Cebu News

Amid COVID-19, Odette challenges  no denying Cebu of Sinulog  

Iris Hazel M. Mascardo - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  Even with the persistent threat of COVID-19 and the struggles caused by Typhoon Odette, Cebuanos continued to celebrate their faith in the Santo Niño albeit through very limited ways.

 An estimated 19,500 people trooped to the streets on the eve of Fiesta Señor on Saturday to witness the mobile procession of the image of the Santo Niño that visited Talisay City, Mandaue City, Lapu-Lapu City, and Cordova before returning to the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño in Cebu City.

The procession started at around 6:40 p.m. and ended at around 10 p.m. Police say those in the streets cooperated with security forces and followed health protocols.

 About 7,000 devotees went out to the street in Cebu City alone, said Lt. Colonel Janette Rafter, operations chief of the Cebu City Police Office.

 “Overwhelming kaayo ang faith sa mga Cebuanos but despite that, nagpakita gyud sila sa ilang disiplina ug sa ilang pagkooperar… wala gyud kitay (major) nga panghitabo along the way so it was generally peaceful,” Rafter said.

In Talisay City, police chief, Lt. Col. Randy Caballes, said only about 100 people waited for the procession.

 In Mandaue City, an estimated 10,000 waited in the streets from Innodata, Tipolo Highway, up to the National Shrine of Saint Joseph, said Lt. Col. Franco Oriol, the city’s head of traffic.

 He said the situation in Mandaue was generally peaceful and residents cooperated with policemen who enforced security measures.

 "The motorcade did not encounter any problem yesterday from the time the image entered Mandaue city until reaching Lapu-Lapu City as we were able to clear the traffic and implemented strict security measures along the route," Oriol said.

In Cordova town, policemen who oversaw the situation estimated 2,500 devotees who went to the streets.

On the day of the Fiesta Señor on January 16, Sunday, devotees continued visiting the Basilica to pray and light candles.

As of 11 a.m., police on the ground estimated the number of people at 19,589 but this may have reached 20,000 if those waiting in line outside the Basilica would be counted.

 Councilor Philip Zafra, chairperson of the City Council’s committee on peace order, described the city’s limited celebration as “very peaceful and orderly.”

The city’s Task Force Kasaligan also helped monitor other Sinulog related activities, including those in Barangay Pasil.

Faith, thanksgiving

 On Sunday, the Cebu City government celebrated a physical Mass at Fort San Pedro, which was attended by city officials and Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia.

 “Bisan pa man sa COVID ug bagyong Odette, ang Sinulog magpadayon. Our faith is our strength for recovery,” said Mayor Michael Rama.

 Garcia agreed. “Let this be a celebration of life and thanksgiving of the protection that Sr. Santo Niño has given each and every one of us all through these challenging times,” Garcia said.

In his homily, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma reminded Cebuanos of the power and protection that faith has given them and how one’s devotion to the Holy child strengthened “solidarity” with those in need as manifested in the aftermath of the recent typhoon.

“Sr. Santo Niño tinubdan sa atong panaghiusa, dangpanan sa atong kalipay ug pagsulay,” Palma said.

 With all physical cultural activities cancelled, the Sinulog Foundation came up with a virtual presentation that showcased previous contingent showdowns. Funds were also raised for Sinulog performers affected by Typhoon Odette.- Caecent No-ot Magsumbol , Sanden J. Anadia, JMO (FREEMAN)



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