Saturday, September 03, 2005
LAY CARMELITES GO NATIVE IN 13th FAMILY DAY FIESTA
By Sally Castro, TOCarm
Co-Chairperson, Carmelite Family Core Group
Last July 24, 2005, Third Order Carmelites from the Regions of Luzon made a beeline for the United Laboratories, Inc. gymnasium in Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila, to join the various Carmelite Congregations in celebrating the 13th Carmelite Family Day. All roads led to Unilab that day as we were graciously granted the use of their spacious gym for free. Registration was fast and easy owing to the fact that many Carmelites pre-registered to avail of discounted fees and also because the CM Sisters were already practiced in the art of registration, this being the nth time that they manned the tables. In so doing, the general schedule of the day was followed almost to the letter and made the half-day celebration flow smoothly.
Because the theme was “Pyesta ng Pamilyang Karmelita,” everyone was enjoined to have fun and make merry in native attire. It was heartwarming to note that most of the attendees tried their best to conform to the dress code of the day, even by just putting on a salakot or a kimona or a handkerchief around the throat or a scarf thrown over a brown-clad shoulder to copy a Muslim dress. The effect was a play of variety and color that contributed to the native ambience that we wished to attain.
As always, we began the day with a Eucharistic celebration. Fr. Tim Jusayan, O. Carm., Commissary General, presided over the Holy Mass concelebrated with Fr. Toto Jaranilla, O.Carm, Fr. Peter Kramer, O.Carm and Fr. Ernie Montuerto, OCD. Fr. Joel Borreo, OCD, delivered the Homily. Fr. Joel stressed that “the Kingdom is precious because the human person is a precious treasure in God’s eyes.” Sr. Gertita Tacuyan, CM, threw in her inspirational message in the same vein: “Our great contribution to our confused society is our deep spirituality. Any member of the Carmelite family takes every situation, be it good or not so good, as a deepening of this treasure.”
Speaking of treasures, the highlight of the day was the search for the “Perlas ng Karmelo.” Mariecor Maglaya, OCDS, co-chairperson of the Carmelite Family Core Group (CFCG), hid a brooch on the underside of one of the chairs in the gym and the rule was that the one sitting on that chair during the time the search was called, would be the winner. Fittingly, Ruby Villarin, an 81-year old TOC from Cubao and a treasure no doubt according to her family, won the title. Fr. Toots Buenafe, O.Carm, adviser of CFCG, pinned her sash and Sally Castro, TOCarm, co-chairperson of CFCG, crowned the first-ever Perlas ng Karmelo.
The Fiesta would not have been complete without the Sayawit, a contest featuring a medley of Filipino songs and dances, participated in by eight Carmelite groups including the TOC, gamely represented by the Bulacan Region care of Ruel Santos, TOCarm, Regional Coordinator, who bravely accepted the responsibility. In my book the contestants were all winners considering the awesome performances of everyone. The judges’ consensus, however, adjudged the O.Carm Friars in third place, the O.Carm Youth in second place and the CM Sisters in first place. Congratulations are in order. Not to forget the Hawaiian dance intermission number gracefully rendered by Cherry Adriano, TOCarm of the Cabanatuan TOC community.
Undeniably, the most awaited part of the day was the salusalo. In fact, food was going around from the first hour with free chocolate drinks courtesy of Unilab. Those who were unable to take breakfast at home brought sandwiches. After the Mass, out came the midmorning snacks. Everyone brought packed lunch and a little extra for the buffet table. The TOC share, lechon, was consumed under ten minutes of its arrival so that some did not even get a glimpse of it anymore. Had there been a food popularity contest on that day, the lechon would have won hands down and the “dirty ice cream” doled out cone after cone by a sorbetero would have been a close second.
All in all, the day really lived up to its happy theme. The Pyesta ng Pamilyang Karmelita was full of fun, frolic and food, indeed.