Chapter 1


1.1 Background of the Study

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Philippines is one of the many countries that celebrate Christmas during the
months of September through December. Those months are filled with colorful
lanterns or what they called “Parol” in the Philippines. Parol is one the most
iconic symbol of the Filipino’s Christmas spirit and one of the Filipino’s
traditions every Christmas to celebrate Christmas. This tradition is to honor
the wise men who visited Jesus in its birth. Parol or lantern in English means
light which lights up the Christmas season and it is the sign of hope and
predominantly of the Christian country.


The colonization of the
Spaniards in the Philippines is the sole reason why Filipinos celebrates
Christmas and is considered as one of the country’s most awaited season. From
time to time, Filipinos have been adapting the foreign culture about Christmas
and from there, the Filipinos created their own touch and signature in creating
bright full and colorful lanterns and parols. People in the Philippines are
likely to celebrate the spirit of Christmas as creative and as full of colorful
lights as possible. Pampanga held a yearly Giant Lantern Festival that attracts
many people especially the craftsmen from every part of the Philippines.


Many countries are attracted
to it that leads them to support the Giant Lantern Festival and held a
competition yearly in the City of Pampanga. The culture and tradition of
Pampanga shows potential in terms of marketing because lanterns are broadly
used inside and outside of the country. The showcasing of gigantic parols in
Pampanga is annually celebrated to which they refer to as the “Giant
Lantern Festival” or “Ligligan Parul” in Kapampangan. It is
yearly performed in the month of December (Saturday before the Christmas Eve)
in the City of San Fernando in Pampanga. The said province has been dubbed as
the “Christmas Capital of the Philippines” because of their gigantic
and splendid lanterns. The predecessor of the modern day Ligligan Parul was a
religious activity which is known today as “Lubenas”. The tradition
of Pampanga gradually evolved as the designs goes more intricate and the size
of the lanterns became bigger. Each resident from different nations has their
contribution in the construction of lanterns, the design and theme, materials
from different resources, and the labor. Thus, lanterns and parols became the
symbol of unity in the said city.


1.2 Objectives

general objective of this study is to showcase the wonderful and bizarre
culture and tradition of Kapampangan through the making of their symbolic
parol. It also aims to have an overview to the history and make an actual
lantern based on Pampanga and also to have an alternative material in making
the lantern in innovating way. It also aims to know the culture of Pampanga
then and now. This study aims to give the Filipinos a worthwhile
celebration of the true essence of Christmas through its most iconic symbol,
the lanterns and parols in remembrance of the birth of Jesus Christ. This study
will also introduce how being the Christmas Capital of the Philippines
drastically affect the lives and traditions of Kapampangan in terms of
economic, socio-culture, and tourism growth. 
Also, the researchers will present how Kapampangan make their giant
lanterns with a touch of modernized and distinctive style. And finally, this
study aims to exhibit the uniqueness of Pampanga as part of the Region 3
(Central Luzon) from the other regions in the Philippines and to know how the
Kapampangan’s represent the City of San Fernando as the Christmas Capital of
the Philippines.


1.3 Significance of the Study

importance of this study is very essential to the Filipino culture especially
in commemorating Christmas. This study presents the lantern culture of
Pampanga in the Philippines, on how it grows and innovated time by time. The
importance of this study is to inform the people how important and how amusing
this lantern can be when it comes to presenting their culture. This
study will also be of help to spread what kind of culture Pampanga has and give
importance of the country’s very own distinctive set of creative abilities. It will also show the
artistry of the culture and it is such an interesting topic for the
researchers. The study was made to deliver the importance of lanterns in the

Students. This study will give the students more information and knowledge
about the beautiful culture of Pampanga. The steps and procedures presented in
this study may also help them make their very own parol with a touch of

Teachers. This study will provide the teachers a more productive project to
give to their students in which they can use the finished product with a good

Researchers. This study will help the researchers to extremely understand the
tradition and culture Pampanga has. In doing this research, the researchers
will then be enlightened about the importance of Christmas and also about the
lives and livelihoods of the Kapampangan.

Future Researchers. This study will serve them as a guide to have an overview
or background and will serve as their reference in conducting researches about
the historicity of Pampanga and its Lantern Festival.



1.4 Methodology

The researchers use a
qualitative research that focuses on gathering relevant information. The data
and information were selected using source from the library, internet,
observation and interview. The researchers started to read articles and related
literatures, to gather information’s about the parol and its historicity.


Chapter 2


2.1 Historical Background

A. History of Parol

The word parol comes
from Spanish word for lantern. Parol was originated from Mexican Piñata. The
Piñata came to Spain from Italy; they spread to Mexico and came to the
Philippines when the Spaniards brought Christianity to the country. It was
intended as one’s offering to glorify the Lord. It was an important part of the
devotion to faithfully to attend the 9-day Misa de Aguinaldo or Gift Masses
which begin with 16th day of December and ends with the Misa de Gallo or Mass
of the Rooster. Parol was made by the bamboo strips covered with the Japanese
paper, crepe paper as a design and a candle or coconut oil-lamp for
illumination. Parol symbolizes the star that led the wise men to baby Jesus and
also it symbolizes the victory of light over darkness and the Filipino’s hope
and goodwill during the Christmas season.


B. History of Pampanga

came from the word “pampang” which means living alongside the river.
It was discovered in 1571 by a Spanish conquistador Martin de Goiti which then
resulted in making it as the first-ever Spanish province in the Philippines.

male Pampangeños were known for their chivalry and leadership while the female
Pampangeños were looked up to because of their unexceptional skill in cooking.

the Spaniards colonized Pampanga, it already had established a society made up
of 3 classes: The Chief (Datu), Freeborn (Timawa), and Slaves (Alipin). The
Chiefs were known as the most powerful of them all because he was the one who
rules the whole barangay, but he can also get terminated from the seat because
of incomptitiveness or even such different rational reasons. Freeborns are the
one who assists the chiefs in every planting or harvesting seasons. They have
their own freedom to choose whom they are going to marry but not lending their
borrowed money will cost them and will eventually be the reason why they become
slaves. Slavery is the lowest class, people under this were the one who serves
their superiors.

is one of the most elite provinces in the Philippines most especially in the
field of agriculture. Rice is the primary product of Pampanga and is also known
as “The Culinary Center of the Philippines. Diosdado Macapagal
International Airport was also established here and can be found in Clark
Freeport Zone in Angeles City and Mabacalat.


C. Historicity of Parol in Pampanga

The Parol is the
Christmas symbol of the Filipinos. The name “Parol” comes from the Spanish word
“Farol” which means “Light”. The Parol is the symbolism of light, the
inspiration of making this parol is the star that led the wise men to the place
where Jesus was born.  The Parul
Sampernandu which is the Christmas lantern term in Kapampangan was named or was
followed to the name of the Capital of Pampanga which is the City of San
Fernando, in which this town was and still known for making such colorful lanterns.
Making lanterns made the city famous all over the country and around the globe.
With this San Fernando City has a title of “Christmas Capital of the

simple lantern made of paper glued over bamboo frame with rice paste has
evolved into spectacular shapes and kaleidoscopic splendor. In replacement of
bamboo, lantern makers weld a steel frame corresponding to the design itself.

It was in the year
1931 when the first Giant Lantern festival started in the City of San Fernando.
The designs of the Giant Lantern become more intricate, bright-colored, and
have more dancing lights. As years pass by, the designs are constant in
changing and become more technologically related.

In replacement to the
traditional materials in making lantern like bamboo, the lantern makers use
steel to make the frame for it to become more sturdy. The frame is lined with
cardboard and foil followed by another enormous task, placing the over 5,000
light bulbs in their places and wiring them up together using hundreds of yards
of electrical wires. Large steel barrels called “rotors” also replaced the
hand-controlled switches to maneuver the lights. Strips of masking tape on
these rotors establish the sequence of the switching on and off of the lights.
Hairpins, attached to the end of the wires leading to each bulb, connect the
lights to the rotor, which in turn, is connected to the source of electricity.

In today’s lantern,
the simple lantern made from the traditional materials and designs evolved into
a new and different shapes but its message about goodwill and hope remains. With
such world-class design of lanterns, the City of San Fernando in Pampanga would
not be dubbed as the Christmas Capital of the Philippines for nothing. Indeed,
the exquisite intricacy and meticulous details of how these parols are made is
truly a craft of passion.


2.4 Implications

A. Economy

lanterns in Pampanga has a great contribution in the aspect of economy. San
Fernando Pampanga, being the “Christmas capital of the Philippines”, serves as
motivation for the Kapampangan to make more splendid and giant lanterns. Its
manufacturing and income depend upon its demand. On the other hand, its demand
depends upon the occasion. The demand is in its highest point when ‘ber’ months
starts and Christmas season begins but declines when Christmas period end.
Philippines is considered as the only country that celebrates Christmas season
for few months. The demand will mainly affect the job’s opportunity related in
lantern making.

of the popularity of the giant lantern, many tourists come and purchase it. As
a matter of fact, Philippines is one of the most main retailer of lantern
around the world. Pampanga really helps our country especially in Christmas


B. Socio Cultural

country has their unique culture, beliefs and tradition from their ancestor. Philippines
is proven having a rich culture and economy. One of its example is the
Pampanga, it is well known for best Kapampangan giant and splendid lanterns.
San Fernando, Pampanga considered as one of the main producer of lantern in the
Philippines. Aside from the fact that it really helps our economy, it also
nourishes the bond of people in Pampanga especially when it comes to their
traditions and culture. To create or produce a giant lantern, it requires many
people to accomplish it. Kapampangan communicate to each other to form an
association who mainly creates giant parol. They’re having an interchange of
ideas or thoughts on how to produce a plausible lantern.  By that, it strengthens their bond that leads
to their unity. A unites city also means having the same thoughts and beliefs
which leads in giving importance and nurture their culture. Aside from that,
more splendid outputs will be produced.


The researchers
advocate about the colorful Ligligan Parul or also known as the “Giant Lantern
Festival”. It is a famous annual feast in San Fernando City and was held prior
to Christmas Eve. The festival revolves about giant lanterns computation. The
lanterns are made in capiz shells and other raw materials, by creativity and
skills in craftsmanship, the makers would create a giant parol boosting with
colors that would light up the feast.

The researchers also
promote the Pampanga’s culture in creating Lanterns by understanding the
significance to stay true to nature and use natural materials and create them
individually by hand, like the Fernandinos have done for many years.


C. Tourism

The Pampanga is known in the
Philippines when it comes to parol every December or every Christmas Season not
only here in this country but in the world, because it is good to see and is
full of lights. Other tourist goes to Pampanga to buy parol, even if they lived
far in the province, they still go. One of the reason why Pampanga is known in
parol because they use bamboo frames and other resourceful materials like
colored plastic and handmade papers. Pampanga named the “Christmas Capital
of the Philippines” because of its largeness and luminous lights. It’s a
fun place to celebrate the festival named “Ligligan Parul”. Pampanga
Parol lanterns every year are getting more and more profligate and dynamic
which makes tourists come back for more. The thin line between
culture and tourism in the created lantern is economically advantageous for
both destinations and the communities that reside in them. It is designed to
the development of cultural tourism that benefits destinations, communities and


Chapter 3

3.1 Summary

Parol is one thing
Filipinos always enjoy with the celebration of Christmas. The parol’s design is
based on the concept of Mexican piñata and it is inspired by the light that led
the wise men to the place where the baby Jesus Christ was born. The most common
materials used in crafting a parol are capiz shells and Japanese paper. The
creative approach of the Kapampangans in making such creative lanterns and
parols with the use of seashells, floral pattern, religious symbolisms, and any
decorative materials only shows how important Christmas is for them. In
recognizing such wonderfully executed decorations, Kapampangans are also giving
importance towards their locale, their culture and tradition, their resources
around them, and the passion and effort they put to make giant parols is what
makes them stand out among the rest.


3.2 Conclusion

Our country is full
of tradition and culture expressed especially in Christmas season. Bibingka,
putobumbong, simbang gabi, children’s carol in the street and of course the
Parol. Parol is just one thing that shows how Filipinos value Christmas Day.
Representing light in darkness and hope, the parol shows how the Filipinos see
the birth of Christ Jesus as the day of hope for all mankind as the savior was
born unto us all.

Creating your own
Parol is not that easy but making one is a great experience. Filipinos around
the country who make lanterns for living just shows that they are giving their
best efforts to make one and at the same time they are also expressing their
artistry and creativity in making them. Overall, the researchers
concluded that the culture of Kapampangans, when applied in their lanterns, can
contribute a great help in their economy, in enhancing their practices, and in
attracting tourists not just in the Philippines but also in other countries.


3.3 Recommendation

researchers recommend this study which keeps and nurture the culture of making
a Pampanga’s lantern. Pampanga is also known as ‘Parol Capital of the
Philippines ‘because nothing compares to the bright and joyful Christmas of
this place. The giant lantern festival or Ligligan Parol in Kapampangan sets
their lantern apart from the rest is the high degree craftsmanship involved in
making huge colorful display. The lanterns also show that Kapampangan are
giving importance to the history of lanterns as a religious symbol as the first
Parol is influenced by Spanish friars. Studying about
Christmas Lanterns from foreign countries is recommended for this research is
limited in the study of the history of Parol in Pampanga, Philippines.
Exploring different cultures in countries aside the Philippines would benefit
the knowledge of the researchers as well as their ideas regarding crafting a
Christmas Lantern.

For the future
researchers, the proponents of this study recommend them to use other materials
in doing Christmas Lanterns, specifically recycled materials. Using recycled
materials in doing Christmas Lanterns not only helps our environment in
reducing waste but also challenges the craftsman to exert effort and creativity
with simple and limited materials.