PAGSAULOG SA PAGTU-O (A Celebration of Faith)

My journey of faith (“pagtu-o”) had been greatly influenced by our family’s devotion to the Senyor Sto. Niño, Cebu’s Beloved Holy Child, God and King. I grew up believing that we were always protected and looked after by the city’s icon of faith. My mom has a collection of rare and beloved Sto. Nino carved figures that sit in our living room and bedrooms. Our niños have become family.

The big question is – WHAT DRAWS US? Coming of age in a city that nurtures a colossal reverence to the Sto Niño, our journey is anchored on the desire to encounter Him personally. The desire to connect to our soul and savour how the sacred seeps into the everyday and ordinary, to always live our faith believing that no matter how broken we are – there is always a loving Niño who will embrace, heal and transform us to live our lives with a purpose and direction. And that is what makes the Niño the smallest thing that take up the most room in our “bisdak” hearts.

This Cebuano weltanschauung permeates through a call to action, to live a life full of intention, creativity, passion and community. This is what Sinulog brings – it is a celebration of gatherings and a mishmash of shared faith experiences.

My journey has been a gradual and unchanging step towards an enkindled passion. Each year (in January), our family would join the grand street procession around Colon with candles lighted, reciting our prayers and supplications in thanksgiving for various favours. We patiently line up the corridors of the Agustinian cathedral to join our Boholano family’s pilgrimage enroute to touch the glass that enshrines the Holy Child-King. Deep in our hearts we yearn to offer a better version of ourselves to greet him annually.

I have always enjoyed the Sinulog revelry. The experience always elicits a lot of happiness for me. There is a gift in the joy of offering a dance for Him and finding Him in the people that I share the moment with. There is just something magnetic and spiritualistic when I hear the Sinulog beat with the resounding “Ha!” and the waving of the hands. This is how I make sense of my religion.

Through time, my devotion has blossomed with enthusiasm and vigor, it has thrived with a greater sense of trust and hope. The Sto Niño image that is on our altar has now turned into a person that is enshrined in my heart. His protection is real, in the challenges I face in my everyday journey I continue to pray that I be made good.

One step backward, two steps forward – I return to the Holy Child-King as my perpetual source of inspiration. He is the source of miracles, sunshine, moonbeams, magic, love, laughter, and everything beautiful in a child’s eye.

At the start of each year, the Sinulog beat (sounded off on trumpets, native gongs and drums) brings the cadence to the heart of the faithful. It beacons the movement – the call to action, a multiplied throbbing energy, the downpour of emotions, an inexpressible fervor and joy of people actively living their faith ‘planted and built up in Christ’ with vigor and enthusiasm, we continue to grow firm in our faith.

Our faith, however, should not stop at the display of outward sentimentalism and prayers of petition. We should embody and manifest our devotion into our everyday living and dealings. The challenge that faces us is to apply the teaching of love, honesty, justice, & forgiveness in our social sphere. Our devotion asks us to contemplate on the question: “What can we do to the small people, the nobodies, those who are easily put aside in our midst?”

Each year we take part in a living communion that needs to be sustained, deepened, enriched and strengthened.I believe that the faith of the Filipino has enriched them with adaptability, resilience and survival instincts.

There is the irrepressible lightness and joy of being a devotee. And this, I celebrate (together with the people who bears witness to his loving protection and providence) every year through 9 days of novena prayers that ends with the grand Sinulog. Daghang Salamat Senyor Sto Niño sa tanang grasya.

Viva Pit Senyor!

Chichi Abadingo


  1. hi tita!
    if there was a like button in here, i could have clicked it twice, thrice, or several times! 🙂