THE Church reminded Sto. Niño devotees on Friday, January 20, 2023, to preserve the solemnity and essence of commemorating the feast of the Holy Child amid two celebrations of the Fiesta Señor this year.

Fr. John Ion Miranda, media liaison of Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño, said wherever the public chooses to celebrate the feast, be it in Cebu City or in Carmen town, the important thing is to strengthen their faith in the Child Jesus.

Carmen town in Cebu is holding on Sunday, January 22, 2023, its “Sinulog sa Carmen,” a week after Cebu City’s celebration of the Fiesta Señor and Sinulog Festival. The Sinulog in Carmen will feature 28 contingents, while only 16 contingents joined the Sinulog Festival in Cebu City after 10 groups from Cebu Province withdrew their participation.

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia announced the withdrawal of the 10 contingents from the Sinulog Festival in Cebu City over the “muddy” state of the South Road Properties (SRP), venue of the festival.

"Wherever we celebrate the Sinulog, it is the manifestation of our faith and devotion to Señor Sto. Niño. We are only urging that all of us will be in unity so that we will always develop our faith in God, especially in the Holy Child," said Miranda in an interview with the media Friday.

On Friday, the traditional Misa Solemne sa "Hubo" was held at the Basilica.

Hubo, Cebuano word for "undress," concludes the 458th Fiesta Señor activities.

Priests ceremonially removed the festival garments of the image of Señor Sto. Niño, bathed the image in water laced with perfume, and enrobed it with ordinary vestments.

The ceremony symbolizes purification and cleansing to "renew ties with God."

Miranda said at least 7,000 devotees attended the ceremony.

Rev. Fr. Nelson Zerda, rector of the Basilica, presided over the Mass and reminded the public of the importance of giving, which he said leads to unity.

"The theme of the celebration of Hubo mentions primarily the generosity of the Lord. The Lord took off the glory of his Lordship and became a human being, joining us," he said. (HIC)