Fiesta señor month

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014


OUR small neighborhood got busy last Sunday preparing for the feast of the Sto. Niño, the patron of our chapel. The fiesta falls on the Saturday immediately before the feast of the Holy Child at the old Basilica in Cebu City.

First, grass growing on a vacant lot near the chapel was cut for the wooden stage that was later mounted there. At the same time, the chapel was cleaned and the pews repaired. Then buntings were hung from the chapel going to the main road.

The activity reminded me of the annual ritual that my family practices every January.

This includes attending mass at the Basilica del Sto. Niño, joining the procession (a ritual my wife and her siblings follow religiously, no pun intended) and watching the Sinulog.

Last year, we viewed the grand parade at the street in front of the Sun.Star Cebu office where a bleacher was built. My wife complained that after enduring the heat and the lack of seating space, what the people got from the parade participants were lackluster dances. At times, the contingents merely walked by.

“Maypa mobalik tag tan-aw sa sayaw didtos sports center,” my wife said. “Sports center” is the Cebu City Sports Center where the culminating program of the supposedly “carousel-type” Sinulog Grand Parade is held. We used to go there every fiesta when Sitio Kawayan in Barangay Sambag 2, which is a walking distance away, was still our residence.

We stopped doing so when we transferred residence and when our second child was born seven years ago. We already found it difficult to travel from our present abode to the sports center. With the children growing up, the next turnoff is the ticket, whose price the Sinulog Foundation jacked up this year.

My wife thus put off her previous plan to watch the Sinulog culminating program at the sports center grandstand. The children, on the other hand, prefer to view the Sinulog dances in the comfort of our home via television.

I consider that a good suggestion because of the cramped setup at the grandstand where even going to the comfort room is difficult because of the people blocking your way.

I was therefore amused when I read reports that people have not been snapping up tickets for the culminating activity of the grand parade on Jan. 19. Ticket prices have been increased by P200, with the cheapest one now costing P800 instead of P600.

Still, I could not imagine a half-empty grandstand during the culminating program simply because the most convenient way of enjoying the Sinulog dances is to spend it at the sports center. Besides, if the tickets peddled officially by the Sinulog Foundation are not sold out, there are always the scalpers.

We will, however, go to Cebu City in the late afternoon of Sinulog Sunday to watch the fireworks display in the early evening. Unlike the dances, the fireworks display can be seen wherever you want to position yourself in the city.

This year’s feast for the Sto. Niño is being celebrated only a few weeks after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake and super typhoon Yolanda struck areas in the Visayas. The grim reminder of how devastating that earthquake was is the belfry of the Basilica that toppled down. But I don’t think those calamities should dampen the fiesta mood.

By the way, the patron of Poro town in the Camotes group of islands is also the Sto. Niño and its feast is celebrated every 19th of January. Poro town is the birth place of my mother. Poro is also one of the towns affected by super typhoon Yolanda although not as badly as the areas in the northern tip of Cebu.

(khanwens@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 07, 2014.

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