Iloilo breaks lit candles world record for peace | Inquirer News

Iloilo breaks lit candles world record for peace

/ 02:59 AM April 16, 2014

VARIATIONS ON THE THEME OF LIGHT Tens of thousands of Filipinos stand beside bamboo torches that hold lighted candles to offer a message of peace and form a Philippine map in Oton town in Iloilo province on Monday. With 56,680 lit candles, they set a new Guinness World Record, beating the previous record of 35,478 candles that Pakistan set on Dec. 10, 2009. AFP/MIDDLE WAY MEDITATION INSTITUTE

Intermittent rains failed to stop thousands of people from lining up in a dark, muddy field in Oton town in Iloilo province on Tuesday to form a giant map of the Philippines, in a bid to set a new world record for the largest flaming image using candles.

Cheers and jubilant cries erupted about 7:52 p.m. from the participants of “Light of Peace in the Philippines 2014” at an open field in Savannah City, a 300-hectare Camella Homes housing project, as the new world record was announced.


“I have the honor to announce that The Middle Way Meditation Institute Iloilo (MMI) has broken (the previous) record with 56,680 candles. You are all officially amazing. Mabuhay Philippines and thank you,” said Seyda Subasi-Gemici, adjudicator and official representative from Guinness World Records.


The candle-lit map of the Philippines, along with the event’s motto “World Peace Through Inner Peace” and the logo of the MMI, the event’s lead organizer, came twinkling into formation despite heavy rain before the event.

But the rain stopped in time, allowing enough people to participate in the most recent record-setting attempt in the country.


The lighted candles forming an image should be lit for at least five seconds to qualify for the world record, according to Gemici.

Previous record surpassed

She said the Philippines surpassed the previous record set by Pakistan with 35,478 candles.

The Pakistan record was set on Dec. 10, 2009 by 118 Sandoz employees at Hotel Serena in Faisalabad, Pakistan, according to the Guinness World Records website.

Aiming at 100,000

The announcement was followed by a 10-minute fireworks display as Gemici presented a certificate for the new record to MMI and other organizers of the event. These included the Villar Sipag (Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance), the Archdiocese of Jaro, the city and provincial governments of Iloilo, the Commission on Higher Education and the Department of Education.

The organizers had aimed to reach 100,000 candles but the rain which turned the site into a field of mud apparently discouraged some of the volunteers and participants.

It was unclear how many participants actually joined the event as each participant can light several candles placed on bamboo holders.

Peace and light

The candle map was intended “to promote inner peace, which is through meditation, so conflicts and misunderstanding will be reduced,” said Nguyen Ha, a publicist for the organizers.

“That’s why we hold these large-scale events to gather many people, to build an atmosphere of peace … based on the theme of light,” the publicist added.

Former Sen. Manuel Villar, chair of Vista Land and Lifescapes which owns Camella Homes, said attaining world peace was a “lofty dream” amid conflicts, but not impossible.

“Tonight, our attempt to light the most number of candles simultaneously is not just an attempt to break the Guinness world record but a symbol of our collective effort at making our world more peaceful, making it a better place,” said Villar, the event’s main speaker.

Other VIPs attended

“Today we dream that all nations in the world will lay aside their armaments and nuclear weapons and say peace to one another. Today we dream that all families will have food on their tables, will have shelters to house them from every storm and will have joy to share over their tables,” Education Secretary Armin Luistro said in a speech.

Sen. Cynthia Villar, Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr., Director General Emmanuel Joel Villanueva of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, and other government officials also attended the event.

A 30-minute meditation was held before the lighting of the candles. Religious leaders, including Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, led the crowd in an ecumenical prayer for the victims of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” and other natural disasters last year.

The lighting of the special candles began at about 6:45 p.m., starting with the main image before the rest of the candles were lighted at 7 p.m.


Sally Salaveria, a teacher of Sto. Angel Elementary School in San Miguel, Iloilo, said she was with a group of 30 teachers who volunteered for the event.

“I want to be part of the collective call for peace within individuals and in the country and the world,” she said.

Ana Tapan of Barangay Abilay Norte in Oton town came with seven family members “to be part of this historic event.”

Organizers began ferrying participants in rented jeepneys from assembly points in Iloilo City in the morning. The volume of participants and vehicles caused a traffic jam a few hours before the event.

It also took several hours to leave the venue after the candle-lighting activity, with many of the participants walking for hours to get a ride.

Setting new world records has become quite popular in the Philippines, with about 10,000 taking part in the largest human formation for the symbol of a woman last month, more than 3,000 signing up as organ donors in one place in February, and the people of Bayambang, Pangasinan, creating the longest barbecue measuring 8,000 meters earlier this month.

The longest marathon basketball game of 120 hours, 1 minute and 7 seconds was also achieved in this basketball-crazy country from March 24 to 29. With a report from AFP



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Thousands of candles form Philippine map in ‘new record’

TAGS: Emmanuel Joel Villanueva, Iloilo, Manny Villar, Oton

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