14 Dec2013


Every few years, I wax nostalgic and seek the more delicate and traditional (and admittedly less practical) paper lanterns of my childhood. I still remember my mom purchasing enormous Christmas lanterns made out of papel de Japon (what is that in English — Japanese paper — or is it tissue paper?) or flamboyant cellophane and paper versions. They were 3 feet in diameter at least, and in good years, several of them hung in front of our house during the holiday season. I particularly like the gentle rustling sound the paper tails make when there is a slight breeze, and on a cool morning, it evokes good memories, whether real or imagined. :) I have made several of these lanterns as a kid and even later, but I have to admit they are time consuming and last just one season despite all the work…


This year, with MM and family pre-occupied in Cebu for most of November, the crew in Manila had a lot of time on their hands, and they purchased 24 small bamboo lantern shapes from the guys at Nepa-Q-Mart that sell the more common (and I can’t stand them personally) plastic lanterns. They then covered the two dozen bamboo skeletons in classic white papel de japon. I just checked my archives and it seems the crew also did this just two years ago, and before that, in 2005. A couple of years ago, I managed to convince an older gentleman selling plastic covered parols to make 200 paper lanterns for us in Cebu. He charged a very modest PHP25 per farol, and I wish he had relatives in Manila so I could cover the garage out front with them… This is one of those wonderful Christmas traditions that is falling by the wayside. And I intend to keep returning to them every few years or so… The MM household is furiously trying to play catch-up on our holiday plans, so stay tuned for several posts as we prep the house, wrap the presents, trim the tree, and a whole host of other yuletide activities!



  1. Getter Dragon 1 says:

    By my best estimates, you must be an early riser and maybe catching up on the aforementioned holiday agenda. It was suprising to see your latest post just a little after lunch time PST. I’ve always wanted a parol and never really had an appreciation until recently. And I would have to agree with the gaudiness of the plastic and multicolor blinking ones that wait to induce epileptic seizures among the unwitting.

    We had bamboo frames from a long ago trip home, but never found the time to re-paper them. I have to admit to being indifferent to the holidays. But the pictures of the parols you have posted seem to re-kindle a little sparkle which I find refreshing and forboding at the same time.

    Dec 14, 2013 | 5:55 am


  2. Notice: Undefined variable: oddcomment in /home/marketman/marketmanila.com/wp-content/themes/marketmanila-v2/comments.php on line 33
  3. ros says:

    I believed washi is an acceptable term to use in English.
    Kozogami for the translucent/tissue-like type of washi used in mending books.

    Dec 14, 2013 | 6:20 am

  4. rp says:

    good taste on your italian tolomeo; i’ve 5 versions of ’em [floor,desktops in 2 sizes, wall sconce]…

    Dec 14, 2013 | 7:22 am

  5. Meg says:

    MM, I like the excitement and thrilling energy that you have year round, on any day, on any occasion. These gives me more reasons to celebrate when i see your projects, specially those paper parols. They are lovely.

    Dec 14, 2013 | 7:52 am

  6. millet says:

    i love the chair right under the lamp. so tropical.

    Dec 14, 2013 | 9:42 am

  7. natie says:

    I love these just as I love the clear Christmas lights.

    I remember parols were our projects when we were in grade school. We were made to bring bamboo dowels (sticks) and papel de japon. The string we used to secure the sticks was Hilo Beinte just like the kitchen twines! I could still smell the paste we used….Oh, memories.

    Dec 14, 2013 | 10:29 am

  8. MP says:

    I’m not sure if I remember correctly but you had a similar parol-related post a few Christmases ago and Papa Ethan said he knows how to make them and offered to teach anyone interested to learn the trick of how to make that dainty tail.

    Oh, what I would give to have a parole and spend the holidays in Manila!!

    Dec 14, 2013 | 7:25 pm

  9. ami says:

    Finally, the Christmas related posts are in. Hope you can still find the time to create a gingerbread house this year.

    Las Pinas City has a strong parol making industry. You can find many of them near St. Joseph’s Church (aka Bamboo Organ church). I’m sure you can convince one of them to supply you with papel de japon versions.

    I was telling my mom how much I like the look of ornaments made of capiz shells and I was thinking of buying some star shaped ones for our Christmas tree when she told me that it’s malas to have capiz shells inside the house. My friend has also heard the same thing from her mother. I was wondering if anybody else has heard about this from older folks?

    Dec 16, 2013 | 9:45 am

  10. passive.observer says:

    I love these paper parols. They are much better than the multi colored plastic ones. The filipino christmas spirit seems more real than the latter. I remember during grade school making this as a school project and before i could finish the whole product, the paper cover for the star would have to be replaced since the wind already blew a hole in it. Some variation would have a circle surrounding the star, which circle was actually made up of bunched up newspapers. And i love doing the ‘tail’.

    Dec 16, 2013 | 1:52 pm

  11. Papa Ethan says:

    MP, you are correct: I will gladly share the technique of making the parol tails with anyone interested. Now that you’ve reminded me, I’ll try to make either an instructional video or an illustrated step-by-step guide. You’d be surprised at how easy it is to do. Will ask MM privately on how we can transmit the instructional material.

    Cheers! =)

    Dec 16, 2013 | 2:24 pm

  12. Marketman says:

    Papa Ethan, just send me an email or whatever with attachments and I would be happy to post it or send it to folks who request it… ami, I have NEVER heard the superstition about capiz shells.. then I suppose all old houses with capiz windows, or folks with laminated capiz placemats, or bowls or chandeliers would all be courting bad luck. My mom used to have LOTS of opaque capiz ornaments, and they looked pretty nice on a tree… :)

    Dec 16, 2013 | 2:49 pm

  13. chichay says:

    Oh Papa Ethan, please do that. I was also feeling nostalgic this Christmas and decided to buy the traditional white lantern from my childhood using papel de hapon. There seems to be no one selling them nowadays so I ended up buying the plastic ones looking so plain without the tails.:(

    Dec 16, 2013 | 3:48 pm

  14. Papa Ethan says:

    Alright, folks. Just give me a couple of days to squeeze it into my schedule, then I’ll email it to MM. Thanks, MM for being the “host.” Happy Holidays to all! =)

    Dec 16, 2013 | 4:34 pm

  15. psychomom says:

    please share the technique of making paper parols, i have a friend who is going home for the holidays and would not mind bringing me those bamboo frames.

    Dec 16, 2013 | 11:27 pm

  16. corrine says:

    I have been pining for the lantern made of papel de japon. Sadly, can’t find any seller. You’re lucky MM to have staff who can make them.

    Dec 17, 2013 | 10:56 pm

  17. panchita says:

    love the parol! very nostalgic. also very elegant looking in white. wish I could buy some here in Arizona.

    Dec 19, 2013 | 12:01 pm

  18. Kasseopeia says:

    I remember that discussion from years ago, Papa Ethan. Yippee, instructional materials! I am not much of a parol-maker but it does evoke so many memories. I always hoped my younger cousins will take up the tradition. With Papa Ethan’s instructional materials, there’s no excuse NOT to! Happy holidays, everyone!

    Dec 20, 2013 | 7:36 pm


Market Manila Home · Topics · Archives · About · Contact · Links · RSS Feed

site design by pixelpush

Market Manila © 2004 - 2021