Banca stalls fluvial parade
Kristine B. Quintas and Bryner L. Diaz (The Freeman) - January 16, 2016 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines – A small banca crossing in the way of the galleon bringing the images of the Santo Niño and the Our Lady of Guadalupe stalled the fluvial procession for few minutes at the Pasil area.

Except for the minor incident, the annual fluvial parade participated by over 100 vessels was successful.

It was initially thought that the galleon ran aground after it stopped while maneuvering off the South Road Properties to dock at Pier 1. Coast Guard-Cebu Station Commander Agapito Bibat immediately ordered to check the vessel.

Bibat said the galleon did not run aground but was forced to stop to prevent possible collision with a small banca that crossed its way.

Despite coast guard’s warning that unregistered seacrafts will not be allowed to join the procession, Bibat admitted that there were several unregistered vessels he noticed during the procession.

Hundreds of thousands of devotees lined up along the streets in Mandaue and Cebu City to witness the annual activity. Mandauehanons joined the foot procession from the National Shrine of Saint Joseph to the Ouano Wharf where the fluvial parade started.

A sendoff Mass celebrated by Fr. Jonas Mejares was held in Mandaue at 3 a.m. before the fluvial parade. In Lapu-Lapu City, hundreds devotees also positioned themselves at the Muelle Osmeña in Barangay Poblacion waiting for the galleon carrying the miraculous image to pass by.

There were also at least 40,000 devotees waiting for the Holy Child at the Pier 1. Chief Inspector David Señor, operations and Police Community Relations Branch chief of Cebu City Police Office, said that the fluvial procession ended peacefully.

At least 110 police officers, including covert operatives, were deployed along the route from Pier 1 to Basilica Minore del Santo Niño where the reenactment of the first mass and baptism were held.

Mejares, rector of the Basilica del Sto. Niño, said the re-enactment was not just role playing but a vivid reminder of the Filipinos’ Catholic faith and commitment.

In his homily during the reenactment of the first Holy Mass, Mejares said faith and commitment expressed during the sacraments of marriage and baptism must be always upheld and translated not just in words but in deed and truth.

He lamented that these aspects were taken for granted by some members of the Catholic community. He said people baptized as Catholic must not only act by name but rather take actions imbibed with the virtues and attitude of a true Catholic.

“Kutob lamang ta sa pangalang katoliko/kristiyano. Ang pagtulun-an nga angay nato’ng puy-an wa pa gyoy kahingpitan,” he said.

“Pipila kanato ang nagpabiling hakog sa gahom ug atik. Nabuhi sa kinabuhing hayahay samtang ang panon sa kaigsuonan wa intawon balay bisan unsaon pa og sikay-sikay,” he added.

Preaching about the importance of the Sacrament of Marriage, Mejares said he has high respect to those with good profession, but a lot of it goes to couples who surpassed life’s trails and living contentedly as wife and husband.

To attain it, he said everyone must not be living full of pride, which would ruin the relationships of family, siblings and lovers.

“Garboso, magpahitas-on, ug dili kamao mangayo og pasaylo ug mohatag og pasaylo wa’y makab-ot sa kinabuhi,” he said, reflecting this year’s Sinulog theme “Sr. Sto. Niño: Wellspring of Mercy and Compassion.”

He also encouraged the faithful to observe and practice the will of the Holy Child, who is merciful, compassionate and forgiving.

“Ang reenactment nagpahinumdom ug naghagit kanato nga maningkamot kita sa pagtuman sa atong mga panaad niadtong adlaw nga kita gibunyagan. Pagsalikway kay satanas ug sa iyang binuhatan. Pagsalikway sa sala ug pagsunod sa mando sa Ginoo pinagi sa grasya nga ibubo, pinaagi sa gasa sa ispiritu santo ug pinaagi sa paggiya ni Sr. Sto Niño,” he added.

Mejares together with Manny Lapingcao sang the latter’s original composition “Kaplag” that tells of the discovery of the image of the Santo Niño in Cebu in 1565; the goodness of the Señor Sto. Niño; and the Catholic faith.

He also sang the popular theme song of the teleserye “Pangayo sa ‘yo”. — With Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon and Christell Fatima M. Tudtud/FPL (FREEMAN)

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