A simple paper clad parol. Classic, seasonal, restrained and beautiful. Absolutely my favorite seasonal decor item at this time of the year. So pinoy, so evocative of a simpler time, so devoid of inappropriate jazz. They are almost IMPOSSIBLE to find, a decorative dinosaur in today’s in-your-face landscape of lights, razzle dazzle and all kinds of made-in-China tinsel and glitz. So when we wracked our brains for appropriate holiday decor for our restaurants, of course I/we opted for classic red parols made with papel de japon. But where to obtain 200 of them when the markets were only teaming with garrish, plastic clad versions, admittedly practical (can last several years) but oh so wrong?? Not 10 minutes after concluding the decision to get paper parols, we drove by an older gentleman selling plastic parols outside a church and I stopped the car and asked him if he would make us some paper parols. He looked surprised at the request, but said he could do it, so I ordered 200, much to his shock, surprise and ultimately financial delight!
Back at home, without the benefit of this serendipitous find, we had already made two dozen white parols from scratch, and they hang happily outside our front door. I read somewhere that the farol/parol was once used as a “guiding light” for provincial folks who had risen before dawn and walked in groups towards the nearest town church or chapel. I suppose the lanterns must have been powered by candles, thus probably went up in flames relatively frequently! For me, the romantic vision of pitch dark or deep, deep pre-dawn blue countryside scenes dotted with slowly moving candle-lit parols leading folks to early morning mass is something I wish I could see today… or at least in a well made local holiday movie.
Things have been hectic the last few days. Just flew in. Got sick. Headed down to Cebu to see the new extension of the Mango Avenue Zubuchon store opened (above). And tonight, the Zubuchon company Christmas party for 80+ people in Cebu… So forgive the lack of posts, I am crazed right now. :)