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MAY 13/ 01





Tracing the Santactruzan's Roots
You may argue that the Philippines has no marked season like spring for flowers to bloom. More flowers seem to appear in May, nevertheless.

Get to Know Western Visayas
During the Spanish times, when a mother wanted her children to stop crying at night, she usually threatened them with the "quintos."

If you are a foreigner ... As history shows, foreigners have generally not come to the Philippines with friendly intentions. In spite of this, every visitor is heartily welcomed; the Filipinos are sociable and tolerant, and their natural openness charms many visitors. FULL STORY


Protecting Aklan's coastal ecosystems
Siltation and sedimentation triggered by upland deforestation pose another threat to Aklan's coastal ecosystems.


We need Mary today
MAY is closely associated with our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Tradition, now so complicated to trace, has forged it that way. And we are happy about it.

Again, on Lawyers
They are the defenders of truth and justice. Yep, yep, lawyers have to be truthful, to act noble and be fearless.

The poor must protest against their exploiters
The poor is the fair hope of unscrupulous politicians. Just by giving them a few pesos or a kilo of rice they spontaneously go out to demonstrate. In return they would say we will die for our idol. When they are caught or die they are abandoned.


It's a jungle out there
Ants are one of the few insects I know of that live in colonies. They have a caste system too.

Responsible Communication
How ironic is that media practitioners claim they are sources of true information, that they are most reliable institute of learning; when they allow themselves to be influenced by too much commercialism, consumerism, and materialism.

The tie that binds
Have you ever thought of why friends stick together through thick and thin and through the years?


Cain and Abel
Our new legal series dwell on the case of a man who murdered his own brother. The incident took place in Lambunao, Iloilo yet the names of the persons were changed to protect their identities as well as of their family.



Tracing the Santacruzan's Roots

Heady and angelic is May only because two things happen this month: Flores de Mayo and the concerted effort of flowers to bloom at almost the same time.

You may argue that the Philippines has no marked season like spring for flowers to bloom. More flowers seem to appear in May, nevertheless.

Even with the change in temperature brought about by the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, the narra trees that stand like sentinels still bloom at the same time. And still in May.

Their tiny flowers yellow the dusty street and powder the air with their light scent.

If you stop for a second you can transport yourself elsewhere depending on how pregnant your imagination is.

Flowers of May, the literal translation of Flores de Mayo (Spanish), is a big social affair in the Philippines. Although the emphasis seems to be on flowers, the significance is really in religion.

Flores is actually a series of highly rouged community celebrations that typically coincide with a town's fiesta and in honor of the town's patron saint.

It starts like bush fire in one town and then the next, and the next. The fiestas in May demand a Santacruzan as highlight.

Flowers that festoon an arch through which the queen, her princes and princesses must walk under make up the motif of the celebration.

Sometimes the flowers seem to compete for attention, but not for long. Neither should the zagalas' beauty distract the devotee from the real meaning of the activity.

If the Flores de Mayo is in honor of Mary, the Santacruzan has its story too.

The Holy Cross, as what santa cruz means, is said to have come from Saint Helena, the mother of Roman emperor Constantine.

It is said that Constantine saw a sign on the sky shaped like a cross. The "handwriting" in the sky read: In hoc sino vincit or with this sign, you shall conquer.

Now, that would embolden anyone - conqueror or not!

Helena made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in search of the cross on which Jesus Christ was said to have been nailed. Eureka! She found it and brought it back to Rome along with the dismantled marble staircase from the palace of Pontius Pilate where Jesus Christ had gone up and down.

It was also said to be the same marble where drops of His caked blood remain.

Pieces of the Santa Cruz were cut to sizeable pieces and set in various reliquaries all over Christendom.

Another legend has it that Constantine had a piece too, thus extending his power. But the marble staircase was sent to Rome where one can still see it.

True to the vision, Constantine ruled supreme all over the Roman Empire.

A shrewd tactician and strategist, Constantine married the idea of religious outreach with military conquest. It was through this that he became supreme ruler over the Roman empire.

He was crowned emperor in A.D. 312. What made him unique was that he did not come from imperial lineage.

In his time, emperors seldom inherited the throne. Military muscle and skill for intrigue were the points weighed to assume the monicker as Ruler of the World.

It was Constan-tine who institutionalized Christianity for the whole Roman empire. Those who embraced the religion were no longer persecuted nor fed as snacks to lions.

With the power in his hands, Constantine made Helena an Augusta of Rome, ranking her as Empress.

The Santacruzan, a remembrance of the quest for the Holy Cross, reached Philippine shores during Spanish times.

When exactly is vague. Which is good on hindsight; this way, the romanticism (pun not intended) will thus remain.

Where else can you find a merry mix of biblical and historical personalities, dressed in rich fabrics, than in the Santacruzan. It showcases characters bearing the attributes of Mary (as stated in the Litany), the Virtues, the gifts of the Holy Spirit and other abstractions.

It is a fitting punctuation mark - a period or an exclamation point - to the month-long observance of Flores de Mayo.

This is the 21st century, however, I will wager a serving of pizza that women long for a place in the Santacruzan.

To be queen or princess for a day would be an affirmation of one's beauty, stature and culture.

Only what the town considers to be the best can fill the ticket in this short season. Hearts that get rejected need not pine after the dream like a Weeping Willow.

There's next year, but who can say where the wind, or tastes, will go then? (Sunnex)


PAST ISSUES: March 25, 2001 | April 29, 2001