Fluvial parade goes without hitch-A A +A
Saturday, January 19, 2013
GOOD weather and hundreds of devotees contributed to the success of the fluvial procession, which some 150 vessels joined yesterday morning.
There were no untoward incidents, said Cebu Coast Guard Commander Rolando Punzalan.
“Overall, it was satisfactory since we were able to meet our objective and our schedule,” said Punzalan.
Sixty-five vessels registered for the procession, surrounded by 60 marshal sea craft and at the end, some 30 unregistered vessels.
The procession symbolizes the arrival of the Sto. Niño in the hands of a Spanish fleet. It also brings back the beloved image from a shrine in Mandaue City that honors St. Joseph, who was the Child Jesus’ earthly father.
It was a shorter procession than those in previous years, however.
The flotilla arrived earlier than expected. The galleon left the Ouano Wharf in Mandaue City at 6:20 a.m. and arrived in Pier 1, Cebu City at 7:30 a.m.
Unlike last year when the fluvial procession passed by the Pasil Fish Port, Punzalan said the organizers opted not to pass this year, to save time.
“We would have been way off schedule since it would have taken an additional one hour or less for us to pass by Pasil,” explained Punzalan.
From the National Shrine of St. Joseph in Mandaue, the image of Sto. Niño was transferred to a boat, made to look like a galleon and ornamented with flowers. A group of men dressed as Spanish soldiers surrounded the image.
From the Ouano Wharf, the galleon passed by Muelle Osmeña heading to the old Mactan Bridge and maneuvered back, heading for Cebu City.
Different vessels accompanied the galleon. Each participating vessel had their image. Some of those aboard danced to the beat of the Sinulog, while others waved as they passed by the galleon.
Registered vessels tailed the galleon, while those unregistered were asked to bring up the rear of the flotilla.
They will be asked to explain and might be issued a maritime violation receipt, said Punzalan.
This year, the authorities also prohibited the release of balloons during the fluvial procession, as that may pose risks to helicopters hovering above the procession.
However, that did not stop some participants from freeing their balloons, while Coast Guard personnel were busy ensuring the safety of all vessels.
Emergency rescue tugboats also roamed the channel during the fluvial procession.
Punzalan, in a phone interview after the event, lamented that some vessel and motorbanca owners were uncooperative during their planning stage.
“Some refused to register while others did not cooperate with our civilians who were in charge of communication,” said Punzalan.
“I hope next time, these participants will not think only of their individual interest and think of the entire procession as well,” he added.
In last year’s fluvial procession, 246 vessels participated, with 136 registered vessels.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 19, 2013.