The Iconic Parul Sampernandu of Pampanga Goes to CCP

FOR over a century, San Fernando City in Pampanga has been the home of parul sampernandu, a traditional and iconic Filipino lantern, which earned it the title "Christmas Capital of the Philippines."

According to the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), the first parol in San Fernando was created by Kapampangan artisan Francisco Estanislao in 1908. He used bamboo strips for the frame and pasted colorful papel de japon on it. To illuminate the parol, he used kalburo (carbide). His parol became popular that other Kampanpangan followed suit. Soon, the parol was used to light paths on the way to 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. 

The thriving parol industry also gave rise to the Ligligan Parul, also known as the Giant Lantern Festival. The annual showcase like no other transforms the parul sampernandu into gigantic marvels shining more brilliant with kaleidoscopic colors and patterns. 

So magnificent is the festival it has become the city's major tourist draw and the country's sought-after holiday attraction. 

In the past seven years, the CCP has been adorned by the parul sampernandu in honor of its In honor of its artistic craftsmanship and innate ingenuity

This is in partnership with the City of San Fernando, which provides the technical expertise in lantern production, creating white lanterns measuring eight feet in diameter, following the overall design of Eric Cruz, head of the CCP Production Design

This year, 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. For the first time, the lanterns are designed with OMNI colored LED bulbs to complement the "Habi ng Pagkakaisa” Christmas installation at the CCP Liwasang Asean Park. 

The holiday installation was the winner of the 2017 Holiday Light Installation Competition. Inspired by the geometrical patterns of various weaving traditions in the Philippines such as those by the Kalinga in Luzon, the Bagtason of the Visayas, and the Bagobo, the Mandaya, and T’Boli of Mindanao, the "Habi ng Pagkakaisa" aims to empower the weaving industry of our nation, which is deeply rooted in our rich culture as it is the same for all ASEAN countries.

The two projects combined express the CCP’s mandate of showcasing artistic excellence through Filipino creativity, as well as the institution’s ongoing partnerships with like-minded corporations and other government institutions.



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