The star lantern (we call it parol) is the most popular Philippine christmas symbol. Wehreas belen isfound only in churches and affluent homes, the star is everywhere. All that is needed to make a star lantern are ten long and five short pieces of bamboo, string, starch and rile paper. Rare is the ruralist who cannot make a star lantern; no hone is without one during Christmastide.
The star lantern is a Filipino innovation of the Mexican pinata, which originally came from Renaissance Italy where, during festive occasions,pineapple-shaped pots where filled with sweets and suspended from the ceiling and broken to enliven the celebration. The custom spread from the Apermine to the Iberian peninsula across the Pacific to the Philippines. In the process, the Filipinos also influenced the Mexican fiesta for not only the lanterns but all the ornaments of Chinese paper, the fireworks, the cockfights and some of the luscious fruits in Mexican celebrations originally from the Manila Galleon.
The five-point lantern represents the star of Bethlehem. Filipinos probably could not have picked on a better symbol. In life, stars produce the elements that make life possible; in death, the seeds of new stars and planets are sown across the heavens.
Of all Philippine christmas symbols, it is only the humble star lantern that evolved into spectacular heights. Each lantern represents the synergistic endeavor of a barrio; from a design, the men prepare the wooden frame; women assess the cost of materials; children work on the paper patterns; and professionals are hired to work on the complicated generator-powered lighting complex that will produce the kaleidoscope effect.
Sometimes greetings take the form of a question like Papsok ka na ba? 'Are you going to school?' even when it is obvious that one is on his/her way to school.
Po' is a participle which is roughly equivalent
to 'sir' or 'ma'am' in English, used to show respect. It is used
when talking to older people, to on'es superiors or to strangers. It is
often present in the speech of older people talking to each other and absent
in interchanges between young equals. Ho' is a less formal cariant
Hindi maganda ang payat: Being thin is not considered
desireable because it means that life is not treating you well.
Unmarried men or women who continue to stay thin in spite of efforts to gain weight are jokingly admonished to get married.
Filipino usually have their clothes custom-made by very
adept seamstresses and tailors in the Philippines, instead of buying their
clothes 'off the rack.' There are shops in the Philippines that sell ready-made
clothes called benta, but these have been mostly children's clothes.