Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Flores de Mayo (Flowers of May) is a colorful celebration during the month of May to honor the Virgin Mary. It's highlight is the Santacruzan, a parade participated by beautiful women who are elegantly attired for the occasion (sagalas).

The Santacruzan depicts the search for the Holy Cross by Queen Helena (Reina Helena) and her son, the newly-converted emperor Constantine the Great. When they found the cross in Jerusalem and brought it back to Rome, a joyful celebration was held as thanksgiving.

This religious-historical tradition was introduced to the Philippines by the Spaniards. Large cities as well as small villages all over the country present their respective annual version of which. In Manila, for the past 29 years, the Congregacion del Santisimo Nombre del Niño de Jesus has been keeping this tradition alive.

In partnership with Department of Tourism, Intramuros Administration, and the City of Manila, the Congregacion presented its annual Grand Flores de Mayo last Sunday.
The procession and presentation of 31 sagalas wearing exquisitely-designed ternos (gowns) created by local couturiers were held at the Rajah Sulaiman Plaza in front of Malate Church.

Here are photos of some of the sagalas and escorts.

Related links:

Backstage at Manila's Grand Flores de Mayo - Pinoy Photography

Flores de Mayo and Santacruzan by Connie Veneracion - Manila Standard

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posted by Señor Enrique at 6:10 AM


Blogger JayAshKal said...

Great pictures! I missed these Santacruzans, the best part for us (when we were young) were the food at the end of every parade. The gowns as well as the Barongs looks so stunning!


May 07, 2008 6:45 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lovely pictures! And colorful ternos and barongs too, worn by beautiful sagalas and escorts. The girl on fourth pic is wearing a 'banig'-inspired terno with 'pamaypay' motif. A real feast for the eyes.

Yet - how so very true what Connie said about the 'santakrusan' in her op-ed article. :)

May 07, 2008 7:52 AM  

Blogger Photo Cache said...

OMG! the gowns are so ornate and oh so beautiful. Great shots as usual.

May 07, 2008 8:05 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The photos are really beautiful and the "sagalas and escorts" maganda at guapo.

I have a comment about the Philippine Fashion... they have become "Costumes" in ridiculous colors only worthy of Disney's make believe world.

Whatever happened to Classy and Traditional?

May 07, 2008 8:17 AM  

Blogger Lola said...

The couturiers are so talented. Look at the materials and designs of those gowns.

May 07, 2008 8:18 AM  

Blogger nutart said...

Like anonymous, I find some couturiers just going for the visuals (and not even succeeding at times even) and no thought of comfort for the wearer. They just go overboard for the sake of showing creativity. Kaya models are usually exposed to a lot of discomfort and what makes them super models is how to show how easy and fabulous it is to wear these outrageous clothes.

We have the best embroiderers and beadworkers known and I find clothes/gowns that show off these exquisite art the best fashion statements there are. Valera and Pitoy Moreno also showed how it is to best enhance the elegance of the body by their well-sculptured gowns!

The Santacruzan should not be in the same category as that of a mardigras...kaya I say this.

May 07, 2008 8:47 AM  

Blogger ScroochChronicles said...

I love santacruzans. I always look forward to them every May. Of course, being a former sagala, I want my little girls to be invited one of these days. Well, nainvite na si Gaby pero gusto ko si Adi din.

Great photos!! Nakakatuwa yung dalawang naka-orange. Pareho pa silang in braces :D

May 07, 2008 8:49 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I think I was an escort once in a Santacruzan in our barrio in Subic, Mario. I was still in elementary back then. Those were the fun childhood summer days :)


May 07, 2008 8:50 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

If you want to see more pictures, Rhoda, check out this URL:

Yes, I like that piece by Connie. I thought it'd be an apt link to this post :)

May 07, 2008 8:51 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thank you, Photo Cache. I had posted some more of my pics here:

The gowns are indeed amazing ... hehehe.

May 07, 2008 8:52 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Lol ... true, Anonymous. Why they have to come up with outrageous themes I will never know.

They should highlight more the "Classy and the Traditional" as you said. This way, New York's and Paris' fashion editors could take a more serious look at our local talent.

May 07, 2008 8:55 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I agree with you, Pat. We do have a deep pool of talent here in the Philippines.
Check out other shots of the gowns here:

May 07, 2008 8:56 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

You've raised a good point, Bernadette. Many couture houses in New York are well aware of our country's talented beaders and embroiderers yet those from India get the job.

Perhaps, we should showcase more our talent in luxe fashion, not the frivolous theatrical edition of which. Maybe we'd be taken more seriously :)

May 07, 2008 9:04 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Oo nga, mga naka-braces pa, eh di naman mga adolescents ... hehehe.

Anyway, I'm sure you'd come up as always with stunning gowns for the girls, Cookie! I always admire your creativity in such things :)

May 07, 2008 9:06 AM  

Blogger escape said...

Nice shots! never been to a Sagala yet. But I always see this on TV. you really have good photos Senor.

May 07, 2008 10:31 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

May, the month where flowers bloom and Pinays shine and of course, the Sagalas!

Senor, I read in the news, di na raw payag ang mga simbahan sa mga "gays" sa mga satacrusan.

May 07, 2008 11:07 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thank you very much donG!

These photos were taken before the big show held that evening, but I find low light condition exasperating. That's why I have no shots of them on the runway. I'm sure you'd have done a good job since your expertise is night cenes :)

May 07, 2008 1:02 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Will search for an old blog entry about summertime in Subic when I was a kid -- the girl who was supposed to to be the barrio's Maria Eleina was a no show so, they grabbed my brother and dressed him up as one. He's not even gay. Everything turned out well ... hehehe.

As for the gays, I will have to agree with Archbishop Cruz of Dagupan, Catholics din naman sila kaya okay lang, pero huwag nilang haluan ng mga "landian o kaluswaan." Personally, I much favor the real Beautiful Pinays being showcased in such events.

Saan kaya my gay Santacruzan para ma-picturan? Malate? ... hahaha!

May 07, 2008 1:07 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful faces and even more beautiful smiles. They make the heart gleeful, just looking at them.

May 07, 2008 4:25 PM  

Blogger Unknown said...

wow! you certainly have an eye for beauty, eric.:D the girl in the 4th photo is so pretty...ganda pa ng gown nya. these are beautiful portraits showcasing Filipino ingenuity.

i saw a gay santacruzan in the news last was in tondo, i think. looking forward to your coverage of a gay santacruzan---that would be fun!

May 07, 2008 7:19 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Yes, Major Tom, they are indeed beautiful belles :)

May 07, 2008 8:31 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Truth be told, Luna, I'm unable to decide which one is the prettiest. They all are .... hehehe!

Yes, I'd really get a kick out of covering a gay Santacruzan. They can be just as creative with their presentation.

Thanks, Luna!

May 07, 2008 8:33 PM  

Blogger mgaputonimimi said...

ang gaganda ng dami nila..^_^

May 07, 2008 11:02 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh the pretty sagalas and their konsorte... My sister was once a sagala and the whole family was very excited about it.

In my next life, I wish to be a sagala so I can request Senor Enrique to be my konsorte! :-)

May 07, 2008 11:32 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

There were 31 of them, Mimi! Ang gaganda nila :)

May 08, 2008 6:37 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Lol ... ok, Juleste, that's a deal :)

This was a nice event. I had a good time taking pictures :)

May 08, 2008 6:39 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

guys do you have some pics pa na nakaupload? im one of the escorts on that event hehehe wala lang baka meh iba pa pics tagal kasi dumating mga pics namin thanks

May 08, 2008 11:24 AM  

Blogger Aura said...

Again, i wish i was there during these events. Beautiful smiles and face´s and so with their fancy costumes.Ok na rin, but what happened with the traditional Barong at Maria clara dress?

BTW, i already posted some of your aliwan photos to my blog.
Thanks for sharing!

May 08, 2008 6:45 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

You'll just have to search online for other photographers' sites, Kikko. But then again, I'm sure the official photos are worth waiting for.

May 08, 2008 7:39 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

This particular event actually showcases our local couturiers, Aura; thus, they come up with certain themes each year.

I've just check out your recent entry -- thanks for the special mention.

I agree with you, foreign media tend to focus on the indigent and corrupt aspects of Philippine life. A more balanced reporting is only in order.

May 08, 2008 7:43 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful pictures and what lovely costumes ! I'm glad that the tradition is still being celebrated after many centuries :)

May 09, 2008 7:27 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Yes, I agree with you, BW. This tradition should be kept alive especially in small town or barrio level -- great for the kids.

Many thanks! Glad you like these pics :)

May 10, 2008 6:31 AM  

Anonymous Marichu said...

Senor Enrique,
Asan po yung ibang mga Flores de Mayo pics? Naalala ko kasi nagcomment pa ako dun.

April 02, 2011 4:38 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Baka naman Flores de Mayo of the previous year ang tinutugon ninyo.

April 03, 2011 1:37 PM  

Anonymous Katherine Castillo Eustaquio said...

Hello Señor Enrique. This is Katherine C. Eustaquio, managing editor of Balikbayan Magazine. I would like to ask if we can use some of your Santacruzan photos for a feature we have in our April-May 2012 issue. Kindly contact me at

Thank you so much!

February 27, 2012 2:59 PM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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