Saturday, May 30, 2009


The month of May is ending. All the celebrations for the youngs including the youngs-at-heart in the long vacation will go with it. “Mayo-mayohan”, “Santacruzan,” “Sagala”, or Flores de Mayo parades will again be shelved for the next season. But in my memory in the countryside, in our sleepy village, “Mayo-mayohan” is an exciting life of May and is a diminishing practice which we valued most in our teenage life. I will try to relate and recall this cherished tradition, less it will be buried to oblivion.

“Mayo-Mayohan” is a practice in our town in Sta. Cruz, Occ. Mindoro, where the image of St. Mary or St. Elena –or Helena the patron saint, the mother of emperor Constantine of Rome and credited as the finder of the Holy Cruz- with flower offerings is being paraded every night throughout the month of May. The procession ends in the scheduled house which we called “Pasandal.” It is the one who is sponsoring the “Libot of Maria Elena” and the snacks and other expenses are shouldered by them. Snack consists mainly of sweetened foods; like “biko”, “bibingka”, “Suman”, “sinulbot”, or ginataan, banana, ube, and kamote or sweet potato –these native delicacies are the order of the day during this holiday season in the countryside.
After the snacks, the music will play and there … the waited part of the party, the dancing with your “crush” –where Romeo and Juliet need not have to hide. Imagine embracing the guy you admired most and especially your “first”! Oh, mama! This is the part that made boys and girls kept on attending the procession every night of May.
On my part, as we are working in the field –cleaning the cut-burned-trees of the “kaingin” in preparation for rice planting season in the upland- the whole day’s work is compensated by the pleasure of “Mayo-mayohan” when we got home. Sometimes, we no longer take a bath –as our elders do not advise us to do this after a day-long exposure to sunlight- we only moisten a face towel to clean our charcoal-marred arms and other body parts …and we are ready for the “pasandal.” One time, I was the laughing stock as I did not notice that coal powder stuck on my elbow as I swayed my arms gracefully with my dancing partner to the tune of Perry Como’s, “No Other Love.”
With the parade of the chosen “Reyna Elena” concluding the day of May, I am still reminiscing the charm of our happy days of “Mayo-Mayohan”, the tradition worthy of revival.

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