Christmas as usual: 5-time champion Pampanga parol maker shares pandemic’s effects on industry
MANILA, Philippines — A veteran parol maker in San Fernando, Pampanga hoped that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to fade away for them to be back on business.
In an exclusive interview with Philstar.com during a recent Lakbay Norte event hosted by NLEX Corporation, Arnel Flores, owner of Mark Lanter, which has been in the industry as a parol or Filipino Christmas lantern maker for over 36 years, said that the parol business in the province was badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic last year.
“Sana tuloy-tuloy na maalis 'yung pandemya natin. Unti-unti nang bumabalik 'yung trabaho namin,” Arnel told Philstar.com.
Arnel added that they have no sales last year and he is hoping to make up for lost sales this year.
“Malaki ang epekto ng pandemya sa amin. Walang nagpagawa. Siyempre 'yung mga trabador natin kahit konti magbibigay tayo ng pang-ayuda. Kung tutuusin puro palabas ang budget noong nakaraan. Ngayon, unti-unti na kaming nakakabangon,” he said.
Arnel is a five-time champion of San Fernando’s Giant Lantern Festival.
“Nagsimula akong sumali, 21 years old ako. Ilang beses na tayo nagchampion, five times na, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2013, 2018 champion. Sa second at third place medyo madami,” he said.
Now that the parol business is getting back on its feet, Arnel said he now has orders coming from Isabela, Pasig, Batangas, Cavite and Aklan.
“Yung mayor ng Aklan umorder. Malaking parol daw ang ilalagay sa harapan ng munisipyo niya. Sa susunod na taon daw, July pa lang magpapagawa na siya kasi nakita niya ang daming umoorder sa amin. Kaya mauuna na daw siya,” he said.
When asked how much his parols cost, Arnel said it ranges from P3,600 to P80,000. He added that the giant parol in the competition costs almost a million pesos.
“'Yung maliit namin, nasa P3,600. 'Yung sumunod nasa P4,500. 'Yung malalaki naman nasa P80,000. 'Yung mga panlaban umaabot sa kulang sa isang milyon,” he shared.
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