Sinulog! It is that time of the year when pilgrims from different walks of life and different parts of the Philippines make their yearly journey to the Basílica Minore del Santo Niño in Cebu City. Hundreds and thousands of people flock to the oldest Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines, commonly known as Santo Niño Church, and in the process we can witness a transformation both physically and spiritually.
The 360 streetview below shows how the Pilgrim Center looks on a normal day. During Sunday masses, this can get filled but on a manageable situation. But during Sinulog, things are different.
This phenomenon usually starts on the first day of the 9-day novena masses which happens after the Walk with Jesus procession. From that day on, the Santo Niño Church holds 11 masses starting at 4:00AM, 5:30AM, 7:00AM, 8:30AM, 10:00AM, 11:30AM, 1:00PM, 2:30PM, 4:00PM, 5:30PM and the last mass at 7:00PM. What’s fascinating is that the church is almost always jam-packed at any mass of the day. 🙂
The Santo Niño Church Pilgrim Center transforms into a place of reds and yellows. From the banderitas up above to the drapes and flowers around, you can experience the biggest feast of the Senyor Santo Niño.
And speaking of Senyor Santo Niño, you will definitely see a lot of the Holy Child image inside that comes in different sizes and colors.
Rain or shine, devotees keep their ground and unfazed. As they say, the Filipino faith is waterproof. Though you can always use your umbrella or the ones provided by the church colored in red and yellow.
Are you amazed? Wait until you witness hundreds of hands swaying in the air while singing the Gozos to Senyor Santo Niño, the Batobalani sa Gugma (Magnet of Love).
KANAMO MALOOY KA UNTA
NGA KANIMO NANGGILABA (2x)
This is the “chorus” of the song, the time to sway your hands to the Sto. Niño and the best time to offer your praises and thanksgiving to the Child Jesus for his mercy and love. It gives me goosebumps all the time.
The very short clip (taken from my phone) below shows you how the crowd transforms like a sea of hands waving back and forth in unison. Sometimes when I’m down and troubled, this part brings tears to my eyes.
VIVA PIT SENYOR!
(VIVA PIT SENYOR!)
And before the mass finally ends, you will hear this chant from the priest or the reader and the people will respond the same while raising their hands up. Viva Pit Senyor! It means to call upon or plead to the Senyor Sto. Nino.
If you attend the 7PM mass, you don’t only get to hear this chant. You can sing and dance with it. The traditional dance after the last mass is also a sight to behold. The song is like a petition for prayers to all the people whoever they are. Listen to the clip below and you will hear prayers for public employees, sidewalk vendors, friends, enemies, sickness, snatchers and even corrupt officials. It’s really fun! When you can relate, don’t forget to shout PIT SENYOR! 😀
Did you get to experience the Sto. Nino transformation last Sinulog? Don’t forget to share and spread the love. Pit Senyor! 🙂