Victoria Pestanas clung to the shoulder of her 77-year-old neighbor Elesia Petalcorin as they waited for the arrival of the Galleon San Diego at the South Road Properties (SRP) wharf yesterday afternoon.
The devotee from barangay Pasil, Cebu City and Petalcorin joined thousands who witnessed the arrival of the vessel bearing the Saint Pedro Calungsod image to the SRP wharf.
About 30 boats decked in flags and balloons escorted the galleon in its first sea procession for San Pedro Calungsod.
The ship suffered mechanical trouble in its helm or steering wheel shortly after leaving the Ouano wharf at 1 p.m. and had to be pulled by a tugboat when the ship struggled in the middle of the Mactan Channel.
The ship was unable to pass by the shores of Lapu-Lapu City as planned.
Coast Guard personnel noticed it drifting due to the Mactan channel’s strong current.
This caused a delay in its arrival.
Devotees who joined a foot procession to the SRP from north and south points of Cebu reached the venue two hours before the flotilla instead of making a syncrhonized arrival.Before the fluvial procession, a 7:30 a.m Mass was officiated by Msgr. Adelito Abella at the St. Joseph Shrine in Mandaue.
Fr. Charles Jayme, official custodian of the Calungsod image, then rode a Mandaue City government vehicle bearing a Calungsod flag.
About 2,000 devotees were at the Ouano wharf to witness the image being brought to the Galleon San Diego.
Some devotees threw handkerchiefs to the crew, who wiped them on the Saint Calungsod image.
Cebu Coast Guard District Commander Rolando Punzalan Jr. said the galleon was seaworthy and was issued a certificate from the Maritime Industrial Authority.
The vessel was last used during the fluvial procession of the Señor Sto. Niño in last January’s Sinulog.
Devotee Carlos Gocotano was worried when the galleon sailed awkwardly but he was relieved after seeing the vessel pulled to the SRP wharf by a tugboat.
On seeing the vessel, devotees waved their hands and looked for Calungsod’s image that sat atop the ship’s pile of floral accents.
Chants of “Viva Pedro!” rang out while an Airforce helicopter dropped flower petals on the crowd.
A blue banca fetched Fr. Jayme and the image from the galleon as it arrived at the SRP wharf.
Twenty male catechists from different parishes lined the docking area and rang the budjong-shell signaling the arrival.
The image was accepted by Msgr. Vicente Tupas, first chaplain of the San Pedro Chapel at the SRP.
Devotees took photos of the image with their cell phones as it was transported to the SRP template for the 5pm Mass.
Like other devotees seeking Calungsod’s intercession, Pestana said she prays that Calungsod would help her cure the arthritis on her knees which makes it difficult for her to stand for a long time.
“I’m praying that our bodies will still be in a good condition until next year. We are so lucky that we had this opportunity while we’re still alive,” Pestanas said. With Correspondents Jucell Marie P. Cuyos and Fe Marie D. Dumaboc