Sto. Niño Feast
By Josephine Darang
MANILA, Philippines - The Filipinos’ love and devotion to the Christ Child is phenomenal. This will again be manifested yesterday, january 17,2010, when churches in every town and city hold Masses and processions.
In Cebu City, people will hear Mass at the Pilgrim Center across the Basilica de Sto. Niño while others will light candles in the church or touch the image.
Cebuanos and guests will then dance the “Sinulog” to the beat of drums and shouts of “Pit Señor! Viva Sto. Niño!” Going to Cebu for the fiesta is a panata for devotees wishing to thank Him for answered prayers.
Historical accounts say before Ferdinand Magellan arrived in Cebu in 1521, Sinulog was danced by the natives in honor of wooden idols and anitos. Magellan introduced Christianity, giving the Sto. Niño as a baptismal gift to Hara Amihan, wife of Cebu’s Rajah Humabon and who became Queen Juana.
During the 44 years between the coming of Magellan and Legazpi, natives danced the Sinulog but this time as a sign of reverence to the Sto. Niño, who is now enshrined in the San Agustin Church. The church later became the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño.
The Congregacion del Santissimo Nombre del Niño Jesus will hold its 31st grand procession of at least 400 Sto. Niño images on Jan. 31, at 3 p.m. The procession will begin at the Philtrade Center on Roxas Boulevard and end at the Quirino Grandstand.
The procession highlights the Fiesta del Sto. Niño 2008 that opened Jan. 21 with an exhibit and Holy Mass at the PNB Financial Center. Exhibit hours are 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Novena Masses are at 7 p.m.
Mounting the exhibit are fiesta chair Deo Pamilar; Ricky Miranda, president; Jing Chua, chair; Ben Farrales, founding chair; and members of the board.