Hundreds join Mandaue procession, witness fluvial parade
Veronica Ouano, 50, was holding a small image of the Sto. Niño on her left hand and an umbrella on her right.
She was deep in prayer while she walked the 1.7-kilometer distance from the National Shrine of St. Joseph to the Ouano Wharf in Mandaue City to witness the annual fluvial procession of the Sto. Niño and the Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Ouano said she was praying for good health. The Barangay Tabok resident said she has been suffering from severe coughing since last year and does not have money to see a doctor.
“Ako na lang i-ampo sa Sto. Niño nga iya kung milagrohan aron maayo ko sa akong sakit (I will just pray to the Sto. Niño for a miracle that will cure me from my sickness),” said Ouano, a laundry woman.
Ouano was among the hundreds of devotees who braved the early morning rains to join the foot procession from the national shrine to the Ouano Wharf in Barangay Looc in Mandaue City.
They brought their umbrellas as they joined the 3 a.m. send-off Mass officiated by Msgr. Daniel Sanico, team moderator of the National Shrine of St. Joseph, and who later walked the 1.7 kilometer stretch of road from the shrine to the Ouano Wharf. The send-off Mass was held an hour earlier than previous year’s 4 a.m. schedule, and the foot procession to bring the sacred icons to the Ouano Wharf started at 4:30 a.m.
This year, no firecracker or pyrotechnics were lighted along the procession route. Baby rockets and bombshells were only lighted when the head of the procession neared the main entrance of the Ouano Wharf owned by the family of businessman Antonio Ouano.
Police estimated the crowd of devotees inside the Ouano Wharf at about 3,000 people.
A dyAB report said the Chief Supt. Noli Taliño, head of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7), was among the hundreds who joined the send-off Mass at the national shrine.
Policemen were deployed on road intersections and along the procession route together with several security volunteers and barangay tanods.
Priests, sacristans and other church volunteers led the procession. Volunteers and student interns formed human barricades to secure the images of the Our Lady of Guadalupe and the image of the Sto. Niño, which were located about 20 feet away from each other.
Devotees quietly joined the procession. Some brought candles while others carried Sto. Niño images of different sizes.
The procession arrived at the wharf at about 5:50 a.m.
Light rains stopped as the images entered the gate of the Ouano Wharf.
The images were then unloaded from the carroza and placed aboard a waiting galleon, which was also boarded by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma.
Rosary-shaped balloons were released while people waved their hands as the galleon moved away from the wharf about 6:05 a.m.
Devotees stayed to watch the galleon leave the wharf even after it started to drizzle again.
The galleon moved to the other side of the Mactan Channel to also allow people crowding the Muelle Osmeña in Lapu-Lapu City to have a glimpse of the two images.
The galleon then moved towards the old Mandaue Mactan Bridge where hundreds were also waiting for the two images before it finally left for Pier 1 in Cebu City.
The sea remained very calm during the procession despite the early morning rains.
Light to moderate rains were experienced yesterday in Cebu City at 2 a.m., said Romeo Aguirre, a weather specialist of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration in Mactan.
Aguirre said that the rains were caused by the presence of a low pressure area in Northern Samar and the northeast monsoon (Amihan).
At least 300 vessels and motor bancas mostly adorned with red and yellow buntings joined the fluvial procession that arrived at the Pier 1 in Cebu City shortly before 8 a.m.
But unlike the previous year, devotees were not allowed to enter the Pier 1 compound to welcome the Sto. Niño and the Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Pier compound access was only limited to Sinulog dancers, church workers and volunteers and security personnel who were tasked to secure the image during the about a kilometer long foot procession back to the Basilica.
Devotees were left to crowd Legaspi Extension located outside of Pier 1.
Chief Insp. Christopher Navida, fluvial procession’s area supervisor, said he estimated the crowd, who welcomed back the images of the Sto. Niño and the Our Lady of Guadalupe at Pier 1 from the fluvial procession to the Basilica Minore del Sto. Nino de Cebu, to be at least 30,000.
Commander Dionlett Ampil of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said he is happy that fluvial procession participants were well behaved.
Ampil said only 57 vessels including motor bancas registered for the procession, but more than 300 vessels tailed the galleon which carried the Sto. Niño and the Our Lady of Guadalupe to Pier 1 in Cebu City.
“Overall, the activity was successful since the people coordinated and really followed the rules. Kahit nga yung panahon nakisama sa atin (Even the weather cooperated with us),” Ampil said.
Mandaue City Mayor Luigi Quisumbing said he was also grateful of the devotees’ cooperation and the Mandaue City personnel and the police for securing the devotees during the event.
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