amid the province’s picturesque beaches and scenic landscape.

2015 Sillag Festival of Lights
2015 Sillag Festival of Lights

Similar to its previous celebration, Sillag is expected to draw an average of 20,000 people per day, hundreds of which are foreign tourists, to witness the four-day festival. The peak number of visitors is expected to reach 40,000.

A beacon for progress

La Union was previously eclipsed by other (and more popular) local tourism events up north especially in Benguet’s Baguio City, Pangasinan’s Dagupan City, and Ilocos Sur’s Vigan City. La Union gradually reinvented itself and was able to exploit the tourism and business potentials especially of its beaches in San Juan endowed with enticing surfing conditions.

Sillag Festival of Lights in Poro Point La Union
Sillag Festival of Lights in Poro Point La Union

Soon enough, Sillag came to light. The Sillag Festival is named after the Ilocano word “sillag” meaning “moonbeam” alongside other positive subtexts including happiness or enjoyment as one is elated and relaxed from a moonbeam after a hard day’s work.

For Arnel Paciano Casanova, President and CEO of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), “The Sillag festival enlightens our people and gives them strength. It serves as the beacon for growth and progress in the north.”

Sillag Festival Dancer
Sillag Festival Dancer

Together with BCDA’s subsidiary, the Poro Point Management Corporation (PPMC), Sillag was initiated in 2012 as an annual festivity with the aim to promote the Poro Point Freeport Zone as an integral part of the flourishing tourism industry in the province.

The festivities add to the allure of La Union’s famous beaches and other tourist spots but equally important is the promotion of the Freeport as the emerging investment hub in Southeast Asia.

“This festival bespeaks of our government’s and the people’s desire to put San Fernando City, La Union at the world map of major tourist and recreation destinations,” the BCDA chief added. BCDA is likewise fortunate, Casanova said, that LGU leaders in La Union, particularly Governor Ortega shares our national government’s vision for further progress in the North.

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Formerly Wallace Air Station

The Poro Point Freeport Zone is the former Wallace Air Station of the United States Air Force. Now, the Freeport features a six-hectare lighthouse property—a historic landmark, the San Fernando International Seaport and the San Fernando Airport, the five-star Thunderbird Resort, a casino and a world-class golf course. It is strategically located in San Fernando, La Union and is renowned as our country’s gateway to Northern Luzon.

Festival of lights

PPMC chairman Ives Nisce said organizers distributed the festival highlights and extended the activities for four days for the public to enjoy more.

Sillag: Poro Point Festival of Lights will feature the lighting of the Sillag Village, Lantern Fluvial Parade, Hope Lanterns, Sunset Run, and Street Dancing with light adornments.

Two other major events people are eagerly anticipating are the flying of Light-emitting diode or LED balloons just after Poro Point’s famous sunset and the lantern fluvial parade which would surely illuminate the bay and the sea with colorful glowing boats.

Sillag Festival Streetdance Contingent
Sillag Festival Streetdance Contingent

Other highlights include “SILLAG Delights” trade and food fair, Sillag Sunset Run for Hope, Sillag Golf Cup, fashion show and design competition, art contest for kids and teenagers, motor show, culinary arts competition, a rock fest, mountain bike challenge, fluvial race, air show, and street dancing competition.

The 1.3-kilometer Poro Point Baywalk will be formally launched during the fest along with a Hope Lantern ceremony, a rock concert, skydiving, marching band competition, fire dancing, and pyromusical show.

To give light and inspire

If Sillag is the Sun, then people—local and foreign tourists alike—would be the sprouting shoots drawn to its warm, invigorating light, enlightened with the endless possibilities of what Poro Point as a tourism haven is ready to offer.

In showcasing La Union and the local tourism industry—products, people and potential—the festival will definitely make business abuzz, commerce kicking, and tourism rising to greater heights.

“We hope to give light and to inspire,” Casanova said. “The right blend of tourism and business are beneficial anywhere in the world and so this festival is the first among many steps towards attaining those benefits,” he added.

Clumped into one shining event, the festivity is a unique and beautiful display of lights with an uplifting and inspiring message—that Filipinos are blessed with strength, wisdom and industry in treading the path towards unity, peace and progress.

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