AP PHOTOS: Giant holiday lanterns light up the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines — Skillfully crafted giant lanterns are lighting up the Christmas spirit in the Philippines.

Ten villages in Pampanga province took part in an annual giant lantern competition, proudly showcasing huge elaborate lanterns for everyone to see.

Small lanterns called "parols" traditionally decorate Filipino homes during the holiday season. In Pampanga, located on the outskirts of Manila, this tradition is followed on a much grander scale.

Compared to traditional Christmas lanterns that decorate many homes in the Philippines, Pampanga's awe-inspiring giant lanterns are usually around 6 meters (20 feet) in diameter, holding up to 10,000 light bulbs.

Electricity to power the lights is run through wires attached to large steel cylinders that are turned by hand, in sync with background music. This creates a complex harmonization of lights and sounds, making each giant lantern unique.

After hours of fascinating displays of lights and sounds from the 10 competing lanterns, a giant lantern creatively led by Teddy Aguilar took home the championship trophy for the fourth consecutive time.

"I proved that a four-peat is possible," beamed Aguilar.

It takes almost a year of planning to painstakingly create these giant works of art. After winning the competition, Aguilar says he plans on meeting with his team to develop bigger and better concepts for next year's event.

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