Senator Cynthia Villar said on Monday that the use of recycled materials even in Christmas lanterns is great opportunity to promote environmental protection.
Villar’s hometown, Las Piñas City, has been touted as the best in recycling wastes—from kitchen wastes to garden wastes to organic wastes, which are then being given for free to farmers and urban gardeners.
She said that through the Villar SIPAG, plastic wastes are also turned into sturdy and durable school chairs, which are also being distributed for free to schools in Las Piñas and other parts of the country.
Aside from contributing to a healthy environment through the removal of wastes, they also help the government address the concerns of public schools on the lack of school chairs.
She added that water lilies, which once clogged the Las Piñas-Zapote River and waterways, had been turned into handicrafts, and coconut husks into coconet and charcoal.
“We are the best in recycling wastes,” said Villar during the city’s 13th Las Piñas Parol Festival which showcased the craftsmanship of the city’s residents in making colorful lanterns from recycled and indigenous materials.
“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.
The festival was launched by Senator Villar t13 years ago to revive the city’s parol-making industry. Villar helped organize the “Samahang Magpaparol ng Las Piñas” and later on set up the Las Piñas Parol Center which has since served as the training area for lantern makers.
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 to 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 tahong and tulya, 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.
The lighting of the lanterns and judging was done on Dec. 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.
Menchero took home the first prize of P20,000 while second prize of P15,000 was given to Apuli. Alitfaro took home the third prize award of P10,000.