Chasing The Ghost Of A Good Thing

It is early morning and I can hear loud cheers from outside in the streets, people are dancing for sure, carrying leaves and flowers to the tune of novelty and pop songs.

You have all known that I am living in the province, in a very rural town that my chemistry teacher friend jokingly calls ‘barriotic‘, because this place is your typical agriculture-fishing town.

However, there are some things that I won’t change from this place, no matter how much time passes by. I have always been yakking about the fact that Hollywood has practically depicted the culture of much of Southeast Asia except for the Philippines, and it bugs me so much, but of course I know the reason – the cultural heritage of Filipinos are kind of vague to the world, unlike that of India, China, or Japan where once you see a single icon, you know for sure that it came from their country, unlike in RP, where colonizer after colonizer, vandalized a culture that is uniquely Filipino. And that is where my barriotic place comes in – we protect traditional Filipino practices that somehow shapes our view of our culture.

Last night, FairyGodMommy Fe hosted Santa Cruzan here. Santa Cruzan is a tradition here, every summer, a part of the Flores de Mayo festival. It actually celebrates the finding of the cross by Sta. Elena, so Santa Cruzan is catholic in nature.

The cross is the focus of the Santa Cruzan tradition

The cross is the focus of the Santa Cruzan tradition

You might’ve seen it on TV, when stars usually join big ones in the metropolis. However, what we have here in our  place is quite different.

The attention of the people is usually on the Reyna Elena

The attention of the people is usually on the Reyna Elena

Fairy Princess Time for kids

Fairy Princess Time for kids

Looks like this girl found out it's hard to be a princess

Looks like this girl found out it's hard to be a princess

Sure you have your lovely girls wearing their princess gowns and crowns but there is also the presence of young girls, performing some kind of abaniko [fan] dance, and they are singing – not just any song, but telling the story of how Sta.Elena found the cross and other religious musings, accompanied by a brass band.

Santa Cruzan is very popular here in our place. Every night, each baranggay [community] conducts their own, and whichever family accepts the cross of Santa Cruzan feeds the community – it is kind of costly really, but as FairyGodMommy Fe puts it, ‘the sense of tradition that comes with it, we must not let die, even if it costs quite much’.

Lots of people come out to watch and join this special parade. People usually come to the streets to see it even late at night.

After some weeks of doing it every night, there is a culmination that is called piging [feast] which is conducted in the morning and at night, and what I described above, with the people dancing and cheering with leaves, that is piging. It is a much bigger event and with more people.

There are many times I have wished I did not live from where I am, because it is very far from the city and other random hassles, but it is things like Santa Cruzan – and all the sense of culture and tradition that come with it – that makes me glad that I am from this place.

24 thoughts on “Chasing The Ghost Of A Good Thing

  1. i love that you keep your culture and honor it.
    one thing i worry about is one day the world gets homogenized by television and the internet- and everything becomes the same. i worry that you can go to manila or paris or rio de janero and find the same starbucks coffee at the expense of authentic, unique culture.
    the wonder of the internet, though, is everyone has a voice. you can share your stories with the rest of the world.
    I hope instead of becoming the same, we open ourselves to each other and celebrate our uniquenesses. a harmonious world doesn’t have mean everyone is the same.
    i’d love one day to visit and see your country. from the photographs, it is very beautiful.
    thanks for sharing!

    • very well said. i find that as the world continues to be cosmopolitan, the need to protect one’s cultural heritage becomes more and more important. my fear is that a time will come that our culture will only be seen in the books because sadly, Filipinos love USA so much it hurts RP.

      it would be nice if you could visit. RP is a beautiful country despite our image to the world – there is a lot of amazing things here.

  2. The Santacruzan is one of the summer spectacles that I truly miss. There’s no shame at all in being “barriotic”. I am very glad that your town has continued to uphold such a wonderful tradition.

    How have you been? My apologies that I haven’t visited for a while. Work has done a very good job of interfering with my bloghopping. Hehehe Take care. 🙂

    • there are so many things that i love about this place – because it is ‘barriotic’. life is simpler here, unlike in the city, which stresses me out so much!

      i am fine bakerman. glad the rain in manhattan nor the flood of paperwork you had did not kill you. welcome back!

  3. there used to be Santa Cruzan in my provice, and moms and lolas always want their little girls to join. Though I found it annoying then, I think I miss it now. It’s been years since I’ve watched the original Santa Cruzan.

    by the way, thanks for dropping by my blog. Would you like to exchange links? 🙂 I’ll add you in my blogs. 🙂

    • it can be annoying especially when you are the one wearing that princess gown because it is kind of heavy and doing all that walking can really suck. but it is part of our traditions that help us know who we are as a race, and by knowing who we are as a race we eventually know who we are as our own person.

      sure, np. i’ll add you up and thanks.

  4. you know what’s beginning to bug me about these santacruzans? they are becoming more of a fashion show than a tribute to Mama Mary. it becomes merely an event where women and girls get to wear gowns and parade around. saddening!

    anyway, PM, if you want to join the creative swap, just tell me and I’ll direct you to the “leader”. 🙂

    • that is what is special from what we do here. it is definitely very religion-motivated.

      oo naman sali ako that looks like fun!

  5. Hi! Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment at my blog. Maybe we can exchange links? 🙂

    I’ve never seen a santa cruzan. Now I feel like i’m missing out, esp in the filipino culture. will i ever see one, i’ll never know..

    • LOL that was the same thing you said a few posts ago. sure np i’ll add you up.
      come here and i’ll show you the santa cruzan LOL it is usually summertime and it can be really fun.

  6. I remember this right. I suggested to my Mom that I’d wear this costume in white toga and align myself with other “white” extras (you know para pang dagdag lang at humaba ang parada bago makita ang Reyna Elena). Along with me were my friends wearing a Nurse uniform and the other a Doctor. All three of us were as if the “ghosts” of Sta Cruz-san. I was 6 yrs old. Few years later, naging escort na ako ng Reyna Elena. Imagine that? Ang baduy na nakakatuwa.

    • LOL that was an interesting story. hindi naman extra yung ibang nakaprincess gowns ganun talaga diba ang corny naman kung isa lang ang nakagown eh di siya lang ang maganda LOL

    • lots of places has lost this. bute na lang dito samin hindi pa din. sa city namin dito wala na rin eh.

  7. Hmmm… Is that Pia?! Pia?! Pia?! Hehehe… Un lang din po ang aking comment sa Santa Cruzan. Hindi kasi ako nanunuod pagwala akong kakilala na mostly eh wala nga po. Though it looks like the Santa Cruzan in you’re place is fun. ^_^

    • LOL tingin mo? it is fun because it is very traditonal and the people really see to it na napapanuod nila.

    • LOL ganun ba dapat sinabi mo sa nanay mo kayo na lang yung tumanggap ng krus para ikaw ang reyna elena!

  8. alam mo, hiniling ko din na sana wala ako sa lugar na pinaglakihan ko… gusto ko yung… barriotic

    wala akong comment sa santa cruzan… hindi ko naman kasi maintindihan yang feast na yan… reyna elena lang ang alam kong karakter… LOL akala ko nga yung mga magagandang nag poprusisyon eh mga reyna elena LOL iisa lang pala yun LOL

    • LOL hindi naman siya prusisyon P ikaw naman o. siguro kasi wala ka lang nakita na tradisyunal na ganito kasi nga nasa metropolis ka diba?

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