Parols of Boracay

The parols displayed here decorated various hotels, restaurants, stores, and homes on or near the small tourist island of Boracay, Philippines during Christmas 1997 and 1998. As variations on the traditional parol, they are hand-made from locally available resources like coconut trees, mussel shells, and plastic packaging.

The parols in this collection are based on the traditional parol, but take on new shapes and materials. Why have the parol-makers of Boracay chosen non-traditional materials? One reason might be necessity. Boracay is an island, and almost all goods there need to be transported from neighboring towns. Thus, the artists used what were readily available. For example, one young artist used colored plastic bags in her parol which must have been lying around the family store.

This is one of my favorite parols, because of its colorful design and creative use of everyday garbage. Brightly colored wrappers from candy and chips are carefully folded and pasted onto this festive parol.

Rachel 11/19/1999
All too often Filipinos throw their used plastic packaging on the ground without even thinking of placing it in a garbage can, or somewhere it can be recycled or somehow be of use. I admire creators of this parol and ones like it because they use materials which others may call "useless," "litter," or "basura." They clean up and decorate the neighborhood in a fun and inventive way.

Jessica Eve ( 11/19/1999
The improvisation of resources that would have normally been thrown away is a creative, yet common, theme among the less fortunate of the population. Those with less prefer to stick to tradition and will create the most immaculate items to uphold tradition if they can not afford to buy them. This parol is very colorful, ideal for the Philippines. The products are every-day snacks, mostly chips, which reflect the culture of a fat-eating population or mostly the foods enjoyed by a young person, possibly the creator of this piece.

Cesar ( 12/21/1999
Artistic & Innovative, that's what I can say to the person who created that particular parol.

rose bondoc 01/17/2000
I also like this parol because it can help us, Filipinos, in maintaining cleanliness in our country, the Philippines. Besides if we do this parol, we can prove to the other countries that Filipinos are very creative.

Diane Ong ( 11/24/2000
Wow!!! its very creative! surely, its enviromental friendly!!! =)

Deann Harriy 12/12/2000
I think that the parol made out of candy rapers is so cool!!

charmae astillero, 5 years old ( 12/11/2001
i liked the parol because it makes use of materials others would call basura.

Anjelica Brackins 12/21/2001
The parols that they make in the Philippines are very creative! My mom is from the Philippines and knows all about parols. When she lived there, she saw them a lot around Christmas. When she was little, she made a lot of them at school. Whenever she talks on the phone to relatives, she talks in Tagalog. It is hard to understand her! Well, as people in the Philippines would say,"Maligayang Pasko!" {Merry Christmas in English}

Eva Dubberstein ( 09/14/2002
I'm originally from the Philippines. My husband, a native of Wisconsin just love going back every year, especially during christmastime. He always make sure we arrive before the Lantern Festival in Pampanga. We both love the exquisite display of the giant parols in their dancing lights. This particular parol made of wrappers, my kids are interested for their next project. It is really inovative. Hurray for the maker. Keep up the good work.

John Pineda ( 11/29/2001
I miss my hometown (Las Pi–as) when I saw this "parol". Las Pi–as is the City of Lanterns in the Philippines. On this Parol, we can show to the whole world that filipinos are very creative. I hope that our government will help these creative filipinos to explore their skills. I am always proud of being filipino.

Belinda ( 12/17/2001
It make me so proud whenever I see the filipino's creativity being admired by another country, especially when they used it for some show. The parol is just one of the best creative that we filipino can be proud of, because it is not made by some robots or machine, but with our bare hands and of course with pride. I always tell my kids to be proud of what you are, and not to feel ashamed of our tradition as a filipino.

Jessica Eve ( 11/19/1999
This parol has a mythical look, like the ancient art of the Egyptians where the center image is the sun. Again, the resources used were from the environment, except for the rope, which had to be bought for some other purpose anyway. The parol is two-sided, so it can be viewed despite the direction a person is walking. The parol resembles the steering wheel of a ship. As for Christmas and New Year on a tropical island, this parol is perfect. It would be out of place in an area where it snows or is cold on Christmas.

Ut deakin ( 11/30/1999
This parol looks so original and beautiful---it is so appropriate for it's location--Boracay Beach. It must have been very difficult to use sand----my admiration and congratulations to the ingenuity of its creator

Paolo Recarro ( 12/15/1999
This parol is very nice and I'm actually amazed that I'ts only made of sand and ropes. You have beautiful Parols in your page. Very good information too.

Zaidee/Jojo/Voltaire ( 10/03/2001
Another creative Pinoy design! We luv this site! It inspires us in our Christmas design project! =)

Marisol Contadan ( 11/27/2001
This parol has a mystical look. It traverses you from the present back to the future. The parol was made meticulously as we can all see, but its worth it. Kudos to the makers of this wonderful craftmanship.

Fatboy Intensity Unlimited 11/27/2001
This kind of parol is a rare one. This is the first time I saw a parol of this kind having ropes, wood, and sand as the main materials. I am very proud to be a Filipino since the products that we have produced is of "Best Quality". Congratulations for having this elegant "thing". I can use this as an example in making our own parol since we will be having the Parol Competition this year in our school. Once again, Congratulations!

Boracay, Aklan, Philippines

Boracay is a small island off the Northwest corner of the island of Panay, Philippines. It is in the province of Aklan and is nearby to Aklan's capital, Kalibo. Boracay is known for its sparkling beaches, stunning sunset, scuba diving and other water sports.

The beauty of Boracay, its sparkling blue water, and powder white beaches can be experienced with the excitement of Kalibo's famous Ati-Atihan Festival, and the amazing Holy Week activities.

Boracay Island is only about four miles wide and was inhabited by the Ati, an indigenous people, for centuries. Its stunning beaches are favorite spots for tourists and had been considered a paradise island. Within the past decade, Boracay has become a major tourist attraction, and many foreigners from all over the world have joined Filipinos in owning and operating resorts, restaurants and businesses on the island. Boracay indeed has become international. Thus one can say that the local, indigenous art and culture have now been influenced by its foreign settlers such as Americans, Europeans, Australians, Japanese, Koreans, Chinese and others who have setup businesses on the island.

Filipino art and culture are dynamic. It goes through an evolution in which there is inevitable foreign influence. These parols exemplify the dynamic setting through the creative use of local materials by artists on Boracay. Take these factors in mind as you appreciate their parol art of Boracay. You are invited to observe what the artist might have had in mind in designing and making this parol. Note that every artistŐs creation is a reflection of his/her cultural heritage.