FINALLY, after one year of waiting, I got the chance to cover the feast of the Sto. Niño last January 15, Monday. Because last year's feast was a Sunday, which was my day-off, and I forgot about the feast.
It was a gloomy Monday when Dabawenyos ascended early morning toward the Shrine of the Holy Infant Jesus of Prague chapel in Shrine Hills, Matina, Davao City, to attend the procession of Sto. Niño.
But it was already around 10 a.m. when I got there but still a lot of devotees, with their respective image of Sto. Niño, got in and out together at the chapel.
It cannot be denied that many Dabawenyos are strong believers of the miracles of the Sto. Niño to their lives.
Hundreds of Sto. Niño images, in different size, roam around together with their owners but Jeneth Uedono's collection, wearing "I love Japan" shirts, stands out among the crowd of Sto. Niños.
Since her 20's, Jeneth never broke her devotion to the Sto. Niño. She remained faithful despite encountering challenges along the way and whenever she travels abroad, she never forgets to bring with her a small Sto. Nino as it always gives her good luck.
According to Jeneth, the best wish that the Sto. Niño granted her was three years ago, which is to have a baby.
"For three years of being together with my partner, we never had a child, but when I asked the Sto. Niño to grant my wish, he really gave it to me," Jeneth said.
For this year, Jeneth wished that Sto. Nino will continue to give them good health, happiness, and keep them away from danger.
On the other side of the Shrine, I met two women who brought their grandchildren, each carrying their Nino's, as they are waiting for the priest to come to them.
Best buddies Doy Almonia, 58, and Cora Dongallo, 59, started attending the feast in 1994, the time I was not even born.
Doy admitted that there were several feasts she was not able attend for having not enough jeepney fare as she resides in the north side of Davao, in Sasa.
"Before, just to be able to get here at the Shrine, we were selling bottles and plastics so that we can have enough money to pay for the fare," Doy said.
Undoubtedly, Doy's devotion to the Sto. Niño is as rock solid as she finds ways just to attend the feast.
Doy also shared that every time the Sto. Niño celebrates its feast, her daughter always catches flu. She said as soon as they arrive at the Shrine, her daughter's condition is getting better.
Each Sto. Niño holds a different story about miracles and triumphs. It is not just a plain and simple feast but instead, it is a thanksgiving of the miracles received by the devotees from all walks of life.
Despite how faithful and devoted we are in what we believe, it is still us that make the impossible possible by trusting our God-given capabilities.