Batobalani sa Gugma
FEATURE STORY - Sr. Karen C. Moreles, Tc () - January 17, 2010 - 12:00am

People, especially those who are not from Cebu Province, would wonder why devotees of the Sto. Niño raise their arms and wave to the Holy Child whenever they hear the chorus of the song “Batobalani sa Gugma.” Why is this so?

It’s really amazing and moving to witness how people express their faith and devotion to Sto. Niño. But most of them, if not all, don’t know nor mind the literal and symbolic meanings of their waving to the image of the Infant Jesus. For the youth of today, the Feast of the Sto. Niño is the grand parade. For the older ones, it’s the Novena Masses. And often it is during these Novena Masses that the song “Batobalani sa Gugma” (Magnet of Love) is sung and people would instinctively raise and wave their arms. These gozos (song of praise; an old form of catechism) to the Infant Jesus have become a medium of the people’s expression of faith and devotion.

It has been 479 years since the image of the Sto. Niño was introduced to us by the Spaniards. And it has been 30 years since Cebuanos started celebrating the Sinulog Festival. For those long years of traditional religious practice, I asked priests, religious, lay ministers, teachers, students and devotees of the Sto. Niño how the waving of their arms started and what does it imply. Most of them answered that the waving of the arms is a practice that is as old as when the image was first introduced to us. It is an expression of faith, prayer, joy, submission and praise to the Infant Jesus. It is an expression of the intimacy of the relationship and a way to attract His attention so He would heed the people’s intentions and supplications. Some of the youth confessed that at first it was just a simple mimicry, as crowd psychology explains it. But later on, they themselves discovered its deeper sense. A priest also gave this analogy: “Like a child in a family pictorial, the mother or any member of the family would usually wave at the child to get his attention so that he will look at the camera.” What a sensible analogy!

Indeed, no matter how conscious or unconscious we are in waving our arms to the Infant Jesus, we can’t help but allow ourselves to be magnetized by His love. This Batobalani sa Gugma reveals to us that God alone is the source of unconditional love. It attracts us to His innocence, purity of mind and heart and simplicity. And this is our greatest challenge: to embody the childlike attitudes patterned from that of the Infant Jesus.

How many Sinulog festivals have we participated in and Novena Masses celebrated? Are there any differences? Let us examine ourselves and ponder on those questions. Let us then make a difference……now.

Viva, Señor Sto.Niño!!!

GOZOS

Batobalani sa gugma

Sa daan tawo palanga.

Tubag:

Kanamo malooy ka unta

Nga Kanimo nangilaba

BATOBALANI CEBU PROVINCE FEAST OF THE STO GUGMA HOLY CHILD INFANT JESUS MAGNET OF LOVE NGA KANIMO NOVENA MASSES NTILDE STO
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with