Archive for May, 2010

What celebration is synonymous to the month of May?

When I was younger, I always look forward to the month of May.  Aside from the many fiestas to celebrate in our town,we have the Santacruzan where I get to see a lot of pretty ladies wearing beautiful gowns and totally made-up while parading on the street (streets that weren’t cemented yet and full of carabao’s manure!!! LOL)  and being escorted by handsome men.  I had a share of that as a kid where I would always be the first in the line with make-up and a gown too.  I was all alone though as kids don’t get to have their escort. LOL.

When I grew older, I didn’t get to walk the streets “beautifully” as a “reina”.  Why?  Maybe, I was not pretty enough for the people to feast their eyes on me. Hahah! Just kidding.  The truth is, I prefered to be out of the limelight.  Duh!  Kidding aside,  I have my younger sisters to “prettify” and dress-up.  Yes, they were the ones that I volunteered to join as people were asking us to join the event.  So having myself out of the picture,  I was the one who chose my sisters’ gowns, did their make-up and even customized headdresses made of flowers for them. That’s what during my teenage years.

I wish I could share the pictures here but my sisters might “kill” me for I made fun of their faces that they looked like clowns and styling was really really bad!  Just thinking of that time, I can’t help but laugh.  LOLOL.

But what is Santacruzan or Flores de Mayo?   Wikipedia says Flores de Mayo is a Catholic festival held in the Philippines in the month of May. It lasts for a month, and is held in honor of the Virgin Mary. The Santa Cruzan is a parade held on the last day of Flores de Mayo in honor of Reyna Elena.  Today is the last day of the month and I regret not seeing a single parade.  It seem like as the years go by, fewer people participate on this event.  It has also evolved as some parades no longer happens on the streets but  are now inside of an airconditioned shopping mall.  Check out the pictures below which were already on exhibit when I passed by SM  Clark ast week.

The following information is from Wikipedia and  is interesting read, so check it out. 

The Sagala

A Sagala is a religious-historical beauty pageant held in many cities, towns and even in small communities throughout the Philippines during the month of May. One of the most colorful May-time festivals in the Philippines which depicts the finding of the Holy Cross by Queen Helena, mother of Constantine the Great. Many movie and television personalities participate in the events and are featured as major sagalas and escorts[3]. This festival was introduced by the Spaniards in the Philippines and has since become part of Filipino traditions identified with youth, love and romance.

The procession commemorates the search of the Holy Cross by Queen Helena (Reyna Elena) and her son, the newly converted emperor Constantine. After the Holy Cross was found in Jerusalem and brought back to Rome, there was a joyful celebration for thanksgiving.

A novena in honor of the Holy Cross precedes the Flores de Mayo or Santacruzan.

[edit] Order of the procession

The participants of this colourful pageant parade is arranged in the following order:

1. Methuselah– he is bearded, bent with age, riding a cart looking preoccupied with toasting some grains of sand in a pan over a fire. This is a reminder that everything in this world is passing and will end up as dust like that which he is toasting.

2. Reyna Banderada – a young lady dressed in a long red gown carrying a yellow triangular flag. She represents the arrival of Christianity.

3. Aetas – represents the animist Filipinos prior to the islands’ conversion to Christianity by the Spanish.

4. Reyna Mora (Queen Moor) – represents the Filipinos who converted to Islam, which arrived in the Philippines two centuries before Christianity.

5. Reyna Fe (Queen Faith) – symbolises the virtue of faith, the first of the theological virtues. She carries a cross.

6. Reyna Esperanza (Queen Hope) – symbolises the virtue of hope, the second theological virtue. She carries an anchor.

7. Reyna Caridad (Queen Charity)- symbolises the virtue of charity, the third theological virtue. She carries a red-coloured heart.

8. Reyna Abogada (Queen Lawyer) – the defender of the poor and the oppressed, she wears a black graduation cap and gown (toga) and carries a large book. She may also be a representation of Mary, Help (Advocate) of Christians.

9. Reyna Sentenciada (Queen Convicted) – has her hands bound by a rope, she stands for the early Christians, especially the virgins, who were cruelly martyred. She is accompanied by two Roman soldiers.

10. Reyna Justicia (Queen Justice) – a personification of Mary as the “Mirror of Justice”, one of her titles in the Litany of Loreto. She carries a weighing scale and a sword.

11. Reyna Judith (Queen Judith) – represents the biblical widow Judith of Bethulia who saved her city from the Assyrians by slaying the cruel Holofernes. She carries the head of her victim in one hand and a sword in the other. She is also known as Infanta Judith.

12. Reyna ng Sheba (Queen of Sheba) – represents the Queen of Sheba, who visited King Solomon and was overwhelmed by his wisdom, power and riches. She carries a jewelry box.

13. Reyna Esther – the Jewish queen of Persia who spared her people from death at the hands of Haman through her timely intervention with King Xerxes. She carries a scepter.

14. Samaritana (The Female Samaritan) – the woman whom Christ spoke to at the well. She carries a jug on her shoulder.

15. Veronica – the woman who wiped the face of Jesus; bears a veil imprinted with three faces of Jesus.

16. Tres Marias(The Three Marys)- each Mary holds an attribute associated with her:

a. Mary of Magdala – a bottle of perfume;

b. The Virgin Mary – a handkerchief;

c. Mary, the mother of James – a bottle of oil.

17. Marian – each figure in this group alludes to a title of the Virgin Mary or is associated with her.

a. “A-V-E–M-A-R-I-A” – eight “angels”: girls all wearing long white dresses and wings- each holding a letter from the word “AVE MARIA.”

b. Divina Pastora (Divine Shepherdess) – a shepherd’s staff.

c. Reyna de las Estrellas (Queen of the Stars) – a wand with a star.

d. Rosa Mystica(Mystical Rose)- a bouquet of roses.

e. Reyna dela Paz (Queen of Peace) – a dove.

f. Reyna de las Profetas (Queen of the Prophets)- an hourglass.

g. Reyna del Cielo (Queen of Heaven)- a flower; accompanied by two little “angels”.

h. Reyna de las Virgines (Queen of the Virgins) – a rosary (or a lily); also escorted by two little “angels”.

i. Reyna de las Flores (Queen of the Flowers) – a bouquet of flowers.

18. Reyna Elena (Queen Helena) – the last member of the procession, she represents Saint Helena, Empress and legendary founder of the True Cross; this is signified by the small cross she carries in her arms. This considerably prestigious role is usually awarded to the most beautiful girl in the procession. In some communities observing the Santacruzan, the identity of the woman who will become Reyna Elena is kept a secret until the day of the procession.

a. Constantine – the escort of Reyna Elena, is a young boy representing the Emperor Constantine.
The procession is then followed by the steady beat of the rondalla, playing and singing the Hail Mary in Spanish (“Dios Te Salve”). The devotees walking with the procession hold lighted candles in their hands and sing the prayer as they go along.

After the procession, there is a pabitin that serves as a culminating activity for all the children to enjoy. A Pabitin is a square trellis where goodies (candies, fruits, small trinkets, etc.) are hung by strings. This trellis is, in turn, tied to a rope and is suspended on a strong branch or pole. The children then gather under the trellis and they jump as high as they can to try to pick the goodies as the trellis is slowly lowered to them while someone jerks it up and down repeatedly until all the goodies are gone.

It is customary for males attending the Santacruzan wear the traditional Barong Tagalog and that the females wear any Filipiniana-inspired dress. (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flores_de_Mayo)

Is blogging getting into my system now?

It has been more than a month now since I started blogging at WordPress. I still can’t believe that this is my 23rd post in May and 27th post since April 20, the date I created a WordPress account.  What I can’t believe more is those number of posts are almost twice the quantity of posts I had since I started blogging from another site in December 2008!  Improving, huh? LOL.

I guess blogging is now becoming a part of my daily routine as eating is. Haha! Just kidding.  I still prefer eating over blogging but I can blog while eating. :p

With that said, I hope readers of my blog who are mainly my family and friends are enjoying my posts as much as I enjoy writing and sharing them.  I am looking for more posts and I hope you are too.  Thanks for the time you’re wasting. Hahah!

What kept me busy the past two days?

I miss my blog! I haven’t accessed it for two days as I was busy.  This week, I was trying to have a post daily and have been successful until Wednesday.  Unfortunately, my shift at work last Thursday ended at 11 PM and slept early so I missed one. 

Same goes with Friday.  I was up the whole day and night of Friday and early day of Saturday. It was a “cramming” & busy day as I was finishing 15 giveaway cakes for the godparents of my friend, Honeylette’s daughter Samantha Sage.  I was asked to be a godparent and in turn gave a Christening cake for Sage as my gift. 

Here are the pics of the day/days that kept me busy.  I had fun doing all of them.  Do you see the square fondant cake in the middle?  That’ for me. 😀

The giveaway cake for the godparents.  The flavor was Food for the Gods which made the cakes heavy as it was loaded with dates walnuts.  Size was 4 in x 3.5 in.  Sage’s parents’ wedding motif was pink and yellow – the favorite colors of the her mom. Thus, this was requested to be added on the cake for the design. 

Another color variation intended for the “ninongs”.

Up close .  There are still a lot of flaws.  Oh! By the way, this is my first attempt of doing a fondant cake! I studied cake decorating about 10 years ago but I seldom apply fondant to my caks.  So you see now, I still need a lot of practice. Cake is Chocolate Pound cake and is disappointing. I tried a new recipe I found online and even with so many reviews, it didn’t taste as what I expected.   It is good for a fondant cake but the taste I don’t prefer. 

The booties – I enjoyed doing and decorating them. 😀

Lastly, the supposedly baby blocks, check this https://dimmpss.wordpress.com/2010/05/25/styro-blocks/ that I should be using as part of the cake table were forgotten.  A sign of getting older.  😦

GA @ work

Gone were those days when we were still under “AOL internal contact center” and we all look forward to our GAs.  This morning we had our GA, after being bought by eTelecare on September 19, 2007 and followed by Stream Global for more than a year now, a lot of things have changed and that include activities around our site and the reception or feelings of the employees celebrating the activities.

Our HR department still tries to make our activities worthy of  even if the site’s atmosphere is getting gloomy everyday. This day is no exemption. 

Filipinos love eating and are fond of taking pictures of themselves.  So to add fun to the GA, Stream invited Milo and Zagu to give free drinks and Dunkin Donuts to give snacks.  A photo booth was  also available for those who wants to have unlimited shots. 

Based on my observation though, the “add-ons” on the GA didn’t motivate the employees and left the atmosphere still sad…

Here are a few pictures to share…

Me with my fellow coaches, team leaders now team managers (what’s next after two new titles?), Rochelle and Joni.

Okay, this what we got! 😀

One of the interesting booths we had.  Aetas selling their fresh produce. I heard they were able to sell most of them.

Styro Blocks

What will I make of them? Stay tuned! 🙂

This post is for Jinks…TY! =)

Today, I met up with my high school friends, Merve and Roch at SM Clark.  This mall is the most accessible place as most work in Pampanga are inside Clark and that includes mine and Merve’s.

The last time I saw my high school friends was last December after Christmas.  It was Jinks, Merve and I who had lunch together at SM Clark.  Roch was not able to make it as she was nearing her delivery date (she was pregnant at that time).  It seems our friendly dates revolve around SM Clark. LOL. 

Me, Merve and Jinks taken last December at Gerry’s Grill.  To Merve – I indeed gained weight comparing this picture now from the one we had today.  😦

Before we separated ways last December, we talked about meeting in May in Manila to visit Jinks who will be on a short vacation from the US.  This did not happen as we lost track of the date and Jinks didn’t inform us that she was already here. I only received a text message from Merve last week telling me we should see each other since Jinks brought us some make-up for her “pasalubong”. She just left them at Merve’s house and Merve didn’t even see her. To this date, we have no idea if Jinks is still in the Philippines.  LOL. What kind of friends are we, huh? Hahah! 

It’s funny that our group which we named, No Guts, No Glory last High School only chance to see each other at least once in a year during December for exchange giving which is oftentimes requested or planned by Jinks or at times when we get packages from our other friend, Sherrylynne who’s currently residing the US.

Today, we had another reason to meet and this is for the make-up to pick-up.  LOL. Thanks, Jinks for the pasalubong. You know what though, your presence is better than the make-up you gave us.  Feeling lang. Hehe!  Actually, I can’t wait to try them tomorrow before I go to work. 😉

The best friends in the group – Merve and Roch.  It was nice to see Roch after more than two years of not meeting with us.  We know the reason now and I am glad all is well in her life.  😀

Me, Merve and Roch taken a while ago at Pancake House in SM Clark.

Jinks & Sherry, I hope you can go back to the Philippines soon to complete and the NGNG group and hang out together.  I am sure we have so many things to share about.  We’re missing both of you.

Monica/Cheska is turning 7!

How time really flies fast!  I got this tag on my Facebook account and my first and only niece, Monica Francesca  is celebrating her 7th birthday soon! It seems like it was only a few years ago  where I was on a few days of vacation in Isabela and I was cuddling this baby that would not stop crying in the middle of the night while her mom started crying as well.  Talking about postpartum depression, huh?

I don’t know how and where it all started but here in the Philippines (Filipinos love celebrating), a kid’s 7th birthday is a big deal.  It’s like a 1st birthday party or a debutante party for girls.  Parents start to prepare months before the celebration.  My sister is no exception to this.  A week would not pass by asking me for suggestions or ideas on her daughter’s upcoming birthday and this was like 6 or 8 months ago. LOL.  Even the theme of her party has changed from a princess to  Hawaiian to masquerade and finally to a winter wonderland theme in June!  We’re keeping our fingers crossed that it will not rain on that day.

On top of my regular nine-hour shift full-time job, this party will keep me busy the coming days as I will be making the decorations on her birthday cake as well as for a christening cake for a party I will be attending this Saturday where I will be a godmother for the nth time.  I love to be such especially if it’s a child of a close friend.  I hope I’ll find time to blog still despite of little time. 😀