The Rose Borromeo Spanish Dance Company
We didn't manage to get to Little India for the Thaisupam festival last weekend (the kids got turned off when I told them about the skewers, boring lot!) but we did get to the Singapore Art Museum to enjoy the Barrio Fiesta. We went primarily to watch the dancers of the Rose Borromeo Spanish Dance Company, but stayed to watch the Santacruzan Procession as well.
The Philippines, being a Catholic country with it's history dominated by the Spanish, has a rich culture where the local customs are dominated by religious ceremonies. Thus, the Santacruzan procession traditionally commemorates the finding of the holy cross by Queen Helena and her son Constantine.
Reyna Banderada with escort
The many beautiful Sagalas, or beauty queens and their escorts all represented different Queens in mythical stories, including Reyna Paz, Queen of Peace and Reyna Banderada, dressed in a red gown carrying a yellow triangular flag. She represents the arrival of Christianity.
The final Sagala, Queen Helena (Reyna Elena), is usually awarded to the most beautiful girl in the procession. For the Santacruzan to be more exciting, the identity of the maiden playing Reyna Elena is kept a secret until the day of the parade. I'm not sure if this was the case this year, but the lovely girl, whose name escaped me, nevertheless looked stunning in a beautiful designer gown (anyone know where the gown came from?).
The kids were enthralled with the spectacle which was enlivened by the The Ati-atihan procession, with its' loud drumming and colourful costumes. Also adding to the mix were the cute girls dressed as angels and the boys in traditional dress. The Philippine culture is rich and bubbling with life here in Singapore and it was wonderful to see so many Filipinos enjoying their traditional ceremonies.