Devotion to Santo Niño

Cebu, Philippines

Considered as the prime and oldest of all Christian relics in the Philippines, the image of the Santo Niño continues to shine as the guide that attracts the hearts of the Filipino people. Every January, an annual festival is held in Cebu City to honor the vision of the Santo Niño, called the Sinulog. The Sinulog is also a dance ritual that commemorates the Cebuano people’s pagan origin, and their acceptance of Roman Catholicism. Presently, the original Santo Niño is located in Cebu’s Basilica de Santo Niño and is dressed like royalty with its ornate decorations, including a sash adorned with old Castilian coins and a Golden Fleece with a ram pendant reputedly given by King Charles III in the 17th century. The image now stands in grandeur that continues to captivate the hearts and souls of his fervent devotees. Reproductions of the Santo Niño can be found on altars in houses, business establishments, government offices and even in public utility vehicles throughout the Visayas. Filipinos dedication and devotion to the Santo Niño de Cebu is something one cannot miss when in the region.

Police escort the image of the Santo Nino through the streets of Cebu City during its solemn procession.
Thousands of devotees gather for a an early morning procession through the streets of Cebu.
Thousands gather for Mass at the Basilica de Santo Nino in Cebu City.
The Basilica Minore del Santo Niño in Cebu houses the original Santo Niño with thousands of people a day coming to offer prayers and petitions to the Holy Child. During Sinulog people will wait for two to three hours to see the original Santo Niño.
Some devotees will walk on their knees from the street to the alter of the basilica.
A ritual to commemorate the Christianizing of the Cebuano’s by the Spanish.
A woman praying at the side of the glassed housed original Santo Niño at the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño.
Devotees gather in front the Cebu's Basilica de Santo Nino to pay homage and celebrate Mass. / Waiving to Santo Nino.
Alter boys lead the procession during Sinulog Mass at the Basilica de Santo Nino.
Procession of the Santo Nino through the streets of Cebu City brings together thousands even when its raining.
Dancers perform at the Basilica after mass in preparation for the grande celebration and dancing during the street parade.
A dancers prays to her Santo Nino during the final day of the Sinulog celebration.
A fluvial procession for the Santo Nino in the channel of Cebu/Mactan.
Street dancing during the Sinulog grand parade. / The Santo Nino is taken from the fluvial procession and will continue through the streets until it reaches the Basilica de Santo Nino.
Boat proceed through the Cebu/Mactan channel for the Sinulog fluvial procession.
A women painting a reproduction of the Santo Nino. Many reproductions are sold to be placed in houses and businesses throughout the region.
A priest blesses devotees with holy water.
Street dancing during the Sinulog grand parade.
Hundreds of umbrellas during a rainy mass at Basilica del Santo Nino / A devotee worshiping at a Sinulog mass.
Contests are held for the best Sinulog dancers and most decorative costumes.
Thousands gather to celebrate Sinulog Mass at Cebu's Basilica de Santo Nino. Here they are singing the "Bato Balani sa Gugma," to adore the Holy Child.
A candle vendor waits outside the basilica as many visitors will burn candles to offer prayers for loved ones.
Devotees waiving to the original Santo Nino as it passes in front of them.
People paying homage to the original Santo Nino.
A devotee with his Santo Nino during mass.
An early morning procession during Sinulog week in Cebu City.
Early morning procession.
A Sinulog street dancer dressed as a native Aeta indigenous person.

Tagged: asia, catholic, cebu, Christianity, documentary, philippines, photography, photojournalist, religion, sinulog,
Posted on: Mar 12, 2011