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Sep 29th
Home Sections History How Some Filipino-American Grinches (sic) Stole the Christmas Parol Lantern Festival and Parade
How Some Filipino-American Grinches (sic) Stole the Christmas Parol Lantern Festival and Parade PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Bobby M. Reyes   
Thursday, 01 December 2016 17:16

The "Parol" (or "Christmas Lantern") Is a Unique Filipino Yuletide Ornament

By Bobby M. Reyes

R emember the Grinch character? Well, there is a group of Filipino-American Grinches in Los Angeles, California, that stole the idea of holding a "Christmas Parol Parade" from David Rockello, an Italian American who is married to a Filipina and who created it.

Per reference sites, the Grinch is a fictional character created by Dr. Seuss. He first appeared as the main character of the 1957 Advent story "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!"

The idea of holding a "Parol Festival" came originally from Mr; Rockello in one of the monthly meetings of then budding "Historic Filipinotown Neighborhood Council" (HFTNC) in 2005. He was named the "Parol Festival Director." He started also teaching Filipino-American youth how to make the parol at the Community Room of the Manila Terrace, a senior-citizen affordable-housing center in Temple Street.

This writer then was one of the organizers of the HFTNC. But after the City of Los Angeles' Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) rejected its application to be recognized and funded by the city as a Neighborhood Council in 2006, I proposed to my fellow HFTNC ad-hoc directors to change its name to "Historic Filipinotown Development Foundation" and have it registered with the State of California as a not-for profit corporation. But the majority of the Board of Ad-hoc Directors disregarded my idea. Manicito "Fender" Santos, then a vice president of the Filipino-American Community of Los Angeles (FACLA), supported my idea. But we were outvoted. We reasoned out that the HFTNC would be a laughing stock, as members of the two existing neighborhood councils (recognized and funded by the DONE) would certainly call it a "bogus neighborhood council." Or in colloquial Filipino dialect, a "colorum NC." Mr. Santos and I resigned from the bogus HFTNC, as we did not want to have any part of it and participate in the presentation of it as a "NC" when it was not officially sanctioned by the DONE.

Here is a write-up of the event in 2009, where Mr. Rockello acted again for the fifth straight year as the "Parol Festival" director:

Apparently, Mr. Rockello wanted the two existing NCs, the Elysian-Echo Park Neighborhood Council and the Rampart Neighborhood Council, both recognized and funded by the DONE, to take over the "Parol Festival" so as to make it officially a city-sanctioned event.The HFTNC, Inc. removed Mr. Rockello from his position and terminated his membership in the now-incorporated "neighborhood council" (sic) for no valid reason. Both the Elysian-Echo Park and Rampart NCs occupied parts of the Historic Filipinotown.

After his stint with the Filipino-American (bogus) NC, Mr. Rockello was elected the president of the Rampart Neighborhood Council. But then the officers and members of the HFTNC, Inc., worked hard to defeat him in his reelection bid. Perhaps their motivation was to prevent Mr. Rockello from getting back the "Parol Festival" and making it an. official event of the Rampart NC

And several founders of the HFTNC, Inc. started claiming that the "Parol Festival" was their idea. I confronted the HFTNC, Inc. founders in a press conference at the Philippine Consulate General sometime in November 2010. The press conference was called to publicize the 2010 "Parol Festival." I asked them to provide proof to then-Consul General Mary Jo Bernardo Aragon that their entity was a "neighborhood council" duly approved, recognized and funded by the City of Los Angeles' DONE. I also asked them why they now claim as the originators also of the "Parol Festival" when in fact it was the brain child of David Rockello. The HFTNC, Inc. people simply said that their entity was a registered not-for-profit corporation in California. But they did not address the issue as to whose idea it was to start the "Parol Festival" in the Historic Filipinotown District.

Yes, Virginia, it is now Advent Season again. And once more, I am trying to set the record straight in what is now known as the "Historic Filipinotown," which the historian Hector Santos (now deceased) told the members of the Philippine History Club of Los Angeles (PHGLA) that it was "neither historic nor Filipino." Mr. Santos cofounded the PHGLA with Victor Nebrida. # # #

Last Updated on Thursday, 01 December 2016 18:19

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