THE CLOTHES for Life Foundation counts with a large group of Cebu?s top designers. For almost a decade now, they have been involved with a grand Santacruzan. It is a showcase as much for Filipiniana as for inventiveness. The first time they did one was together with the Cebu Plaza Hotel in 2000.
Amparito Lhuillier was Reina Emperatriz, succeeded by Ingrid Sala Santamaria and Teresin Mendezona. The Cebu Plaza closed down, and the Santacruzan was discontinued. It was resuscitated three years later with a ready partner in the Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC).
Spearheading it was the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel whose general manager, Marco Protacio, is the HRRAC president. The Santacruzan then became a fundraiser whose main beneficiary is the Philippine Mission Society. Clothes for Life also keeps some of the funds for its charity projects.
After the revival, the title of Reina Emperatriz has been held by Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia, Arts Council trustee Elvira Lu Ym, Cebu City First Lady Margot Osmeña, and Mariquita Salimbangon-Yeung, Cebu?s most distinguished philanthropist.
This year, the Santacruzan proved to be the most spectacular. Marco Protacio personally saw to it, being hands-on as to plans, protocol, program sequence, and a thousand other details. The event started with a 4 p.m. Mass on Saturday, May 9, followed by the procession through the winding driveway.
Miss Cebu Kris Janson led the way as Reina Banderada. Then came 36 zagalas and reinas. Tricia Gullas made a stately Reina Elena, and Marguerite Lhuillier dazzled one and all as the Reina Emperatriz. The procession closed with an ornate statue of Our Lady of Manaoag, shoulder-borne on a palanquin and surrounded by
Children dressed as angels
Congratulations are due Clothes for Life president Harley Ruedas and his vice president Cary Santiago, who was the event chairman. Santiago was adamant about the participants and their designers sticking to the rules on how a Philippine terno should be executed.
Further opportunity to take a closer look at the reinas and zagalas and what they wore came during the dinner later at the hotel?s main ballroom. Every girl made a grand entrance as her name was called. On the wide stage, thrones were prepared for all of them.
On a special row were the former Reinas Emperatriz who had come on this occasion: Amparito, Ingrid, Teresin, Elvira and Mariquita. Dinner was served and they all came down to join their respective tables filled with family and friends. Aside from Kris, Tricia and Marguerite, taking part in the Santacruzan were the following:
Katya Ditan as Reina de las Flores; Merce Brenner, Rosa Mystica; Vanessa de Madrazo, Reina de los Angeles; Natividad de la Torre, Reina del Mundo; Junahlin Palconit, Reina de las Virgenes; Nessa Retomo, Reina Divinagracia; Maria Ruby Guinto, Reina del Cielo; Ma. Corazon Vengco, Reina del Sol; Natasha Holganza, Reina de las Estrellas; Berdynne Garcia, Reina de la Luna; Kathleen Lim, Reina de la Nieve; Khawara Iwanaga, Reina de la Mañana; Elvira Stehr, Reina del Rosario; Krizia Nuñez, Reina de los Apostoles; Ma. Luisa Lee, Reina de los Confesores; Carole de Leon, Reina de los Patriarcas; Francince Sato, Reina de los Profetas; Stephanie Señires, Reina de los Corazones; Guane Alviso, Reina Fiel; Krystine Lindo, Reina Paz; Sharlynne Policios, Reina Caridad; Christine de Gracia, Reina Esperanza; Charlene Casil, Reina Fe; April Rose Dueñas, Reina Libertad; Charlene Yu, Reina Esther; Benjielyn Ongluko, Maria Veronica; Hannah Hamon, Maria Martha; Grace Colmenares, Maria Salome; Alessandra Ghidoni, Maria Magadalena; Anna Vietz, Reina Judith; Michaela Caram, Reina Sheeba; Ruby Pansoy, Reina Mora; Elaine Lo, Reina Samarita; Angel Luzano, Reina Justicia; and Eda Mondigo, Reina Abogada.
Plans for the HRRAC/Clothes for Life Santacruzan 2010 are already underway. Cary Santiago is in the thick of it since he is the group?s incoming president. He did a great job on Marguerite Lhuillier?s white gown this year, a veritable work of art.
Rosebud Rivilla Sala will be Reina Emperatriz 2010, unanimously chosen by Amparito, Ingrid, Teresin, Elvira, Mariquita and Marguerite. And Rosebud, in turn, has already commissioned a masterpiece from Cary.