Wednesday, February 11, 2009


SINULOG DAY – the feast of all feasts of Cebu City – is celebrated every third Sunday of January of each year. The feast starts nine days before the big celebration and several events are lined up to honor the Holy Child Jesus or the Señor Santo Niño and every pilgrim worth his salt starts to seep into the streets of Cebu City to renew his vows and to ask blessings from the Holy Child.

There are two big events that are reserved to culminate the Sinulog Week: the Grand Solemn Procession on a Saturday and the Grand Mardi Gras and Street Parade on the Sunday.

I took a half-day from work on January 17, 2009 to participate in the former. I went first to a luncheon meet with the Cebu Bloggers Society in CnT Lechon Restaurant infront of SM City for an eyeball session. After that I warped-sped my way to Sunburst Restaurant in Legaspi Street to meet with my group from the Cebu Mountaineering Society (CeMS). Already there were Daddy Frank Cabigon, Nonoy Edillor and Dennis Legaspi. Later, Dr. Abe Manlawe and Jecris Dayondon came.

We have made this as our club tradition to start our official mountaineering activities for the whole year by joining the solemn procession which starts at 1:30 PM from the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño then winding its way through the streets of the downtown area. Along the way, Jon Consunji joined us at Magallanes Street and Andru Flores at P. del Rosario Street. Although the procession route is five kilometers long, I developed muscle pains afterward.

Doc parted ways with us at the vicinity of the City Central School while Daddy Frank, Nonoy, Dennis and Jecris at the junction of Sikatuna and Imus streets. The route passed by near my home in M.J. Cuenco Avenue and there were many many acquaintances and friends and neighbors who stood by at the sidewalks to wave their hands each time the chorus of the Santo Niño song was sung. I exchanged smiles and nods with them.

It was my third time to join this event and it was my first time to trot beside the carro carrying the Blessed Virgin Mary as it overtook us nearby the finishing route in the vicinity of the Santo Niño church. I plucked flowers from the carro enjoined by the pleading crowd and gave it to them. The carro stopped just infront of the arched gate of the basilica in time for me to hear the anticipated Mass at five past the Angelus – another first for me.

I bade Jon after the mass and went on my way for home bringing a single white flower which my grandson smelled with gusto! I slept early with a light disposition happy to have participated this sacred activity after weeks of anticipation and looked forward for the morrow would be well and perfect.

On Sunday, January 18, after a hearty breakfast, I left for Osmeña Boulevard to visit the booth put up by CeMS. The streets were already full of people, participants and visitors and the street parade was already in progress. Cordons of rope held by a line of volunteers kept the onlookers away from mingling with the contingents. I was in the south side of the line and my destination was located on the northern part.

I looked for a loophole as I walked down the route and back until I saw a slight break along the line in the middle of the former rotunda infront of the Land Bank of the Philippines and followed those who were now crossing on the other side. I took the opportunity and I made it to the booth. Already manning the table were Boy Olmedo, the present CeMS president, and Jon. Assisting them were Daddy Frank, Lilibeth Initan, Nonoy and Boy Toledo.

Later, Julienne Rosales, Brian Gera, Grace Ventic, Joel Cariño of USC-M and Eugene Abarquez of CAMP arrived giving us company. I skipped lunch and I left at around 3:00 PM hoping to see more of the Sinulog street parade and take candid shots of people.

Up ahead I espied two banners which were quite familiar to me. Approaching the place, I discovered the Omega Pelta Kappa, my fraternity during my college years, were setting up a booth. You know what, I have looked forward to rub elbows again with my fraternity brothers and sisters a long time ago but it never materialized due to my shyness and this is the perfect opportunity to touch base again with them.

The presence of Rey Caaway, my former neighbor, goaded me instead to forget all awkwardness that have refrained me to join past events and now boosted my confidence altogether as I shook hands again with them – the Peltan way! Over endless glasses of beer, we reminisced the storied past of OPK and its future. We gloat our present “unity” over the establishment of the community site in and hoped that it will snowball OPK into a throbbing and vibrant fraternity it once had in the late '70s and early '80s.

Reminiscing back, it was in 1981 that I was initiated, in pioneering style, into the OPK and I have developed a common bond with them. It was this bond that made me linger a long time until almost the last of the contingents of the Sinulog grand parade made its pass.

After dusk, my wife's relatives arrived, a whole army of them, led by Sicpao barangay chairman Dandan Apale of Mahayag, Zamboanga del Sur. One of them, holding a replica of the Holy Child danced and gyrated, facing me, tossing his hands up and down, his object of adoration directed to this writer placing the passing crowd's and my fraternity's gaze towards me. I could only show a sheepish smile as my frat brods got shell-shocked of this “unusual” development before them.

Fully loaded with beer in my belly, I made it home, thankful that I have attended and witnessed the activities of the most important weekend of January in this part of the world. Meanwhile, my wife and my sons were waiting for me for our dinner and I ate with great relish the preparations for this fiesta – humba, sinugba'ng isda and kinilaw – with visiting relatives and friends. Afterwards, I gazed at the balcony to witness the fireworks display that culminate the Sinulog Festival.

Viva Pit Señor!!!

Document done in OpenOffice 2.1

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