Grand Santacruzan

Araneta Center's Golden-Year Mayflower Celebration

By Earl D.C. Bracamonte



May is the most festive month in the entire archipelago. And there's very good reason why May is always called a merry month. The many fiestas and the culminating Mayflower sagala parade or Santacruzan is still a much-awaited spectacle anywhere in the country.

Araneta Center, in celebrating its Golden Year, showcases their Grand Santacruzan in stytle - with 50 beauty queens in gowns of golden hues – 'neath lavishly decorated arches.

The rhythmic beat of drums and the festive atmosphere that fanned the curiosity of weekend shoppers and passers-by enlivened the 50th year Mayflower parade of Araneta Center. Fifty beauty titlists regally walked with the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary with each one offering bouquet of flowers as homage at the culmination of the procession.

The eagerly-anticipated and much-awaited annual Santacruzan commemorates Queen Hellene's search for the Holy Cross of Christ in olden Greece. A popular and highly-revered tradition in Filipino religious culture, the sagalas represent the ladies who accompanied the queen in her quest. This year, the royal retinue was led by Bb. Pilipinas-World 2005 Carlene Aguilar as Reyna Elena with 2010 Bb. Pilipnas-World Czarina Gatbonton as Queen of All Nations, 21010 Bb. Pilipinas-Universe Maria Venus Raj as Reyna de los Angeles and Bb. Pilipinas-Universe 2000 Nina Ricci Alagao as Reyna de las Flores. Forty-five other lovely sagalas represented the various characters of the commemoration, the Accolades of Our Lady, and paraded around the dome to celebrate the month of flowers. But none stood more regal than 1969 Miss Universe Gloria Diaz-Daza who was resplendent in a cerulean drape gown. Her portly figure gave away her years but her countenance still commanded awe from onlookers, especially the hordes of admirers who flocked before her arch to take pictures. She gamely posed for each. The unmistakable smile that catapulted her to worldwide fame over 40 years ago still shines through after all these years.
Featuring the best of Philippine fiestas – Kalibo's Ati-Atihan, Bacolod's Masskara, Iloilo's Dinagyang, Cebu's Sinulog and the Salidsid pageantry of Mountain Province - in a spectacular celebration, the event started with a Holy Mass by dedicating the occasion to the Virgin Mother. The Santacruzan, a solemn procession honoring the Blessed Virgin, kicked-off and ended at the Green Gate of the Coliseum; after encircling the dome's roads.
Araneta Center's annual Grand Santacruzan is one of many exciting events regularly showcased at the country's leading shopping, dining and entertainment complex. Apart from observing religious practices and paying tribute to the Flores de Mayo tradition, they also offer fantastic promotions to delight every member of the family the whole year round. For updates on other offerings, simply visit their Web site, www.aranetacenter.net.

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