MANILA, Philippines - The best in Kampampangan art and culture, music and food were showcased during the recent launching of My City, My SM campaign at SM City Pampanga in San Fernando.

The event also honored two Kampampangans that have brought great honor not only to their hometown, but also to the Philippines: indie film director Brillante “Dante” Mendoza and Mutya ng Kapampangan Nicolette Henson.

For the event, renowned lantern maker Roland Quiambao made dazzling white-and-gold lanterns to decorate the staging area. The program, which was hosted by Perry Pangan, began with a doxology by Jonas David, a local Kapampangan artist, followed by a musical number by the San Nicholas Second Chorale.

The ASLAG Kampampangan artists then serenaded the crowd with Kampampangan Christmas carols, leading to the highlight of the event, the unveiling of the panels of Brillante and Nicolette, which appeared in The Philippine STAR the following day. Mayor Oscar Rodriguez of San Fernando, City Tourism Officer Ching Pangilinan, and SM City Pampanga assistant mall manager Lana Erroba joined Brillante and Nicolette for the unveiling, wherein panels with Pampanga’s iconic lanterns were moved to reveal the My City, My SM campaign.

This was followed by a heartwarming performance of the My City, My SM jingle especially prepared by San Fernando composers Ben and Deng Escasa. The San Nicolas Band led by Neil Isip then performed wonderful musical numbers as guests enjoyed Kapampangan food in a cocktail presentation — sisig in patty shells, longganisa in ciabatta bread, mini chicken barbecue, and desserts like turon de pastillas, sinukmani, biko, and kutsinta.

Guests included Department of Tourism Region 3 Director Ronnie Tiotuico, as well as Brillante’s family — sisters Gloria Mendoza, Lourdes and Victor David, Yolanda Punsalan, Carmelita Aquino, and daughter Angelica; and Nicolette’s father, engineer Rosve Henson.

The exhibit included Brillante’s trophies, citations and movie posters; and Nicolette’s crown, scepter, and a gown by Kapampangan designer Frederick Policarpio.

A festival of Brillante Mendoza films (Lola, Kaleldo, and Manoro) was also shown at SM City Pampanga’s Cinema 5 from Dec. 14 to 18 to give tribute to his exceptional works.

The filmfest was very timely because right after the event, Brillante flew to Dubai where his movie Lola won the grand prize as the Best Feature Film in the 5th Dubai Film Festival.

My City, My SM is a project of SM and the Department of Tourism with support from The Philippine STAR.