New Zealand celebrates Sinulog

TAKING off with a procession of the image of the Santo Niño and the Virgin Mary at 10:30 a.m., nearly 10,000 people gathered together for this year’s Sinulog at the North Shore Events Centre in Auckland, New Zealand on January 15.

The Sinulog Dance Troupe performed a praise dancing followed by a liturgical mass celebrated by the Apostolic Nuncio for New Zealand, Archbishop Charles Daniel Balvo.

Nearly 10,000 people gathered together for Sinulog 2012 at the North Shore Events Centre in New Zealand (JV Villanueva)

Auckland Catholic Filipino Chaplaincy head Rev. Fr. Ruben Elago co-presided the mass, along with Rev. Fr. Samuel Pulanco, Rev. Fr. Carlo Constantino Cruz, and Rev. Fr. Larry Rustia.

Filipinos, Indians, Pacific Islanders and New Zealand Europeans celebrated their faith as one and witnessed group dance performances depicting various Philippine tribal tales of worship to the Santo Niño, including how it all began in 1521 and a cultural dance to the tune of Dandin Ranillo’s “Cebu”.

A nine-day novena mass was held prior to the fiesta at the Good Shepherd Parish in Balmoral.

Sinulog has been celebrated annually in New Zealand for the past 18 years organized by the New Zealand-Filipino Santo Niño Devotees Trust led by Benemerenti awardees Miriam and Oscar Batucan.

The trust aims to promote the devotion to the Santo Niño and to build a shrine for the Holy Child Jesus.

(Cherry C. Thelmo-Fernandez)