“What is Santacruzan Mommy?” an eight year old child asked her mom after I handed to her the tiara, my gift to her. I heard the same question at least 5 times when young Sagalas came to my house to pick up their crown and to fit their gown.
It’s a great honour to be given the role of Hermana Mayor (with my husband Rene Castro as the Hermano Mayor) of Manitoba Santacruzan this year. It is a big cultural event that is organized annually by Quezon Province Association of Manitoba (QPAM). Quezon Province is also known for the colorful Pahiyas festival during the month of May. This May 26, we will showcase both popular events into one celebration. We will also introduce Niyogyugan, Quezon Province’s coconut festival which is a known tourist attraction.
Back home In the Philippines where Santacruzan happens at a time when kids are on vacation from school, and where it is the most awaited occasion of the season when flowers start to bloom, farmers start to celebrate the first rain of the season, and the heat starts to mellow, the Hermana Mayor and Hermano Mayor play a critical role of putting together the list of Sagalas and Konsortes and leading the preparations of the event. Good thing that it is now the age now of social media, I did not have to go house to house to gather their names and ages, specially that it had to be done as early as March and the city was still in deep snow . But then I also realized that it was an important part missing – the busyness of the Hermana over pre-event meetings and gatherings to check on the individual needs of the Sagalas and Konsortes, and pampering them so that being a Santacruzan cast becomes a memorable part of their life.
As the Hermana Mayor, I feel that I owe the participants a pleasant cultural experience to treasure for life. I decided to hold a get together event for a photoshoot and good food. I leveraged on the power of bayanihan, with the help of QPAM (headed by the president Maggie Chan-Urbano) and 204 Neighbourhood Watch folks, we successfully replicated a traditional Pahiyas decoration. Nine photographers volunteered for the shoot on April 29. Jhayzon Paredes of 204 Live Music edited and released a Save the Date video. Amazing community teamwork resulted in beautiful photos that captured genuine joy of community members coming together for a celebration. QPAM will be releasing a Coffee Table Album (a hardback photobook that is of same quality and finish as a wedding or debut album) of the moments of the cultural event, an initiative where proceeds will go to the organization’s scholarship fund for underprivileged Quezon Province based youths. Inspired by the synergy of a community exemplifying genuine volunteerism, kind hearted donors immediately gave us generous donations to make the Coffee Table Album a reality. Our huge THANK YOU to Bakerite, Realtor Nino Chan, Rodel Olesco of Birchwood, AIM World & Climacosa Services, and Reignzhel Auto Sales & Repair. God bless you more!
Join Manitoba Santacruzan by QPAM fb group to see our pictures. I have placed here a few here.