January 17 | Cebu, Philippines
It has been a tradition to have the image of the Child Jesus visit His parents before His grand day. The icon will be leaving His home in the Basilica del Sto. Niño which is in the heart of Cebu City and will be paraded to His foster father in the St. Joseph Parish in Mandaue City, another city next to His domicile.
A great number of dynamic and lively devotees will be following the Infant, as He make His way, once a year, to His father Joseph. The Niño stays with His father for a day and a night, while believers from nearby cities and municipalities can join with Jesus’ celebration and have a vigil in the parish.
After an overnight stay with His father, He will be voyaging His way to His mother in a nearby island in Lapu-Lapu. The ceremonies in Cebu begin with this early morning fluvial procession, reenacting the coming of the Spaniards. The Holy Child Jesus is usually kept in a glass case bedecked with blossoming flowers, which will be carried by a “galleon” towards His destination.
The sound of drums beating and trumpets roaring in the wee hours of the morning would not affect the solemnity of the ritual. Fireworks, ship’s bullhorns, sirens and yells from the Sto. Nino devotees can add vibrance to the decorated motorboats sailing under a brilliant sun. Air Force helicopters from Mactan Air Base and other private planes will be hovering above and showering petals in the flotilla, which include motorized bancas, passenger boats, yachts, barges and fastcrafts.