Much of the story of the imahen and andas of Sta. Marta is associated with Don Marcelo de Borja. Being a respected barrio head, he is gallantly called Cabezang Celo by his sacopes or members of his cabeceria. He was born sometime in 1843 and lived a full life until his death in June 12, 1922 at the age of 79, leaving behind several landed estates in Pateros, Jala-jala, Nueva Ecija, Mandaluyong and Manila.
Like any other curious child I tried to make the ball myself. I found out through the years that there are many forms that could be made out of the coconut leaves.
Palm Sunday in the Philippines is most dramatic. To commemorate the entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, Filipino Catholics bring their palaspas or decorated palm fronds, to church to be blessed by the priests. It is always a sight to behold when young fresh coconut leaves called ibus are transformed into intricate forms and shapes. It is one great spectacle to see the brimming Sunday congregation eagerly wave their palaspas as the priest passes by to bless them.
Spirits rice and the brew are unrehearsed. Fermented rice is made with yeast and water, and by chance, emerges a rice dish with a hint of sweet alcoholic savor. Good fermented rice is just like a good ulam, a nice condiment, a sweet dessert, or an intoxicating drink. It sparks an appetite. It is no longer "kanin at ulam" when kanin is the bland compliment for the dominant flavors of ulam. It is now "kanin ay ulam", when fermented rice, serving also as the ulam, becomes the main body and note for the kanin.