• Feast of the 3 queens • ‘Parol’ festival needs volunteers

Nica Chua is Reyna de las Flores

The Catholic Action of Mary (CAM) will hold its 33rd Santacruzan and Flores de Mayo in Jersey City on Sunday, May 29. But before that, there will be a Presentation Ball at the Sheraton Hotel in Newark on May 14 to introduce three Reyna Elenas.

Touted as the longest running Santacruzan in the Northeast, this year’s religious celebration will see three queens leading a religious procession around Erie Street in Jersey City. They are Luchie T. Vivas as Reyna Elena (the Emperatriz); Nica Chua as Reyna De Las Flores (Queen of Flowers) and Kristine Suarez as Reyna Del Cielo (Queen of Heaven).

“We call this Santacruzan the Year of Threes. It is the 33rd celebration, and this year we have three Reynas, and three Hermanos and Hermanas Mayores,” explained CAM President Deacon Cesar Sarmiento.

Luchie Vivas is Reyna Elena

Luchie T. Vivas, the Reyna Elena, was born to Sulpicia Trinidad former BIR Regional Director Leon Vivas from Tanauan, Batangas. She is the eldest among two brothers and three sisters. Luchie obtained her post graduate diploma in International Finance from New York University.

A single mom, Luchie is devoted to her children, Cheenie and Boomer whom she calls her “inspiration.” She is a vice president of NY-based Assured Guaranty and still finds time for the community-based Pan American Concerned Citizens Action League Inc., of which she is president.

Nica Chua, the Reyna de las Flores, is an 11th grade student of Southington High School. She is the only daughter of Harry and Frauleine Chua; she has three brothers: Charles, Christian and Clark.

Nica is a straight A student since she was in 4th grade, and has the highest average in Math, Science, Social Studies, English, Spanish and French. She is in the National Honor Society.

She enjoys beauty pageants and connecting with fellow Filipinas. She also loves to go hiking, kayaking, camping and shopping. She plans to be a pharmacist just like her grandmother.

Kristine Suarez is Reyna del Cielo

Kristine Anjenette Suarez, Reyna del Cielo, is a 17-year-old junior high school and the only daughter of Engineer Arnel & Mrs. Eva Suarez of Staten Island. She has two brothers, Kevin and Karl.

Originally from Nasugbu, Batangas, her family immigrated to Jersey City, where she completed her elementary. She finished intermediate at P.S. 27 in Staten Island. She was a consistent honor roll student from elementary through high school at Susan E. Wagner High. She would like to take up Mass Communication & Sociology and dreams to be a media or advertising executive someday.

Kristine enjoys reading novels and listening to music, dancing or just spending time with her family and friends. She also enjoys photography and traveling. Kristine does volunteer work for Silver Lake Specialize Center and works at American Eagle Outfitters.

The Santacruzan Novena Mass will be held from May 20-28 at St. Mary’s Church on Second Street and Erie Street. The 33rd Santacruzan and Flores de Mayo will be held on May 29, 2011.
The Philippine Forum grassroots organization is extending a call for volunteers to help in its upcoming cultural festivals to be held around Queens: the Third Bayanihan Cultural Festival on September 25; Sumisigaw Filipino-American Youth Festival on October 22; and the very first Christmas Lantern Festival in Queens on December 18 of this year.

“The Bayanihan Cultural Festival is marking its third year at the Hart Playground in Woodside, Queens this year. The last two (festivals) have brought in hundreds of volunteers from all over in New York. We believe that its success is attributed to the strong involvement of not just the Filipino community but also the immigrant community which is the heart of Queens,” said Rusty Fabunan, program director of Philippine Forum.

Last year, the Second Bayanihan Cultural Festival celebrated the importance of women in the community. It drew in a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural audience and participants of more than 5,000.

“It was a resounding success with crowds from all over the area and even from adjacent states,” said Fabunan.

The Sumisigaw youth festival is another event organized by PhilForum, showcasing artistic expressions on topics relevant to the youth.

A new initiative is the Lantern Festival. It is the only Christmas lantern festival in Queens. The event will start with cultural performances from different ethnic groups celebrating the International Migrants Day. Followed by a parade of big, colorful holiday lanterns from 70th street to 58th street, along Roosevelt Avenue. The festival will culminate at St. Sebastian Church for a Simbang Gabi honoring the role and importance of migrants on International Migrants Day.

“We envision the upcoming festivals as great successes. And we cannot do this without the help and participation of not just the Filipino community but also the diverse immigrant community here in Queens. We welcome everyone who wishes to volunteer or intern with us for these festivals. It will be a great opportunity to know the community, learn how to organize big events, and network with different organizations, and local businesses,” added Fabunan.

For more information on the festival and on how to become a volunteer, contact 718-565-8862 or email bayanihan.festival@gmail.com or msaulon@philippineforum.org.

One Comment

  1. Elfriede wrote:

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