250 vessels joined the fluvial procession

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Saturday, January 18, 2014

DESPITE an overcast sky and a choppy sea, over 250 vessels joined the fluvial procession yesterday dawn.

The procession is bigger than last year, which involved only about 150 vessels.

The weather cooperated during the entire procession. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) forecast light to moderate rain but fluvial procession participants were blessed by a drizzle that lasted for only a few minutes.


Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Cebu Commander Rodulfo Villajuan said he found the fluvial procession “satisfactory and successful.”

“I heard others say that compared to before, mas smooth daw yung flow nuon (Some say last year was better). But for me it was satisfactory and successful,” he said.


The Philippine Navy noticed fewer glitches this year.

Naval Forces Central (Navforcen) task group head Commander Emilio Orio Jr. said, though, that the procession, which was scheduled to start at 6 a.m., was delayed for 30 minutes.

Orio said organizers were able to catch up with the schedule by increasing the speed to 8 knots from 5 knots.

It took an hour for the galleon to complete the fluvial procession route from Ouano Wharf to the Muelle Osmeña on the Mactan Channel, passing by the Pasil fish port and before finally docking at Pier 1, Cebu City.

Cerezo said the activity went smoothly because there was less rain.

He said the main challenge was to maneuver the vessels and prevent them from drifting because there was a strong wind and current.

Villajuan noted that some of the vessels did not register.


As of last Thursday, only about 40 vessels registered with the PCG for the fluvial procession.

Villajuan directed sea marshals to list unregistered vessels in their reports.

Most of the motor bancas that participated in the procession were not registered.

Lcdr. Ted Cerezo Jr. of PG 372, BRP-Alfredo Peckson, said some motor bancas did not follow the positions agreed during the dry-run of the procession.

“They wanted to be near the galleon that is why the sequence was no longer followed,” said Cerezo in an interview with Sun.Star Cebu.

But escorts and marshals from the Philippine Navy and PCG managed to maintain order during the activity.

The Navforcen dispatched nine vessels, two of which served as closed-in escort of the galleon that carried the image of the Sto. Niño and the Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe.

Despite the ban on balloons and small children, some participants brought kids and released balloons in the air.

“My sea marshal will have an evaluation regarding their inspection of the vessels. Hopefully, this will be addressed,” Villajuan said.


From Pier 1, devotees brought the image of the Sto. Niño and the Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe to the St. Joseph Parish in Centro, Mandaue City on foot.

The vessel, used as galleon in the fluvial procession, was the M/Y San Antonio de Sibulan. It was decorated with flowers and carried men dressed as Spanish soldiers, who guarded the urn of the Sto. Niño and the Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe.

The Navforcen dispatched nine vessels, two of which served as closed-in escort of the galleon that carried the image of the Sto. Niño and the Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe. About 100 Philippine Navy personnel also participated in the procession.

Villajuan said the duration of the procession hit the target to arrive in Cebu City before 8 a.m.

“Malaking tulong yung dry -run because we were able to estimate it (The dry-run was helpful because it allowed us to determine the duration),” he said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 19, 2014.

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