This year, I went on my very first solo flight Sinulog mass. 25 years in the island and I finally grew the balls to head on to the Basilica, by myself on a speeding 17B jeep at around five in the morning. It was a Friday, the last of the novena masses, so I got to join a bit for the Walk with Mary procession. I didn't even know how to get to the Basilica. I just followed the general direction of the people carrying little Santo Nino images in their hands. It was still dark out, but then you could hear the crowd singing the Gozos, and the procession lit the entire Colon Street as it made its way back to the church. I followed the sound. The crowd was so thick, I couldn't manage to get in the church. As I stood there in the street hearing mass with hundreds of other devotees, they had to call in the paramedics at least twice and a couple of the older ones had to be taken out on a stretcher. I was hoping I wouldn't pass out, too.

The sun shone over us as the Gozos were sung again. I love listening to it, because it's actually a story of how the old Sugbuanons found the image of the Child Jesus in an old hut, and how it shaped the course of our history. A story sung. This is one of the things that bind Cebuanos together. Even if you're not Christian, culturally this is us, too. 

The crowd was so thick, most of us outside didn't even take communion. The mass ended and we were still waiting in line to be given host. There was a collective groan of disappointment. But as I tried to make my way home I saw this lay minister still giving communion. I got the tiniest piece of broken host I've ever had, but I took what I could get. :)

I felt pretty blessed. 

Going on that pre-dawn jeep ride to downtown was another first. What an achievement from the wimpy island girl. Downtown is kind of scary to wimps, but it's pretty in the mornings, before the chaos sets in. 

The photos in this set were taken the day after, when we went to mass. The image of the Sto Nino had just come in from the fluvial parade down the Mactan channel.

My favorite part was seeing how a Sto. Nino image is assembled. For something so revered, seeing it together with glue guns and rugby makes it seem so mundane instead. Which reminds us that our faith should be rooted in God himself, and His love for us; not just the image of Him.

I'm so happy with this because downtown was never my turf. It's only lately that I've managed to navigate it without getting lost, arrested for jaywalking or both. I even made the commute home. Aren't you proud of me. :)

I sure am. :)

This is my favorite Sinulog story so far. What's yours?


Krish. :)

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