Faith – this is what keeps the heart of every Cebuano burning with zealous.
If you aren’t a Cebuano, you will be amazed at how these people firmly believe in the child Jesus. They have this very deep faith in Him. You would even be wondering why they pray through dancing. Well, as what a priest said (who actually used to ridicule Cebuano’s way of praying and lifting their hands while singing Batobalani), an old woman who sells candles and does the dancing for others answered his question “Why the dance?” with “Kay bata man. (Because He’s a child.)” And he realized: What do we do with our children to pacify them? We dance them in our arms, right? Or in order to please them, we get their hands and dance with them, don’t we? And before knowing it, he started lifting his hand, waving at the Sto. Nino, singing the Batobalani. He said that the outstanding faith of Cebuanos is contagious. Indeed, it is, if you only open the doors of your heart and accept Him in.
My mother has this 9-year-old arthritis in both feet, and based on observation, I think she almost lost her faith in Him. My brother doesn’t go to church to fulfill his Sunday obligation. I remember one time he hid (so he couldn’t come) and watched us about to leave home for the mass service at dawn when mama eventually caught him. Tsk. He has all the alibis in the world just for him not to be able to go. He’s a sinner. A great one. And both mama and he are lost from the flock. If you ask about my father, well could you just don’t? Because I do not know where on earth he is. And there, I’m the only one left with unrelenting faith in Him.
With His grace, I was able to complete the 9 novena masses, having sacrificed one subject (well these things don’t really matter when it comes to Him, and I didn’t care getting zero in that seatwork our class had). At the end of every mass, I always made my way through the thick crowd to the front, so I could feel even a single drop of holy water suffusing my entirety during the blessings, because with such, I feel like I get cleansed.
PAG-ASA announced about a storm and the Sto.Nino team actually planned of cancelling the fluvial procession and making it a foot one. But during the fluvial procession, there was no single threat: the winds were calm and the Mactan channel seemed like oil, it was very smooth. We believed it was Him who commanded serenity from the winds and waters. Oh, Sto.Nino.
I was so grateful kuya went with me (though without his interest) for the foot procession later in the afternoon. We still had to undergo an argument before making him come. Mother was not able to come because she could no longer survive walking so far; she couldn’t even endure standing just for an hour. But I beseeched her to attend the Pontifical Mass after the procession. And with His grace, she came, though we only met after the mass due to the very thick crowd. However, kuya didn’t come in the church. Couldn’t really convince him to even when I begged. Didn’t know where he’d been during the mass. But he claimed he danced.
I tell you, if you only wave your hand with all your heart feeling the moment and His presence, a tear and even many of them would really escape from your eyes. Hit me if you prove me wrong. 🙂
After the mass, there was the traditional Sinulog dance where everybody danced, even the priests and nuns, brandishing the varying images of Sto.Nino in the air, all singing PIT SENYOR! And there were fireworks that added to the intensity of the dance. There were also Koreans dancing, brandishing their country flag. See how faith spreads! 🙂
The feeling’s just so heavenly. Seems like you’re dancing in the clouds with all the angels and saints (really, without exaggerations and all).
If you’re not a Cebuano, please fly to Cebu and experience such heavenly feeling. I guarantee your satisfaction; you surely will never regret your trip. You would even end up wanting to come every year. Or if you are a Cebuano but you have never attended the Pontifical Mass and danced to the traditional Sinulog dance after which, please do attend and dance, the Basilica’s just near anyway, you wouldn’t have to cross the sea or fly thousands of feet above; please don’t be lazy.
Join the thousands of people in expressing one united faith.
Here are random pictures. 🙂
* The following were taken during the novena masses:
*Sadly, was not able to capture many pictures during the foot procession:
*Below’s our image of Sr. Sto. Niño, and that’s my brother holding Him right to his chest:
* And this one was surreptitiously taken:
So I expect you next year, then?
VIVA PIT SENYOR!
From Cebu and yes with love,
– – – SM ♥