More than 600 parols (Christmas lanterns) will keep hope shining here amid the pandemic as the local government and the private sector joined hands to brighten up the city to usher in the Yuletide season.
Iloilo beauty, reigning Miss Universe Philippines Rabiya Mateo, turned on the switch for the simultaneous lighting of the parols that lined the city’s major streets, as part of her homecoming activities on November 13.
Lawyer Jobert Peñaflorida, president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) Iloilo chapter, told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Tuesday that they were able to mount the “Ilonggo Christmas Parol of Hope 2.0” with “the kind support of the city government.”
More than 50 member-establishments of the PCCI provided funds for the initiative.
The six-foot-high parols were recycled from whatever was left of last year’s more than 1,700 lanterns.
They adorn the entire stretch of the Diversion Road, General Luna, and Calle Real.
“Our intention is that, in the midst of the pandemic, we would like to promote Yuletide spirit among all Ilonggos. At this time of the pandemic, probably it is enough that we promote (the) Christmas spirit. We need not fill the whole city,” Peñaflorida said.
He said they did not make new parols. “We simply recycled the old parols so that our second objective will be achieved, which is we want to provide livelihood to male PDLs (persons deprived of liberty) at Ungka,” Peñaflorida added.
Throughout October, the PDLs of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology in Ungka worked on the parols.
The city government started hanging the Christmas lanterns early this month.
While last year’s parols were colorful, this time their colors reflect those of the Philippine flag.
“This shows unity with our national government, in being together in combating, fighting against the Covid-19,” he said.
“The third objective of the project is to be able to raise funds to provide Christmas gifts, no matter how modest, to several front-liners because they are our modern-day heroes.”
They are now in close coordination with the office of Councilor Alan Zaldivar, chair of the health committee of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (city council), to identify the recipients.
Initially, they identified several barangay health workers who volunteered to help in the city government’s efforts to address the pandemic, Peñaflorida said.
Meanwhile, apart from the parols, the city’s six plazas also shine bright at night.
City tourism officer Junel Ann Divinagracia said they simply show that even with the pandemic, there is always hope for a brighter future for Iloilo City because stakeholders are very cooperative with the local government.
“The reason why amid this pandemic, our place is fully lit up (is) we need to be positive and make sure that we overcome all of this,” Divinagracia said.
Fully illuminated are the plazas of Arevalo, which was sponsored by the Abanilla family; in Mandurriao, by Gurrea Construction; in Molo, by the Layson family; in Jaro, by the Bischocho House; in Lapaz, by the Global Business Power; and Plaza Libertad, by the Iloilo Chinese Chamber of Commerce.
The decorations will stay until the New Year, Divinagracia said.
Another attraction this Yuletide season is the 20-foot Christmas tree inside the Festive Walk Mall of the Iloilo Business Park in this city’s Mandurriao district.
Mateo led the Christmas tree lighting ceremony on November 14.
“We are so proud that (the) Iloilo Business Park is Rabiya’s official host for her grand homecoming this weekend. She (is) a perfect model, not just to Ilonggos but to all Filipinos, in terms of how a phenomenal woman like her inspires young people to continue to dream bigger,” Jennifer Palmares-Fong, vice president for sales and marketing of the Iloilo Business Park, said in a press statement. (PNA)