2009 Sto. Nino de Cebu Procession Experience

The Sinulog festival in Cebu is one of the most awaited events in the Philippines. Sinulog, for me, is well associated with the Cebuano culture and how people in Cebu Province demonstrate their devotion and faith to the mysterious and miraculous image of the baby Jesus introduced to the country by the Spaniards. This celebration is annually celebrated every 3rd Sunday of January.

In accordance with most Catholic festivals, preparations start 9 days before the actual day (novena). Fluvial parade is also done where reenactment of the first visit is showcased with known personalities or celebrities taking part as the actors. Before the Grand Parade, also known as the Mardi Gras, the procession of the original image of the Sto. Niño is observed and it never failed to attract a big crowd.

As a Catholic myself, I’m not really fond of following processions. However, with a devoted mother such as mine, well, it just makes me guilty to let her go through such sacrifices on her own. So here I am, adding another jam-packed experience in my life.

As usual, people go through the hardships of craning their necks to have a glimpse of the Sto. Niño, flinging their selves to the people beside them to get a breathing space in the filled streets of Colon, Jakosalem, Boromeo and Magallanes and patiently waiting, rain or shine, for the procession to start. Well, as far as I can remember, it has always been like this. These people didn’t come here for fun, but rather, they’re here to sacrifice for something they have prayed from God. Not that I don’t believe it because amazingly, a prayer of mine has been answered after I went through it but most devoted Catholics prays for something near to miracles. However ridiculous one’s prayer is, most of these devotees weren’t really disappointed with their lives to go on strengthening their faith.

The procession this year is more crowded and slow-paced. It might be because, the original image was brought out of the Basilica first unlike the previous years where it is paraded last. The security along the procession route is not that strictly observed too. There are a lot of people who just came in and out of the procession because the sides are open and most of these people are bravely crossing the flood of devotees just to get across the other side of the street. We've been waiting outside the Basilica for about 2 hours and we endured another 2 hours of following the procession. I was just glad when my companions complained they're exhausted and that their legs and feet were screaming with pain. And so, we cut our way halfway and took one last look of the crowd before walking another 15 minutes to find public utility vehicles that would get us home.

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