30,000 devotees turn up for ‘Hubo’ mass in Cebu-A A +A
Saturday, January 21, 2012
CEBU CITY -- About 30,000 devotees attended the “Hubo” mass inside the Basilica Del Sto. Nino Pilgrim Center, the crowds spilling out into the nearby streets, at dawn Friday.
“Despite the huge turnout, we didn’t suffer any setbacks or have problems,” said Inspector Romeo Santander, head of the Cebu City Police Intelligence Branch. For the ritual’s smooth proceedings, he gave credit to the crowd for their cooperation.
Around 50 policemen were fielded to secure the mass, which marked the end of the annual feast of the Señor Sto. Niño.
“No untoward incidents occurred. The devotees were there to show their love to the Holy Child and not make trouble,” he said.
To show the police force’s gratitude for the successful and orderly Sinulog, a thanksgiving mass was offered Friday afternoon inside Camp Sotero Cabahug on Gorordo Ave.
Senior Superintendent Melvin Ramon Buenafe, head of the Cebu City Police Office, declared this year’s Sinulog orderly and commended the police for preventing major incidents.
Close to four million spectators filled the streets last January 15 for a pontifical mass at the Basilica and the Sinulog grand parade.
The police also thanked civilian volunteers, students, and private security firms for their help in securing one of Cebu City’s biggest activities.
Another massive crowd showed up for the “Hubo”, a ritual intended to remind people of the values of simplicity, humility and faith in the Sto. Niño.
In the ritual, the Niño’s elaborate fiesta vestments were replaced with simpler clothing.
Before each piece of clothing or accessory was removed -- including the scepter, orb, cape, and inner garments -- a prayer was recited with the accompanying beating of the drums.
The image was then dipped in water and wiped dry.
“After the grand fiesta of the Señor, the hubo ritual, which is unique to Cebu, signifies the discarding of all trappings of the fiesta and the putting back on of the simplicity and the amiability of the Child Jesus,” said devotee Louie Nacorda.
“It means, to me, anyway, that the mighty child king is now back to being a simple playmate to his friends again, ever ready to help, bless, and enliven the flame of faith in our hearts,” he added.
He said a Spanish-era report on the bathing ritual by priest-writer Gaspar de San Agustin, in his book “Conquistas de las Yslas Filipinas”, stated that whenever the people asked for rain, they brought the Niño’s image to the sea and bathed it.
In an essay delivered by writer Haidee Palapar during a forum called “Sinug or Sinulog,” she talked about the legend of how this bathing practice came about, based on Manuel Enriquez de la Calzada’s book “Legends of Sto. Niño de Cebu,” translated into English by Martin Abellana.
A boy was flying a kite one hot day, at a time when Cebuanos were waiting for rain for the crops, when it flew into a room where Cebu’s Queen Juana kept the image of the Sto. Niño given to her by Ferdinand Magellan.
It was said that the image came to life and proceeded to play with the boy. After playing, the boy’s mother decided to give him a bath in a nearby river. Queen Juana did the same with the Sto. Niño image, and soon after, it began to rain. (BAP/DSM/Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 21, 2012.