For the past seven years, the CCP has been partnering with the City of San Fernando, the Home of Giant Lanterns, to highlight the Philippine lantern-making technology and traditions.
Under the partnership, Pampanga’s capital provides the technical expertise in parol production, creating white lanterns measuring eight feet in diameter, following the overall design of Eric Cruz, head of the CCP Production Design.
The iconic Philippine lantern from Pampanga called Parul Sampernandu showcases the artistic craftsmanship and innate ingenuity in the traditional Philippine Christmas,
San Fernando, Pampanga has been known as the Christmas Capital of the Philippines because of its thriving parol industry. Known for its gigantic size, brilliant colors and flashing kaleidoscopic patterns, Parul Sampernandu is the main attraction of the Ligligan Parul (the Giant Lantern Festival), which is one of the top tourist attractions of the city.
According to history, the first parol was created by Francisco Estanislao, an artisan from Pampanga, in 1908. To create the parol, Estanislao used bamboo strips for the frame, and pasted colorful papel de japon on it. He used kalburo (carbide) for some illumination. During that time, the townfolks used the parol to light their paths on the way to the Misa de Gallo (dawn masses).
Through the years, the beautiful Christmas lanterns have evolved. From using bamboo sticks, the contemporary lanterns are now made from other traditional and non-traditional materials such as glass, bead, feather, plastic, shell, straw, wood and even metal. From the small five-pointed star, the modern parol now comes in different sizes, shapes and designs.
Approximately 50 Parul Sampernandu illuminate the CCP Main Building; 25 parol light up the facade of the main building, while the rest of the parol are displayed on both sides.
Unlike in previous years when the lanterns displayed were all in white, this year’s parols are designed with Omni colored LED bulbs to complement the “Habi ng Pagkakaisa” Christmas installation at the CCP Liwasang Asean Park.