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Mang Nonoy outside his home beside parols in the making

The Parol Maker

The ceiling is hung with the skeletons of what will soon be brightly colored parols. Poles of matinik na kawayan or tunay na kawayan rest against the walls. Pakong maliliit (the same nails used to make bakyas), tansan, glue, newspaper, brightly colored plastic or paper, doily cut-outs and shiny colored garlands are strewn all over. You have stepped into a parol makers house and such is Mang Nonoy's house.

A carpenter by profession, Mang Nonoy has been making parols for almost thirty years. By October, he drops all carpentry work to concentrate on parol making. Even as early as May, when it is too hot to think of Christmas, Mang Nonoy has already begun to make parols. He starts with the small, simple five star variety and by the start of the 'ber months has begun work on the larger more complicated parols. His favorite designs are the tala or shooting star and the walohan or the double star. The tala parol has only four points with one being longer than the others, while the walohan is the four pointed star back to back with all eight points equal and visible. Mang Nonoy is presently working on a new design that is more complicated than the rest.

Parol skeletons hung outside, his wife and child pose beside the bamboo Mang Nonoy needs to make the parol skeletons

Mang Nonoy's skill as a parol maker has not gone unnoticed. He has won two contests for two barangays and is often commissioned to design and fashion special parols. For a hospital, he made a five-foot parol that opened to show the inside of the human body.

Of his six children, his two sons, Marvin and Michael have learned the craft from him, just as he learned from his future father-in-law, with whom he apprenticed. He boasts that he was able to build his house through his parol earnings. His is a happy profession and all it takes, Mang Nonoy says is, "konting tiyaga at pagod". END