Volunteer offers life to Sto. Niño after ailments
May B. Miasco (The Freeman) - January 18, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The highly-anticipated feast of Señor Santo Niño has drawn thousands of devotees and has called for a good number of volunteers.


About 14 years ago, Roberto Abarquez signed up for it.

Being one of the most senior volunteers at the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño was more than an obligation to him as a Catholic.

For the 60-year-old from Barangay Basak San Nicolas, Cebu City, it was a mission God has bestowed for having been given a second life.

He is dedicating his life serving the Church after he was spared from a severe condition.

In an interview with The FREEMAN, he shared that he was initially diagnosed with diabetes in 1993 and later on he suffered from several complications.

Abarquez experienced his worst torment, as he described, way back in December 2002.

He narrated that on the 10th of December, he suffered from an abnormal fever. And since that day, he could hardly dispose his waste.

Within that over two weeks of tribulation, he became weak and eventually went bedridden.

On the 27th, he was already able to urinate and defecate. However, he was bleeding.

In a rough voice, the teary-eyed Abarquez went on that doctors were already hopeless, believing that nothing can treat his condition.

He shared that the attending physicians had difficulty on examining his health condition.

“Gibalibaran na ko’s doctor. Giingnan na gud ko nga huwata na lang imong kamatayon,” he said. (I was told by the doctor to just wait for death to come.)

This unfortunate fate bridged Abarquez back to spiritual discernment.

The humbled man later on realized that temporary misfortunes are at times opportunity for men to return to the Lord.

Abarquez said he did not go to the hospital again.

In his home, he turned to the Santo Niño as his daily medicine. Every day, he implores to the Holy Child Jesus supplications for healing. He also initiated to receive confession.

“Nag-ampo ra gyud ko nga hatagan ko og giya sa Ginoo hangtod nga naay nakatudlo nako nga patambal ni Santo Niño… Nisalig ra gyud ko niya sa tanan. Nag-ampo ko nga kuhaon niya akong sakit sa akong lawas,” said Abarquez. (I prayed to the Lord for guidance until someone told me to ask for healing from Sto. Niño. I just trusted Him and asked him to heal me.)

This still remains a mystery for him until now how medical experts failed to treat him but prayers did.

On December 31, 2002, he was determined to visit the church but fainted when he arrived there. When he woke up the next day, he was already able to walk and slowly restored his good health.

“Nakaingon ko nga buhion gyud ko niya. Anaa pa ako’y misyon sa Ginoo ug tungod sa akong giagian naglig-on kini sa akong pagtuo,” Abarquez said. (He let me live.  I know God has a mission for me and because of what I went through, my faith become stronger.)

Since then, he offered his life to the service of the Church. He then participated in the parish activities at the barangay and became a lay minister.

Three years later, he volunteered as part of the security group of the Basilica.

“Nahulog na ni nga panaad nako nga moserbisyo. Pahinungod ni nako sa Santo Niño agi og pasalamat kaniya. Mao na nga tinuig na ni nako nga halad alang kaniya sa panahon sa kapistahan,” said Abarquez. (This is my way to thank Sto. Niño. I offer this to Him doing this every year.)

He serves to augment the security force at the Basilica maintaining an orderly flow of the huge numbers of visitors since Day 1 of the nine-day novena which will end today.

“Akong tambal kay siya ra man gyud bisan unsa pa’y kondisyon sa akong lawas. Naglain man to akong lawas na. Gi-atake (heart complication) man ko ikaduha sa miagi. Pero pagsugod sa nobenaryo nawala ra man ang kakapoy. Mao na mosangpit ra gyud ko niya,” he said. (I was not feeling well because of a heart problem but at the start of the novena masses, I felt better.  I always call on him to heal me.)

He may be suffering from physical ailments until now but Abarquez’s fortitude surpasses them all. — MBG (FREEMAN)

  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

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!

or sign in with