Daghang Salamat Señor Sto. Niño








(photo credits: www.clickthecity.com/travel)

I was 5 when I remembered joining the Sto Niño procession in Cebu. Yearly then on, our little family would walk the streets of Colon, candles lighted and mindful not to burn people walking in front of us. I could barely make out what prayers were said on the loud speakers as it always got drowned by little voices from the multitudes who came murmuring their own version of litany. Little did I know then, that this was also to be my induction to the Sto Niño devotion.

At age 6, we moved to Sto Niño Village in Banilad from Sikatuna Street. Entering the village, you will find that the guard house had an image of the Sto Niño in glass. The club house had a Sto Niño image too. Entering our house, a wooden sleeping Sto Niño greets you and from the dining and the living room area, one could not miss the ‘bold’ baby life size image of our Niño wearing nothing but a gold crown, a loincloth and jandals. His arms spread out waiting for a hug with crystal tears rolling down his cheeks.

So you see, He was never far away. He lived with us and I practically grew up with Him around.

Each January, we grew in our celebrations of his feast day. From the procession, we added on the 9 days novena. We would attend the 5:00 am ‘Fiesta Day’ mass at the Basilica. Little thank you notes and petitions are written on paper and tied to red and yellow balloons during mass. And when the chorus of the “Gozos” is sang, we let the balloons fly, waiving our hands to the heavens with happy tears for the un-burdened heart. The hopeful yearnings from the throng of devotees could only be described as a nape hair rising moment as all the balloons fly higher and get lost to the clouds. The air suddenly feels misty and magical; perhaps that is how divinity feels like. Or better yet, a strong spiritual presence, for lack of a better explanation because it is undeniably indescribable.

I must agree that January, being the start of the year, is most fitting for this pageant of faith aptly called Sinulog. Two steps forward and one step backward synchronized with the beating of the drums. Leave it to reverence, that we are able to endure several nights to perfect the dance ritual for the street parade, foot blisters and all. The dance is always done to pray for another person. “Pit Senyor kang Tatay kini “ (The “Sangpit” is translated to – We call to you Senyor to grant the prayers of our Dad). We give it our best with hearts bursting in glee, ever thankful for His gifts and getting other people’s prayers answered.

Because YES, there is reason to celebrate and to be thankful for. Heavenly Blessings from the Divine Little King deserves to be acknowledged.

Without a doubt, we experience all the miracles and blessings that he creates in our lives every second – everyday. In prayers answered & dreams conceived. In problems we are able to endure. In the little flat we call home, in our jobs, in our bus ride and journeys. In the beauty that surrounds us, the perfect blue sky, the cold summer breeze, and the colours of the leaves in spring. In conversations with friends, over coca cola and chips,

He is ever present. He is GOD.

Here in Auckland, we continue with our devotions to Him. We attend the 3rd Friday of the month novena & mass at the St. Benedict’s crypt. We pray for one another and share the love for the Holy Child.

My journey with Him never ends. He has always been kind to us despite our never ending trespasses. And I will always be grateful and continue to dance in prayer…two steps forward and one step back.


Chichi Abadingo