“IF you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.”

Fans of Max Erhmann’s poem Desiderata will recognize that excerpt.

Others, though, who have little to no interest in literature, were given a glimpse of the poem’s content through Carcar City Division’s performance during the Sinulog grand parade last Sunday.

Carcar did more than show the audience a drama between two aspiring barrio singers. They, too, gave the audience a reflection on how envy brings bitter endings and how faith leads to harmony.

This bagged them the first place award in the Sinulog-based category. They were also named best in costume and best in musicality.

The team received warmth and loud cheers from the spectators during the awarding ceremony yesterday.

Spectators found the presentation “too good to say goodbye to” that Carcar performed twice.

Katheryn Estenzo, who is the team’s choreographer, said all their performances in the past years were inspired by her personal experiences.

Last year’s well-applauded story on peace and order, and family was inspired by her police officer-husband.

This year, Estenzo staged a battle between the good and evil, with the veneration for the Holy Child Jesus thwarting black magic.

“I have been a victim of voodoo, but the intervention of Señor Sto. Niño helped me fight off the evil. I have been a devotee for so many years and this is my tribute to Sto. Niño,” she said.

Estenzo believes that showcasing glimpses and lessons from her personal experiences make Carcar’s performances “grounded, tangible and human.”

She said they had to relatively start from scratch again, after they had to replace almost 90 percent of their dancers from last year, and teaching the new recruits the dance moves. They started rehearsals only last month.

For their hard work and dedication, Carcar City Mayor Nicepuro Apura promised the more than 1,000 performers and staff a victory party.

The same laborious journey towards victory was shared by Tribu Kandaya of Daanbantayan town, this year’s champion for the free-interpretation category.

They also won best in costume in the same category and fourth place in the street dancing competition.

Mayor Vicente Loot said their comeback performance was purely out of veneration.

Since the northern town was torn by Typhoon Yolanda almost five years ago, he said they are still on their way to recovery.

After the ceremony yesterday, Tribu Kandaya went to the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño to perform their ritual show.

Apura and Loot both promised grander and sharper performances as they defend their titles next year.