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Flores de Mayo

/ 06:28 AM May 04, 2012

This year’s unusual summer heat has brought out initial consolation in the flowers of May, traditionally in the wake of “April showers that bring May flowers,” as the song goes. In columns last month I wrote of the flaming fire trees at J. Luna Avenue in Mabolo, the blooming couple of Palawan cherry trees at Fuente Osmeña, yellow blooms on the golden shower trees and the multicolored bougainvilleas all around, among others. I also remembered last month seeing children selling necklaces of fragrant sampaguitas. But as in many things in these fast-moving days, they did not last for long in this searing heat, and I miss them now, as well, except for the hardy bougainvilleas and the gumamelas. So I look forward to seeing the daily Flores de Mayo ritual in church this month.

Speaking of church observances, last Sunday was Good Shepherd Sunday. Then the Feast of St. Joseph, a carpenter, patron of saint of workers was observed on May 1st, Labor Day. We learn from the Philippine Daily Inquirer Research that “Labor Day was first observed in the country on May 1, 1903, when some 1,000 workers marched to Malacañang. The country’s first official celebration of Labor Day, however, was 10 years later, on May 1, 1913, when 36 labor unions convened a labor congress at Cine Oriene on C. M. Recto Street, then known as Azcarraga, in Manila.

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My first knowledge about labor was when I was invited to join Labor Station dyLA run and operated by the Associated Labor Unions–Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) by then information officer Ernest Herrera, who later was elected senator and is now president of TUCP. I learned about labor, its functions and problems, in a series of seminars in Cebu, Manila and in a three-month International Labor Organization grant in Turin, Italy. While actively involved at radio dyLA, I remember Labor Day was celebrated at the St. Joseph Chapel at the dyLA compound at Pier 1 concelebrated by priests all named Jose. I remember one of them was Father, now Msgr. Jose Tajanlangit whom we and our associates still continue to address affectionately as “Father Joe.”

In my years with dyLA, we were always involved in live coverages of labor activities and concerns in Cebu. There used to be much rivalry and competition then among our labor unions. But in this year’s national Labor Day celebration, there was was a joining of forces among the country’s trade unions in “Nagkaisa.” Truly, “In union there is strength,” as the saying goes, in the trying times that we are going through.

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And trying times these certainly are. Above all, the weather. We are going through some of the hottest days we can remember. Time was when “talking about the weather” served usually to just introduce the start of a casual conversation. Not anymore. Now it is more the main topic the subject of most conversations, complaining, too, (and suffering) before turning to other subjects. And as before, we turned to the news, not just to scan the headlines, but to the lighter (or “flightier”?) reports on showbiz people and their concerns. Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth” is not just growing warmth, but heat! Like over 33 degrees Celsius to 33.7 degrees Celsius. And shake it all up with the over 6.0 intensity tremors in our parts of the world.

The shaking up is on, too, on the political front with parties and alliances shifting, breaking up and new alliances (even unlikely?) being formed.

Labor Day saw many job fairs all over. Labor still keeps fighting for higher wages as well as against contractualization and outsourcing, though in uncertain times offers, even if short term jobs will serve until better economic (and political) times. “Whistling in the dark?” Hope, actually to see us through to the opening of classes in June despite increased school fees, two more years in education with the implementation of K to 12.

At times like this, faith in God keeps the Filipino hopeful. We comemorate heroic times in the past like the Kadaugan sa Mactan, religious celebrations like the Flores de Mayo dedicated to Our Lady, Mary, and the Mandaue Fiesta in honor of patron St. Joseph.

Two women’s organizations I belong to have concluded their triennial or biennial terms and elected new officials. We held our Cebu Council of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines Executive Committee meeting last Friday, are holding our culminating activity on May 11th in Boljoon town and the National Council Convention on May 25 to May 27 in Manila. While our Regional Evaluation of our projects will be on May 22nd in Cambinocot after our Final Council Evaluation on May 9th. Meanwhile, we are holding our 60th National Hamvention with the Philippine Amateur Radio Association today and tomorrow. While our GSP Annual Culminating Activity will be held in Boljoon on May 11 and 12. Busy busy days, as “A woman’s work is never done,” as another saying goes.

Tomorrow, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia is hosting the inauguration of “Handumanan: The Rosita Arcenas Collection of Bisayan Santos.” It is a special exhibition at Museo Sugbo at 6 p.m. More on this next week as well as our women’s work with our Cebu Zonta I Club.

Till then, as usual, may God continue to bless us, one and all!

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