A Porol is a unique Christmas lantern that originated from the province Pampanga in Central Luzon, Philippines. The ornamental star-shaped lantern is a representation of the star of Bethlehem that guided the three kings to the manger.
The five-pointed star was originally crafted by an artisan named Francísco Estasnislao in 1908 using bamboo sticks and covered by Japanese paper. Today, parols have evolved into a myriad of star-like designs, colors and sizes. They are made of various materials that range from plastic, shells, glass, beads, foil, feathers, hemp, leaves, seeds, soft drink straws, wood and even metal
Every Christmas for decades more intricate. colorful and much much larger Parols are displayed in a parol festival in Pampanga called: "Giant Lantern Festival." These Parols are about 20 feet in diameter and are illuminated by about 3,500 to 5,000 light bulbs synchronized to display movement, shapes, patterns and color combinations- a lighting show like no other.
Interesting enough, you would expect that the complex light programming to be controlled electronically but everything is still as it was in the 70's where hundreds of wires hang at the back of the parol and controlled by rotors (drum-like wheels) that switch the bulbs on and off. They are operated by as many as a 20-man team and are mounted on a large truck bed.
Here are a few photos and a video of the Festival in December 2015. The video clip was shot handheld therefore shaky... the place was crowded and I couldn't setup my camera properly on a tripod.
The blog is about the Philippines... the less photographed side of it. My hope is that as I develop the series, the story I tell about trivial life in the country resonates with its readers.