I am an Aklanon. Therefore, I am convinced that the best Sto.Niño fiesta can only be experienced in my hometown of Ibajay in Aklan.
I mean I thought it was the only Sto. Niño fiesta that really mattered.
But going to Cebu for the Sinulog was a genuine revelation.
The Sinulog is Cebu’s biggest and most colorful festival. It is a grand celebration that takes place every third Sunday of January in honor of the Sto. Niño. Like Aklan’s Ati-Atihan or Iloilo’s Dinagyang, the Sinulog is a time for getting together with one’s family and community, sharing thanksgiving meals, and generally having a wonderful time.
But what really impressed me with Sinulog is its focus on the Sto. Niño. I have never seen a whole city united in their devotion. Everywhere you turn, you will see people carrying their own Niño, or carrying their children dressed as the Niño.
Don’t get me wrong. Cebuanos know how to party. But that comes after the final mass celebrated by the Archbishop of Cebu.
After the grand procession.
After people have offered their final prayer of thanks to the Child Jesus.
And then they party!
Streets are closed to give way to the revelries. Shots are given by strangers to strangers. One family even invited us into their home to share the sumptuous feast they have prepared.
And best of all, food is everywhere!
I actually felt a bit nostalgic because it reminded me of the Ati-Atihan celebration in Aklan!
But despite missing out on this year’s Ati-Atihan, I have no regrets. It was great getting to know Cebu a little more and experience for myself how similar we are in our devotion for the Sto. Niño.
Viva Señor Sto. Niño!