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Pampanga’s parol: More than just a decor, it’s a symbol of hope

Jonas Reyes



CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, PAMPANGA – Mang Elmer readies his stocks of Christmas lanterns while his workers fix the wiring of some other decors at his shop in this city.

This is the usual scene you get to see when you go to a lantern shop in San Fernando, Pampanga.

They usually display their merchandise all year round, but they show off their newest designs as soon as 1 September strikes.

Their newest designs are often displayed during the Giant Lantern Festival, an annual event in the province showing huge lanterns towering almost three-story high.

Pampanga has been known to be the Christmas capital of the country, so it is common that the province’s entrepreneurs thrive on the season.

Internationally renowned for its colorful design and beauty that even Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray wore a Christmas lantern gown during the competition.

Going back to San Fernando, Mang Jun of Jun and Ruby Lantern Makers entertain customers as the latter look through the blinking Christmas adornments.

Mang Jun told The Tribune they get a few customers during the start of the ber months but the real busy days come are after the All Saints Day.

He said that they usually have more than 10 customers a day during those times.

These craftsmen also said they are hopeful the Giant Lantern Festival would push thru despite the pandemic.

Both Mang Elmer and Mang Jun are feeling the effects of the pandemic. In fact, they have limited the number of lanterns they produced this year.

Nonetheless, they remain optimistic that people will flock the province and would still buy them amid the health crisis.

When asked why, they said that the lanterns they make represent hope.

“We hope that this pandemic will end and that people would still enjoy Christmas despite what is happening to the country,” Mang Jun said.

A customer, in a separate interview, said they are looking for Christmas lanterns because they believe that it could brighten their spirits, especially their families, friends and neighbours.

“It is true that we are facing a pandemic this year, but it wouldn’t be Christmas if we didn’t have any parols in our home,” the customer said.