Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Joining GMP?

Our Lady of Cabra at GMP 2009
Carroza of Our Lady of Cabra, lining-up for the start of the procession.

While waiting for the flowers of the Candelaria for the Grand Marian Procession, I decided to sit down on the bench behind the carroza of Our Lady of Cabra. A moment later, I was joined by the owner of the image, Mrs. Ezra Santos who just finished adding the finishing touches on her carroza. My conversation with her, for me is one of the highlights of this day. I will no longer detail the things we have discussed however would like to share something she said that bests justifies the importance of this kind of procession, that at the end of the day we should all realize that Mama Mary manifests herself in so many ways (in so many apparitions) continuously calling us to a life with Jesus and a life of prayer...even if by most part we...her children ignore her. Beautiful isn't it? And you come to realize that given this is the most important idea or take away that people should have in their mind by the end of the procession does pageantry, pomp and glamour, which this event has to offer serve as a tool to further this message or on the contrary distract us?

But I will not attempt to answer this question in this article. I think it's really complicated since you'll have to touch a bit of psychology, morality, history, culture and religious policies which honestly I am not an expert (and it's too messy). I guess it's just a good reminder especially to those who regularly participate in processions to not forget the true meaning of this activity and not be dragged by all the "wordliness" which has been an integral part of processions.

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Connecting it to Floral Arrangements

If you are planning to join the GMP (or other processions for that matter) it is really important that you, the owner is clear with your intentions. Let's face it there are situations that you as an owner needs to showcase your image the best way you possibly can (ofcourse let's cast our judgements aside for now--I do not intend to distinguish which is right and which is wrong). There are situations that because tradition or "panata" calls for it you just need to have the image join the procession, never mind how it looks etc etc...once this is clear, trust me decision making and planning becomes easier.

Simple or Over the Top?

I only expect the best for the Grand Marian Procession, I mean that's why it's called Grand right?...Because no matter where you look at it, it's scale whether in terms of size, number of participants, money spent is huge, huge, huge...(or supposed to be). In Laya's Prusisyon book, he mentioned that budget for flowers is around P4.000.00, but that is early 90's rate. How much is P4,000.00 now? When I was asked how much should you spend for a GMP procession, here's my candid response, "P5K will give you an okay carroza (pwede na!), P8k to P10K will give you a decent carroza, P15k will give you GRAND!" And that's why from the start you should be clear with your intentions. Because in the end its all about cash--the quantity and quality of flowers you can buy, the kind of flowers you can use etc. Your willingness to open your wallet will greatly depend on your intentions.

Soledad of Porta Vaga at GMP 2009
Are you ready to come up with a presentation similar to Our Lady of Porta Vaga...red carpet and showers of silver confetti dramatically floating all around?

You know your intentions and you now have determined the fuel that will drive your intentions, your budget. Next step would now be to determine the floral arrangement, to be simple or not to be? How would you distinguish simple from over the top? The term "simple" is not as simple as it seems. There are many types of simple: simple flower (cheap and local versus expensive and imported), simple color (traditional marian colors such as white, yellow, pink versus artificial and new varieties) simple arrangement (centralized in strategic areas versus the whole carroza), simple design (traditional shape and size of arrangements versus complexity of the overall form), purely simple (add-ons and other special effects versus none at all). Over the top is basically the opposite (those examples at the right after the word versus). Here's an interesting question can something simple be Grand? Definitely, from what I have seen in the recent GMP this is the trend that I hope will become popular among owners. I am really against overdecorated carroza's wherein you no longer see the shape, color and carvings on the carroza (such a waste especially if its silver pukpok or wood with intricate carvings)--okay I said no judgement but I really can't help it. The only reason this becomes valid is when you don't have a beautiful carroza to start with. Again, I won't recommend which is the best choice between the two because your choice relies on your personality, your intentions and your budget.

Once you have decided, here are other concerns to focus on:

1. Look at your carroza-- feel it, touch it, study it, determine which parts you want to highlight (either because you want to cover something or you just feel like decorating this part this year, then a different part next year).

2. Use your imagination-- at this point you already know the direction you want, try imagining...given you have this much money for your budget what flowers can you buy? How much flowers can you buy? How much area or space can you cover? If you have a specific flower in mind, what color do you want? Is it appropriate? What other flowers will look good together with your choice flower? If you choose to be daring and opt for over the top how would you demonstrate that? How would you shock people? How do you imagine their reaction...let your mind run free. I enjoy this part the most (as opposed to budgeting...). What I usually do is play a CD (reflection songs, favorite songs--any song that will get you in the mood to think) and do this mental exercise. If I get a Eureka moment I run to our encyclopedia or check the web to check if it will work. At this point, you should already be forming a plan in you mind and you are slowly seeing how the carroza and the image will look during the procession day itself.

3. Write it in paper-- based from experience seeing it in paper will make you appreciate your plan and check for flaws, changes etc as compared to just picturing it in your head...it tends to be perfect...Besides, if documented you're sure you won't forget. Add notes like flowers you want to use, colors, etc. Think of alternatives as well.

4. Timing and manpower-- although not that important, it is still something to think about. This is one of my key learnings during this year's GMP. Ofcourse you spent a great deal planning and preparing, you would want to see the whole thing come together.

5. Shopping-- to the market to buy the flowers. Keep in mind that there is no plan set in stone eg the flower you want may not be available or is too much for your budget, thus having a Plan B ready helps a lot. But then again, this usually happens if your working on a tight budget, if budget is of no concern you should be fine. Another skill to have is haggling, sweet talking the vendors to get more value for your money.

Now you are ready to decorate your carroza.

To end this little guide I prepared, just remember what Mrs. Ezra Santos said. = )

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