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A 62-year-old veteran parol maker won the 2019 Christmas lantern-making contest organized by  Las Piñas City.

Luzviminda Gallardo was awarded on December 13 as the grand champion anew in the parol-making contest during the 14th annual Las Piñas Parol Festival. The event was held at the newly-inaugurated “The Tent” in Vista Global South on the occasion of former Senate president Manny Villar’s 70th birthday.

The wow factor in Gallardo’s eight-foot creation was that it was fashioned out of a combination of recyclable and organic materials–paper, rope, twigs, different types of grain, mussel shells, sea shells, etc.

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For her winning efforts, Gallardo was awarded P20,000 in cash by Villar and his wife Senator Cynthia Villar.

“Nagbebenta rin ho kami kasi maraming umuoorder samin na recycled talaga (We also sell lanterns and there are a lot of orders for lanterns made from recycled materials),” said the third-generation parol-maker. “More on native design ang gusto nila (Native design is what’s popular).”

Indeed, parol-making has become a source of livelihood and pride in Las Piñas. But, as with all traditions, they tend to wrestle with the passage of time and fail to thrive.

“These are professional parol-makers, three-generation parol-makers. We don’t want to lose that tradition,” said Senator Villar, who first organized the competition over a decade ago when she was still city mayor.

“Contests like these are meant to encourage the passing on of the craft to the next generation and continue the livelihood. It’s one of the things that we are really proud of,” said the lady lawmaker, who topped the Senatorial race during the midterm polls last May.

Gallardo gave an insight on the importance of lantern-making to local residents. “Nasa puso na namin siya at parang kulang yung aming buhay kung wala yung ganun (It’s etched in our hearts and I feel that our lives are incomplete without it).”

According to Senator Villar, the local parol-makers’ preference for the recycled theme spoke well of the city’s mindfulness of the environment.

“It’s our advocacy for the environment. It’s been our tradition to use those kinds of materials,” she said.

“Those are the materials available. If you eat mussels, why not use the shells? It’s their way of showing what they can do with recyclable materials,” explained the chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Climate Change.

Senator Villar boasted of Las Piñas City’s efficiency when it came to recycling.

“We recycle 80 percent of our waste. We make it a point to segregate before our garbage is collected. Our biodegradable materials are turned into organic fertilizers. This includes our kitchen and garden waste. Recyclable plastic are turned into school chairs,” she said, referring to the activities of the Villar Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance or Villar SIPAG.

Las Piñas City Mayor Imelda Aguilar and daughter Vice Mayor April Aguilar also took part in the festivities.

Coinciding with the 14th Las Piñas Parol Festival was a street dance competition which featured high-energy performances from elementary students all over the city. The team from CAA Elementary School, CAA Elementary- Annex and Gatchalian Elementary School took home the grand prize worth P50,000.

Meanwhile, the team from Talon Elementary School, Moonwalk Elementary School, MES Golden Acres-Annex and MES-Mikesell Annex won first runner-up honors and the accompanying P30,000 cash prize. Finally, the second runner-up prize of P20,000 went to Manuyo Elementary, Daniel Fajardo Elementary, Ilaya and Las Pinas Elementary-Central.

This year’s iteration of the street dance contest benefitted greatly from the spacious Tent, which has a total capacity of 5,000 people.


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