Inquirer Visayas

A renewal of Catholic faith in Sinulog



THOUSANDS of devotees flock to the pilgrim center of Basilica del Sto. Niño in downtown Cebu City to attend the nine-day novena Masses that lead to the feast of the Holy Child Jesus on Sunday. Jessie Cubijano/Contributor

CEBU CITY—It was their faith in the Sto. Niño that brought them back to the Catholic faith.

Couple Rasty and Lilibeth Seville were Protestants when they first attended the fluvial procession in 2001. Curiosity prompted them to accept the invitation of a friend to join him in his banca, but it turned out  the watercraft was already carrying 20 people, way beyond its capacity of only 12.

The boat was shooed away because it was not registered. But seeing the image of the Sto. Niño on board a galleon made a deep impression on the couple.

Since then, the Seville couple have made joining the fluvial procession a family tradition. They converted back to Catholicism in 2002.

Fluvial procession

At 6 a.m. today, the Sevilles would be among the throng of devotees who would join the procession, one of the highlights of the 10-day festivities of Cebu’s biggest fiesta—the Sinulog—held every third Sunday of January to honor the Holy Child Jesus.

A THRONG of devotees joins the foot procession on Jan. 10, first day of the nine-day novena Masses, which signaled the start of the religious festivities of Sinulog 2013. Junjie Mendoza/Cebu Daily News

At least 2 million devotees were expected to join the solemn procession in the afternoon.

The festivities will be capped with the Sinulog Grand Parade tomorrow. A total of 133 contingents will join the parade around the city streets in a carousel route.

After she and her husband joined the fluvial procession in 2001, Lilibeth, 52, said she went to a store selling religious icons inside the mall and saw the image of the Sto. Niño, about the same size as the one displayed at Basilica del Sto. Niño.

She later bought the image when she had dreamt about the Holy Child Jesus. The next year, the entire family converted to the Catholic faith.


Family bond

Since they became devotees, the family bond has become stronger and they have been showered with blessings.

For their 12th fluvial procession, Rasty, 62, rented a motorized banca and planned to bring the family’s own image of the Holy Child Jesus.

According to the Coast Guard, 55 vessels have registered for the 5-mile procession from  Ouano Wharf in Mandaue City to Pier 1 in Cebu City. The number was lower compared to the 189 that registered last year, although about 400 vessels participated, said Cmdr. Rolando Punzalan, Cebu Coast Guard head.

Starting this year, Punzalan said a boat owner must get a special permit from the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) and pay a registration fee ranging from P800 to P3,000, depending on the size of their vessel.

The new rules were aimed at regulating the number of participating vessels for the safety of passengers.

Owners who failed to register would face stiff fines ranging from P10,000 to P50,000, as well as  revocation of their licenses, Punzalan said. Marina regulations may also apply on erring vessels, especially if these were found to be overloaded, he added.

Grand parade

City officials expect a bigger crowd at the grand parade.

Cebuanos have a lot of reasons to be thankful for, especially that the province and the rest of Central Visayas had been spared from calamities, Mayor Michael Rama pointed out.

A GIRL holds her image of the Holy Child Jesus while attending the novena Mass inside the pilgrim center at Basilica del Sto. Niño in downtown Cebu City. Jessie Cubijano/CONTRIBUTOR

Cebu  continues to enjoy a robust economy, he said. He also cited the canonization of Visayan martyr Pedro Calungsod, whom residents of Ginatilan town in Cebu believe was one of their own.

The Sinulog festivities kicked off on Jan. 10 on the first day of the novena Mass. Since then, Cebuanos and visitors have been treated to nightly activities, including the selection of the Sinulog Idol, Ms Cebu and  Festival Queen, the Cebu Pop Music Festival and nightly concerts at Fuente Osmeña Circle.

On Friday morning, the image of the Sto. Niño and the Our Lady of Guadalupe, Cebu’s patroness, were transported in a motorcade from Basilica del Sto. Niño in Cebu City to  National Shrine of St. Joseph in Mandaue City for an overnight vigil.

At 6 a.m. on Saturday, the two images would be  transferred to a galleon decked with flowers for a fluvial procession from Ouano Wharf in Mandaue City to Pier 1 in Cebu City.

Upon the arrival of the galleon at the pier, the image of the Holy Child Jesus would be brought back to the basilica during a foot procession.



A reenactment of the first Mass and the baptism of Rajah Humabon and his wife, Queen Juana, would follow. Humabon was Cebu’s chieftain when Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived on 1521.

In the afternoon, devotees would join the solemn foot procession covering 5.8 kilometers along the major thoroughfares of the city. A Pontifical Mass and the hourlong dancing of the traditional Sinulog with prayer petitions from the pilgrim center would be held later.

At 6 a.m. on Sunday, the festivities will start with a Pontifical Mass presided by Archbishop Jose Palma at the pilgrim center. At 9 a.m., the Sinulog Grand Parade will be held.

At least 41 dancing contingents will compete in two categories—Sinulog-based (18) and free interpretation (23).

Forty-two floats, 24 “higantes” and 26 puppeteers will join the parade for 6 km to  Cebu City Sports Center grandstand for the final judging.

Ricky Ballesteros, Sinulog Foundation Inc. executive director, said spectators should watch the grand finale, which will highlight  the city’s 75th Charter Day anniversary  on Feb. 24. It will feature what Cebu was like in different eras starting from the 1930s. With a report from Carmel Matus and Ador Mayol

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  • Islaslolo

    A colossal mistake
    for Rajah Humabon. Thereafater, he and his people were controlled by the

    I hope Rasty and Lilibeth Seville  are not
    controlled by superstition and Catholic dogmatism.

    • ed_nique

      it’s not your problem, is it?

      how their faith affects their life is their personal affair, as with those of other beliefs

      • Paliwaweng

        belief is not personal. 

        Think of a suicide bomber or Adolf Hitler who acted on their belief that by obliterating people, murdering women and children are to the delight and happiness of their god.
        That is the time when a belief stops being personal.When it become dangerous. It affects not only the one holding such belief. Those beliefs, unreasonable beliefs are the worst that brings unimaginable tragedy to humankind.

        That old adage is just not true. That all beliefs are personal

      • Ding

        From where do you think did he base his beliefs?

  • Paliwaweng

    so faith can be ‘renewed’., just like a business licence. Am thinking deeply what do they mean by nenewal, was it embracing new ways or techniques?
    To say that faith become loose before is wrong because in the real sense of the word or in reality,there is no such thing as ‘lesser or bigger faith’

    And the way I look at how they practice it by repititious prayers etcetera, etcetera, it is a cult

    • Ding

      “It was their faith in the Sto. Nino that BROUGHT THEM BACK to the Catholic faith”. is the very first sentence .  You may have missed it.

      Do not look at how they practice it…it is FAITH for believers…CULT for unbelievers, and you seem to be one of the them.

      Look again for another malignant attempt…you will end up with troubles within yourself you would soon realize, only you can solve, by not troubling yourself with troubles you yourself is the one creating the same problem repeteadly again and again for the second time and more all over again and again repeatedly by redundant repetitions..

      • Paliwaweng

        It is important to realize that a healthy, scientific skepticism is compatible with a fundamental openness of mind, and is much desired being the source of all enlightenment and human advancement.
        Unreasonable beliefs are neurologically absurd.

        Troubled mind mostly resides on ignorance, where they rely more on myths, beliefs without the aid of science or are deliberately ignoring its realm, like the Catholic Church when they put Galileo to house arrest by rebutting their dogma at that time that the sun revolves around the earth.

      • Ding

        When you are ignorant, you have no idea on what is all around, how can that bring a troubled mind?  Even those who do not know what they’re saying do not have troubled minds.  Hence, Congratulations, for being one of them.

    • ed_nique

      don’t think too deeply, nobody is forcing you

      • Paliwaweng

        believing religious beliefs handed down to us without thinking if they are sound or have empirical or scientific basis is one of man’s behavior, though there are few who does not. 
        An ordinary man if told that his wife is committing an adultery, will not believe the  allegation/s without doing a deep check or investigation if it was true.

        And that same man, if he was to be told that his soul will be burned eternally in hell should he led a wayward life would tremble in agreement and belief. Instantaneously.

        An absence of critical analyses/thinking.

  • mel lausa

    Faith is personal relationship with the Almighty, whatever, whoever  and however you conceived Him to be.

    Watay lalis dinhi.

  • ed_nique

    there are two celebrations in cebu today, the religious and the parade/mardi gras

    there are masses the whole day, it does not stop when the parade begins.

    hopefully the VP will find time to hear mass aside from his plan to visit gwen and attend the sinulog

  • Edgardo Mendoza


  • Ding

    Ang SINULOG ay isa sa mga Catholic practices in expressing their faith in God.  May kaniya-kaniyang kadahilanan ang bawat devotees — may mga nagpapasalamat sa biyayang, may humihiling na malunasan ang karamdaman ng mahal sa buhay, mayroong mga gustong ipadama sa Panginoong Diyos ang taimtim na pagsisisi at paghingi ng tawad.
    Anuman ang kanilang kadahilanan, ay iisa ang hangarin ng lahat — tulak ng pananampalataya at ang mapalapit sa Panginoong Diyos.
    ………………………..Diyos ang pinapupurihan nila..HINDI TAYO ANG DIYOS……………………..
    ……………………..Sa Diyos sila humihingi ng tawad..HINDI TAYO ANG DIYOS………………….
    …………………………….Sa Diyos sila nagdarasal ..HINDI TAYO DIYOS……………………………
    ……Ang Devotion nila ay daan nila sa Panginoong Diyos…HINDI TAYO SI JESUS CHRIST…..
     ,,,……..,,,Samakatuwid, isang paglabag sa kagandahang asal ang tayo’y makialam…………..
    ………………………………………..HINDI TAYO ANG DIYOS……………………………………………
    ……Hindi rin tayo ang daan tungo sa Diyos Ama,  HINDI NAMAN TAYO SI JESUS CHRIST…
    ………………………… siya lamang tanging daan tungo sa Diyos Ama………………………….
    At may basehan ang mga ‘yan, halaw sa Holy Bible:
    “Do not judge so that you may not be judged.  For with the judgment you make, you will be judged, and the measure you make, you will be measured”
    Matthew 7:1-2
    “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”
    John 14:6
    Kaya, whether we believe the practice of their Devotion or not, TUNGKULIN NATING IGALANG ANG KANILANG PANANAMPALATAYA.

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