By Leila Castro
Quezon Provincial Association of Manitoba (QPAM) once again brought to Manitoba the Filipino traditions Santacruzan and Pahiyas festival. Maples Collegiate was packed last Saturday as people came to witness the Santacruzan procession of sagala’s in beautiful costume and their konsorte’s (escorts). From the Spanish influence, this tradition is in honour of the finding of the True Cross by the Reyna Elena (Helena of Constantinople) and the Konstantino (Constantine the Great). After the procession, Father Rodrigo Lazarte officiated the Holy Mass, then it was followed by a festive lunch. This year’s Hermana Mayor is Mrs. Gigi Shand, Hermano Mayor is Mr. Gil Lakandula, Hermanita Mayor is Jaclyn Renee Aseron Castro, Hermanito Mayor is JC Novallasca, Reyna Elena is Hannah Chan Urbano and Escort is Jimmy Shand. One week before the event, QPAM held a contest at 204 Filipino Marketplace where participants posted their past Santacruzan photos.
Also celebrated was the Pahiyas (hiyas means jewel and pahiyas means precious offering) reminiscent of the famous colorful festival in the farm towns of Lucban and Sariaya, in honour of St. Isodore the patron saint of farmers. The venue was decorated with colorful arangya or big chandeliers. Farm produce were on hanging display at the center of the hall representing the harvests being offered for thanksgiving. Towards the end of the program, they were given away through the ceremonial paagaw where people joyously rushed to grab their share of the goods and produce that are believed to be blessed.
QPAM, led by its president Maggie “Maan” Chan-Urbano, is thanking all the volunteers, procession participants, and the following sponsors who supported the event: Mr. and Mrs. Linda Tseng, Vickar Chevrolet Community – Steven Lipischak, Filipino Journal by Ron Cantiveros, Mr. Nony Puache & Mrs. Wy Puache of Unisan Quezon, Mr. & Mrs Gigi Shand (For Lechon), Centum Benefit Mortgages Inc. by Raj Kaushal, McDonalds Restaurant, Aristocrat Restaurant by Juanito Cal Calunia, Just_In Couture by Justin Merluza, Workplace Janitorial Services, AMF Driving School by Alvin Fortunato, Larika Insurance and Financial Services by Larika Untalan-Merluza, Silvestre Urbano Jr. , UMAC Winnipeg, Mekong Star Rice Store (MT Agri Co.), Print Point Printing and Signs, Buhler Versatile Inc., Vickar Ford , Nelson Nonie Manalili, CKJS – GMP, Afternoon Pasada and PSN, JLopez Photography by John Lopez, Jomari Jomari Digital Photography, John Rudolph Salvania Aguilar, KimViet Travel – Le Kim, Youngs Market and Disciples of Christ Choir.