THE Augustinian friars have approved the calendar of events for the 459th Fiesta Señor 2024, as well as updated routes for the foot processions that include portions of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit route currently under construction.
This comes after Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama‘s insistence that the processions of the Fiesta Señor 2024 be held on their traditional routes.
Last Friday, Dec. 29, 2023, the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu, in an advisory, outlined a nine-day novena to honor Señor Sto. Niño, commencing with a penitential Walk with Jesus at 4 a.m. on Jan. 11, followed by a mass.
The novena will culminate on Jan. 19 with a Walk with Mary at 4 a.m. and the Misa de Traslacion at 5 a.m. The Traslacion, transporting the image of the Sto. Niño to Mandaue City, kicks off at 6:45 a.m. on the same day, with another Traslacion to Lapu-Lapu City commencing at midnight.
On Jan. 20, a seaborne procession from Lapu-Lapu City is scheduled for 6 a.m. Following that, the traditional solemn foot procession will commence at 1 p.m., followed by a reenactment of the first mass, baptism, and wedding.
To ensure the safety of the devotees, the processions will follow altered routes.
The solemn foot procession on Saturday before Fiesta Day on Jan. 21, will start from the Basilica, and with the revised route, the procession will proceed left to D. Jakosalem St., then will turn right to Magallanes St., leading to A. Borromeo St.
It will make a right turn to Leon Kilat St., followed by a left onto N. Bacalso Ave. The route then turns right to V. Rama Ave., followed by a right onto B. Rodriguez St., leading to Osmeña Blvd., ultimately concluding the procession by returning to the Basilica.
Meanwhile, the penitential Walk with Jesus will follow a shorter route from Fuente Osmeña, Osmeña Blvd., back to the Basilica.
The penitential Walk with Mary will weave through the V. Rama–B. Rodriguez corridor, avoiding the traditional Guadalupe Church to Capitol site route due to the ongoing construction of Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT) terminals. It will then tread the Fuente Osmeña to Basilica route.
In the advisory, they urged devotees to remain vigilant, particularly along the CBRT project on Osmeña Blvd.
“For safety purposes, we urge all devotees of Señor Sto. Niño de Cebu who will join the processions to be always mindful of the yellow separator of CBRT development in Osmeña Blvd,” the friars said.
They said they are collaborating with Mayor Rama and the local government to ensure the safety of all participants during the processions.
Fr. John Ion Miranda, who leads the committee on safety, security, peace and order for the Fiesta Señor, said then that the introduction of the new procession routes aimed to prioritize public safety by steering clear of any roadblocks.
However, Rama, in a pronouncement last Nov. 28, remained firm on preserving the traditional routes for the solemn foot processions despite the ongoing construction of the CBRT.
In the Dec. 29 advisory, the friars said the decision to change the procession routes last Nov. 15 was a collective one of both the Basilica and the Cebu City Government following a series of coordination meetings and walkthroughs conducted since September 2023.
Mayor Rama was in Australia on his vacation leave when the announcement on the new procession routes was made on Nov. 15.
Rama started his vacation leave on Oct. 31, returning to Cebu only in time for the start of the Misa de Gallo last Dec. 16, though he still appeared regularly in the “Ingna’ng Mayor” program of the Cebu City Government during his leave.
Hunan Road and Bridge Construction Group Co. Ltd. is undertaking the civil works for Package 1 of the CBRT, which covers a distance of 2.38 kilometers from the Cebu South Bus Terminal on N. Bacalso Avenue to the front of the Capitol building along Osmeña Boulevard.
Package 1 encompasses a segregated bus lane, four bus stations and 1.15 kilometers of pedestrian improvements.