THE yearly exhibit of Santo Niño images at Ayala Center Cebu features some 34 images of the Holy Child, each one subtitled “Hope of the People,” followed by the name of the owner devotee (as presented in the photos here). Indeed the Santo Niño is hope of the people, more especially to his devotees whose love for him has remained steadfast in times good and bad, and whose love for the Niño has made them acquire the images which are now on exhibit.

Most of the images in this exhibit are from the Santo Niño of Cebu, with his familiar gold crown, elaborately decorated red cape, gold boots and scepter, and the Child carrying a globe planted with a cross.

There are a few other Niños, like Santo Niño de Providencia, de Atocha and de Eucharistia. There is also a horse-riding Santo Niño, the Santo Niño as a soldier, the Santo Niño as a vagabond (palaboy). Exhibit visitors are greeted by a10-foot high miraculous Santo Niño that “came all the way from Barcelona, Spain.”

The well-curated exhibit, which, according to Ayala management has human suffering as its theme, are placed on boxed pedestals with lacy cut-outs in gold and white-lighted from within. This year the exhibit is at Ayala’s new chapel, located on the fourth level of the new additional wing of the mall, lending an atmosphere that is prayerful and meditative. In this chapel, novena Masses for the Santo Niño are at 6 p.m. daily.

The exhibit is open during mall hours and will run up to Jan. 20.