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Las Piñas Parol festival, parade winners named

Residents of Las Piñas City gathered over the weekend to watch the parade of giant colorful lanterns made of recycled materials as part of this year’s celebration of the 13th Las Piñas Parol Festival.

Senator Cynthia A. Villar and representatives from the local government joined spectators as giant lanterns made by local residents were paraded in the city grounds.

“A Filipino Christmas is not complete without a traditional parol hanging outside our homes. I am truly amazed by the creativity of the Las Piñeros as they continue to come up with unique and creative designs that make Christmas in our city truly alive and colorful,” Villar said.

Senator Cynthia A. Villar poses with the Las Piñas parol makers who bagged the top three prizes during the 13th Parol Festival in the city. The winners are (from left) second runner-up Dolores Alifaro, grand winner Merlito Menchero, and first runner-up Rogelio Apuli. The senator said the use of recycled wastes even in Christmas lanterns  is a great opportunity to promote environmental protection.
The festival was launched by the senator 13 years ago to revive the city’s parol-making industry. Villar helped organize the “Samahang Magpaparol ng Las Pinas” and later on set up the Las Pinas Parol Center which has since served as the training area for lantern makers.

Parol maker Merlito Menchero took home the first prize of P20,000; while second prize of P15,000 was given to Rogelio Apuli and Dolores Alifaro took home the third prize award of P10,000.

The colorful festival also featured a street dance competition participated in by elementary school students from the various Las Piñas schools.

CAA Elementary School, CAA Elementary Annex and Gatchalian Elem. School won the grand prize of P50,000 cash. Almanza Elementary School Annex and Pilar Village Elementary School garnered the second prize of P30,000 cash and Manuyo Elementary School Daniel Fajardo, Ilaya and Las Piñas Central got the third prize of P20.000 cash.

The rest of participants received a subsidy of P40,000 for their costumes, props and other equipment.

This year, the lanterns built by Las Piñeros were used to adorn the façade of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, one of the popular landmarks in Metro Manila.

“I am proud to say that our unique design ingenuity has caught the eye of both local and international markets as seen by the increasing demand of our parols,” Villar added.

Apart from the usual raw materials such as bamboo, parol makers also used recycled materials such as plastic, straw, pet bottles, cartons, cans, and shells like clams and oysters, and indigenous materials like coconut husk, dried leaves, feathers and shells in their finished products.

For this year, 18 parol makers submitted their striking lantern designs, which have been on display at the Villar SIPAG grounds since Dec. 1.

Lighting of the lanterns and judging was done on December 5.

Participants in this year’s lantern-making competition included Fercival Santos, Andrew Flores, Alicia Benicio, Bryan Flores, Luzviminda Gallardo, Girlie Santos, Merlito Menchero, Rogelio Apuli, Toefanes Bernal, Whelma Apuli, Leah Esguerra, Dolores Alifaro, Alma Tacsiat, Josefa Advincula, Glenda Mendoza, Francis Hernandez and Elena Casas.

Topics: Las Piñas City , 13th Las Piñas Parol Festival , Senator Cynthia A. Villar
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