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Filipino Community in Guam Celebrates Santacruzan
Ladies adorned in opulent gowns paraded through the Agana Shopping Center May 14 in celebration of Santacruzan, the Festival of the Holy Cross.The tradition, introduced to the Philippines by Spaniards, honors the story of Saint Helena. She and her son, Constantine the Great, emperor of the Byzantine empire, made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in hopes of finding the original cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified. The legend says they successfully located the cross and brought it to Rome.
The celebration has become one of the most revered cultural events in the Filipino community, says Gloria Baguinon, chairperson of Santacruzan and this month’s president of Filipino Ladies Association of Guam.
The day also coincides with Flores de Mayo, or Flowers of May. The month-long celebration honors the Virgin Mary with daily offerings of flowers. Elaborately decorated floral arches added bursts of fresh colors to the procession.
“Because May is when the flowers bloom, people make and decorate these arches for the procession in honor of the Blessed Virgin,” Linda Tolan says, a FLAG member since the 1980s.
More than a hundred people gathered to watch as children, ladies and their escorts proceeded through the Agana Shopping Center. Marchers represented biblical characters, and first lady Christine Calvo, who is half Filipino, played the lead.
“Every year, the highlight of the procession is Reyna Elena, the grand queen. We invited the first lady to be our grand queen this year,” Tolan says.
Sen. Rory Respicio also joined the festivities as an escort.
“This is a time-honored tradition, and I’ve been honored to participate the last few years by escorting one of the queens. In a small way I can share in their celebration,” Respicio says.
FLAG has hosted the religious event for more than 40 years. As this year represents their 50th anniversary of unifying Filipino women, this year’s celebration was a little extra special.
“It was a little chaotic. We had more participants than two years ago. We always give awards for best arch and best gowns, and we gave out more cash prizes this time because it’s our anniversary,” Tolan says.
“We’re so happy to share this cultural event and our anniversary with the people of Guam,” Baguinon adds.
FLAG hosted its official 50th Anniversary Ball 7 p.m. May 28 in the Chamorro Ballroom of Guam Marriott Resort & Spa. Donations will be made to about 16 charities, Tolan says.
“We’ll be showcasing our Filipino culture, and we’ll all be dressed in bright colors. The women of FLAG will also perform an ethnic dance this year,” she adds.
For more information, contact any FLAG member.
Source: Guam PDN