PAROLS, also known as Christmas lanterns in the shape of a star, are one of the most enduring symbols of Christmas. It represents the Star of Bethlehem, which guided the Three Wise Men and the shepherds to the manger where the newly born Baby Jesus lay on the very first Christmas on earth. The celebration of Christmas in the Philippines is also replete with symbols of the star, which is locally known as parol and comes in different forms, shapes, sizes and colors.
While its neighboring Pampanga regaled everyone with its huge, lavish, glittering Christmas lanterns with intricate lighting systems, Malolos, Bulacan, paraded more simple yet equally meaningful parols using both recycled and indigenous materials in a Parada ng mga Parol that made the rounds of Malolos, Bulacan, last December 15, 2014.
The parade started at the Patio of the historic Barasoain Church and ended at the Malolos Sport & Convention Center in Bulihan, Malolos, where a Tatak Malolos arts, culture and trade fair was also ongoing. The parols paraded in tricycles, multicabs, jeeps and trucks showed the unique Christmas lanterns made by the 51 barangays of Malolos using only indigenous, natural and biodegradable materials to showcase the cultural heritage of their respective communities. Thus, there were parols made with bamboo, sawali, coconut, twigs, softdrink bottles, native anahaw fans, corn husks, walis tambo and even colorful rubber slippers.
Parada ng mga Parol formed part of Pistang Pasko sa Malolos, a Christmas celebration which also served as the kick-off activity of Vamos a Malolos!, a tourism centerpiece program and festival of arts, culture and tourism events aimed to boost the City of Malolos’ historical and cultural attractions in the local and international arena. It aggressively promotes the city through a series of events leading up to the commemoration of the historic proclamation of the Philippines as a Republic by the Malolos Congress in 1899.
Taking the initiative of Mayor Christian Natividad to make Malolos a key destination for art, history and culture, the City Mayor’s Office-Arts, Culture and Tourism Office (CMO-ACTO) conceptualized Vamos a Malolos! to drumbeat the important role that the city played in Philippine history.
After Pistang Pasko sa Malolos comes Fiesta Republica in January. It’s a national celebration of the founding of the First Philippine Republic, also known as the Malolos Republic, on January 23, 1899, and showcases a series of activities from January 17 to 23, 2015. Among the activities will be Kalutong Malolos, a food festival that puts the spotlight on the rich flavors of Malolos City’s local cuisine through a culinary competition.