Far from the maddening crowd and familiar sights obtained in malls, stores and supermarkets brought about by the prospect of a jolly season, inmates in some provincial jails, Albay province included, feel and experience the same rush of adrenaline.
On or about Christmas day, kins and family will once again come and visit them and share an early, daytime “noche buena” though simple and austere.
In previous weeks, they had been busy and stressed-out doing “assembly” of the always popular, but traditional Bicol parol (Christmas lanterns) made of bamboo and adorned/wrapped with Japanese paper in various colors, shades, cut and design. The end product are hundreds of cute, small and big, five-pronged-star of a Christmas decor.
No, they are not comparable to those being manufactured in Bulacan or elsewhere, sometimes with ornate and flashy capiz shells, but the inmates handiwork are also the product of labor and love. The parols are sold to the public.
Aside from having kept them busy, the program helps augment income for inmates, too. It should be part of making them more productive and (for some) a calculated part of the preparation for the eventual coming out and joining the free society they used to belong in the near future.