Whoa! Who would have thought that all of us girls in the family would be representing the Queen Helena in the Santacruzan processions years apart!
Often, in the barangays, the most affluent and influential of families in the barangay are the ones being invited, or a yĺoung lady must be exceptionally appealing to them! [Ahem, may I stake a claim on the beauty aspect as we are not among the most affluent, pretty please? Ha ha ha!] And in Alyssa Gem's case, she was a wild card entry in a draw of lots! :-)
All three of us have participated in the barangay level: Ate and I participated in Tinago while Alyssa Gem had a take on Reyna dela Esperanza in Gogon then the Reyna Elena in the 2nd Parish Grand Flores de Mayo and Santacruzan.
Amanda was probably in her sixth grade or first year in high school (around 1989 to 91?) when she represented Reyna Elena with our very own brother, +Christopher as her Constantine. I portrayed the role of Santa Elena with our dear cousin Miko as Constantine the Great in the mid-90's. Almost a decade after my turn (well, we were indeed born ten years apart!), it is an unexpected twist that Alyssa Gem would likewise portray the same character! I am not sure if Vicente Jr. (VJ) did join any Santacruzan, but his first-born child, Kyle Christopher suited well to being Alyssa Gem's Constantine!
More than the pomp and glamour, the Santacruzan, we are taught, ought to be a Catechetical Procession based on the History of Salvation. It includes Biblical Characters and Cultural Religious Figures in the Order of Procession. For the past two years, in our Parish (St. Raphael the Archangel), there has been this initiative to shepherd the faithful back into the historical roots and original religious intentions of the Santacruzan and similar popular devotions. The initiative is among the fruits of last year's Parish Summit on Liturgy and Worship, by which there now exists a duly approved and promulgated Parish Manual of Operations for Liturgy and Worship. This manual contains among others, the Guidelines for Popular Devotions and Practices, with specifications for Aurora, Flores de Mayo and Santacruzan which the Parish and its Pastoral Council uses as its general reference for various liturgical needs.
I reckon that during our time, Cleopatra and Santa Elena were among the notable characters and there was often several Reyna Elena's (I, II, & III). However, this should not be the case if to follow the Guidelines--Cleopatra is not in the list and there is to be no duplication. Each character is either a remarkable lady in the History of Salvation or a cultural religious figure which embodies and signifies the History of Christian Faith in the Philippines.
Now, so much about us! (Thank you for reading and allowing us this moment in the spotlight!)
PS: Will post the proper Order of Procession here when I find time to do so. If you would like to have a copy of the aforementioned manual, please send a formal request to the Parish Pastoral Council Secretariat.
Cheers and blessings,