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Ryan Fauli's Yagting Cultural Heritage Collections
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The Flores de Mayo
by: Dante F. Fadriquela

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In the island Flores de Mayo can be of different types. How it is organized and the length or month being celebrated. We have the *pangako, sponsorship, regular and *sinabaduhan. The place can either be - church, chapel or house.

*pangako - a term given to any religious activities in a form of a vow. Here the expenses of the activities is solely shouldered by the household who made that promise of having such: Pakalbaryo, Pabasa, Kamarero and Flores de Mayo.

Sponsorship – A flores de mayo organized in the neighborhood wherein members contribute their share/turno to shoulder the daily/weekly expenses of such affair.

Regular – A flores de mayo either a *pangako or sponsorship which is held within the month of May.

Sinabaduhan – A flores de mayo which is an extension of the regular. It usually starts in June after the regular up to December and only done during Saturdays – to which the term *sibabaduhan originate.

oOo

At an early age of 5 until I graduated in high school in Banton, I had the privilege to witness/attend all these types of Flores.

At five I was always in my lola where the younger sisters of my mother were then hijas halars, tindogs. Sometime we trek the stony slope of Guyangan – cross country style, without using the regular trail, finding exotic flowers in the wild. At the blossom of the 4:00 o’clock flower in late afternoon we must be home to assemble the flowers in *upas – banana stalk in the most beautiful flower arrangement. There are days in the week wherein we must gather more flowers to be used in *puni – upas, palm and floral decorations for the pitogo-leaf laden grotto-type platform of the Virgin Mary.

 *The puni and the palma

The puni members must be very artistic to create the most beautiful decoration. Anybody can go crazy wild to create such facade as Eiffel tower, Taj Majal, temples, palace… anything. Anyway the puni itself has a place for competition and so with the palma – floral offering.

Palma – this not necessarily be made of flowers. An ordinary palma is composed only of flowers and palm leaves. But halars aspiring for the prize for the best palma must be artisitc to create an exotic arrangement. Consistency must be observed in the whole duration of the celebration if you want to get the prize. Imagine 30 days of imagination and collecting flowers.

Criteria to have a greater points for palma are. Type of material/flower used, floral arrangement, size and sometimes the song/*tulbar rendered to that flower.

The Song – what’s the song? After the evening song of praise, prayer, floral offerings etc… the palmas are collected and gathered in one place – to the ingramada, wigwam or any place where the dancing, singing and sometimes games are held. The palmas are number-tagged and the boys/gentlemen or just anybody - young and old can choose . They will pay homage to the flowers in the form of song or *tulbar – poem. The best songs/poem can give more points to the palma. What happened to the palmas left unchosen? No additional points.

TIP in making palma – use beautiful flowers combined with exotic fruits such as yaputi - a kind of duhat, makopa, tambis, etc. This is the first to be chosen for they contain something to be eaten.

Depending on the consensus of the members, they can have *baylihan – dancing every night or week-end turnuhan - food feast, swimming and excursion. On the last day is the *himuyagan – farewell dance party and consensus for a Sinabaduhan if they want. The *himuyagan is festive – dancing, eating, exchanging gifts, excursion and swimming.

Within the month long celebration – for the many years that I attended Flores de Mayo, surely there will be June Bride that will follow. Sometimes, *takbo – elopement. Have you heard of an elopement from Banton to Simanra paddling a ramyog. Oh, what a struck of Pyramus and Thesbe –like love.