Thursday, August 14, 2008

SHORT LIVED THE QUEEN: Mayday Mayhem in Gagalangin

Her first crush didn’t see the light of day.

It happened in Maytime, summer of beginnings, of awakenings, even rude ones; season of the santakrusan festival and alay bulaklak kay Birhen Maria -- (the Lady wasn’t called Mama Mary back then).

Naku, the hermana mayor wants you to be a sagala tonight -- her mom told the young girl that Mayday, as she came home from the palengke, catching her breath. Excited, she omitted to say she was to stand in for another girl, a cousin, who suddenly came down with the flu.

The 10-year-old, just then beginning to enjoy being quirky, said no, no, no. You can’t make me. I will die first.

You don’t want to be Reyna de los Flores? -- her Mom asked, unbelieving. That’s second honor to Reyna Elena, don’t you know? The girl wasn’t impressed.

She showed her a pink frock of taffeta, chockful of sequins and flowerets, borrowed from she didn’t care who. The girl didn’t give it a second look.

Then she added that Rudy, a young boy from Antipolo Street -- would escort her.

That was when the ten-year-old blinked: “Sige na nga,” she relented, but not before she played pakipot for yet another hour.

Rudy was the younger brother of her Ate Malu’s best friend, Rodora. He was mestizo-looking, tall and quiet, and had this smile best described as pamatay. Every other girl she knew had a crush on him, but quirky as she was, she herself liked to boast she didn’t give a hoot about boys.

She had her first ever hair-styling session at the neighborhood beauty parlor that afternoon. Her long straight hair was intricately rolled, patch by patch, around wire rollers then inserted into a helmet- shaped dome where her head was turbo-broiled -- sort of -- till her ears turned lechon-red. When the hair stylist was done fussing with her hair, she had a headful of coily curls or curly coils – take your pick -- loosely tied at the back. It was called tribuson, the preferred do for young hair.

She had goo applied to her face. And a black pencil drawn on soft places around her eyes. Plus the final touch – red kolorete smack on her mouth and smudged on her cheeks, blusher-like. She liked what lipstick did to her face – almost grown up, and a bit like, she decided, not child star Tessie Agana as the stylist insisted, but her favorite adult actress, Lolita Rodriguez.

That night, amidst torches ablaze, and to the beat of bugles and drums, the mestizo boy, looking dapper in embroidered barong tagalog, took his place beside her. She thought he looked worried but she continued to beam to the crowds, feeling absolutely gorgeous.

A few paces later, as the procession turned from Angat to her own Pampanga Street, he leaned to whisper in her ear as her heart skipped a beat.

(NOTE: Here's where the audience/READER participation begins. Rudy could have whispered one, ONLY ONE, of three things. Pick one, if YOU will.)

· “Anna, this is so boring. May chewing gum ka ba dyan?”
“ Anna, ang kapal ng pulbos mo. Bawasan mo nang unti.”
“Anna, mas bagay sa akin ang gown mo.

As she dabbed a pink handkerchief on her face, “Dios te Salve, Maria” reverberated dolorously, like a funeral march. She felt the beginnings of a stomach ache as the procession traversed the main Juan Luna Street, and then back a seemingly endless time.

She never marched as Reyna again, not that she remembers being invited to be a sagala again.

(Two years later, Rudy became her classmate in first year high school. Neither of them behaved as though he or she remembered that disastrous May evening. They would nod shyly at each other when they met, and that was it. They didn’t even become friends. Tsk.)


  1. Santakrusan- or Santakrus de Mayo, a procession/parade reenacting and celebrating the search for the Holy Cross led by Queen Helena of Spain.
  2. Sagala – the young women/girls who marched in the procession, playing the various characters in the long-ago search, wearing long, colorful gowns.
  3. Hermana mayor – the host and organizer of the Santakrusan
  4. Alay bulaklak - flower offering.
  5. Reyna de los Flores - Queen of the Flowers.
  6. Pakipot – coy, hesitant, but only pretended
  7. Pamatay – killer, thus killer smile.
  8. Ang kapal ng pulbos mo, bawasan mo nang unti – You have too much powder on, remove some of it.
  9. Mas bagay sa akin ang gown mo – Your gown would look better on me.


Alina said...

heeheehee...this is funny...hmm...I think Rudy might be gay? Tell me if I'm wrong or not! :-)

Annamanila said...

WTU as soon as you come home. hehehe

julie said...

So si Rudy pala ha?

Being a Reyna Elena used to be a prestigious and one of the most coveted positions during this religious rite. Sadly, this has changed and modernized and it somehow loses its being special.

I have never been a sagala because we are not RC. Oh, I did, once, during a neighborhood Santacruzan and my escort was my brother. I think they got me because they wanted him to be in it :D

Gina said...

Ay talaga naman palang may nakaraan si Anna at si Rudy.hehehehhe.

Bakit naman kasi ang kapal ng pagkaka-apply ng pulbos at lipstick na naging blush-on...?? =))

Sexy Mom said...

i can just imagine how you were at that time!

it was Rudy's loss, or maybe, too young pa noon, no let ups yet. i remember how monica was resistant of these sagala things (which her 2 younger sisters missed) when she was a little girl.

now while looking at old photographs, we would always end up laughing about the experience, about how the young boys and young girls reacted--very evident sa mga pictures. i call them the struggling moments. lol

Toe said...

Annamanila, this is too hilarious! :) It's the sort of thing that could only happen to YOU! :) Sabi na nga ba e... kayo na ni Rudy... noon pa... hahahahahaha! :)

Rowena said...

Or sabi nya, mas bagay sa kanya yung gown, hi hi hi....LOL! Btw, my comment in your previous post was cut. I commented that I also love inihaw na mais, nilupak, galletas de patatas, lomi, goto (plus biko, maja, ube halaya, magnolia milk)..pareho pala tayo ng mga fave na food when we were younger (stayed in Sta. Cruz, Manila naman).

myepinoy said...

My friend

I am just a little curious. I noticed that you have a had more than five entries about the memory lane and I wonder, is there a book coming out? anyhow, nakakatuwa ang mga posts mo.

Honestly, I envy you because after all those long (long) years you still have that vivid memories of things, like how things were and even how the hair was done. ha ha ha

Ako, konti na lang naalala and usually yong mga days an nights somewhere...ha ha ha

Ano ba ang secret to remember many things?

Abaniko said...

Rudy: "Anna, mas maganda ako kaysa sa yo. Harumph!" :D

Rudy said...

Oist! Bakit kasama ang pangalan ko sa post mo?? :-D

Hmm, since she dabbed a hankie on her face, I guess Rudy whispered the second line?

Anna said...

So Rudy wanted to be the Reyna, huh? Somewhere in my memory, (and against my wishes) I got to be Reyna Elena, too. It was disastrous, to say the least, he he he.

Leah said...

I've always imagined myself to be Reyna Elena or at least one of those ladies marching in one beautiful gown with hair and face all made up. Unfortunately, Baguio City did not have Santacruzan when I was growing up. In my days of summer vacations in the province or in Manila, I watched and hoped that someday I will be the one there marching instead of just the one holding a candle on the sidewalk. Maybe, my daughter can fulfill my dream one day.

btw, maybe Rudy wanted to try on the gown too?

exskindiver said...

this is hilarious.

Annamanila said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Annamanila said...

Here's an excerpt of the comment by my high school classmate Rolly Lampa for your delectation:

Oh yes, that whisper. Here's my guess contribution and no, I won't be a smartass spoil-sport. Smile now, Ms Lolita Rodriguez Jr., and you can post this as a comment on your blogsite because this is what he said when he bent down and whispered in your ear -

"Ang ganda ganda mo naman. Talagang dead ako sa iyo. Bukas, aabangan kita
sa ilalim ng bintana ninyo. Magtanan na tayo."




and that's why lagi kang nakadungaw. Ang galing.

- Rolly Lampa

Anonymous said...

LOL :) I guess Rudy said the third line - " mas bagay sa akin yang gown mo". Gusto yata nyang maging reyna hehe :)

Nyl said...

haha!nice sharing..napaisip tuloy ako kung ano sinabi ni Rudy. But am not good in guessing. antayin ko nalang final answer mo.:)

The Ice Queen said...

There is something so captivating about the things you write about. I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts. I hope you don't mind me linking your blog. :)

ysrael said...

Well, my guess is none of the above. I think what Rudy said is, he was complaining about his tight shoes and his feet is aching. I'm sure you look beautiful that night. Sayang nga lang binaboy na nila ang santakrusan nowadays, hinaluan na nila ng mga bakla.

auee said...

OMG he's gay??

Post a picture please...

kathy said...

i think it might be the pulbos thingy...
can't wait until you announce which one was the correct answer! :D

cookie said...

Ayoko pumili ng answer..pwede bang all of the above na lang?

Such a cute story. I can just imagine you in your coily curls ala nelly olsen on little house on the prairie.

Uy si TEssie Agana!! Shhh...she's my tita. May family history kami. Ikwento ko minsan :D

imom said...

LOL my guess would be number 3??? LOL, bongga si Rudy!

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