CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Master lantern maker Roland Quiambao said more tourism, aside from innovation, is needed to meet the challenges of the local economy and transform the local San Fernando lantern as more than just a Christmas decoration.
The lantern maker said his own shop in Barangay Del Pilar has become a tourism destination after he had welcomed prospects for trainings and seminars, as well tours of how lanterns are made.
He said turning the lantern industry into a tourism magnet and innovating seasonal light designs would make the industry more lucrative on and off season.
Quiambao said the Metro Manila market alone could not be saturated by all lantern makers and companies in Pampanga combined.
"There is a very big market, not just during the Christmas season but all throughout the year. There is only the need to expand the lantern lines and transform them to other decorative art for events like Valentine's and even Halloween," he added.
Quiambao said the lantern industry is also in need of innovators in upgrading the quality of the lanterns to meet international standards.
This, he said, would enable the San Fernando lantern to go into international productions which are within the strict safety standards of big countries abroad.
"It is also the dream of the lantern community that we be given a showcase center for our lantern products all year-round," Quiambao said, adding the lantern industry should be included in the tourism promotion of the province all throughout the year and not just during Christmas.
The lantern maker is also advocating and urging lantern makers to teach the craft to other sectors in the community, adding that the younger generation of designers and students can contribute to more diversification of the lantern industry.
He said it is high time that people should also look at the lantern industry not only as a seasonal industry, but also as an one that can meet lighting needs for all occasions.
Quiambao furthered that there are a few lantern makers now that have been venturing in supplying lantern and lighting fixtures for hotels, resorts and restaurants as well as decorative crafts and giveaways for all occasions.