The Feast of the Santo Niño: An Introduction to the History of a Cebuano Devotion

By: Sofia Aliño Logarta April 26,2017 - 10:01 PM


Resil B.Mojares in the introduction states, “This book is meant to be a concise, well-researched, and popularly readable account of the history of the Santo Niño devotion in Cebu.” Now that local history is the subject of Araling Panlipunan even in the intermediate grades, we have a very good book for the social studies teachers and for the students. It is not only the story of the devotion; it also narrates the events in Cebu’s history.

Because it is concise, no one would be discouraged from reading it through since it is a slim volume and easy to carry around. For the classroom, it is very useful because students’ attention are now called not only to the content but also to the historical sources, and Mojares has provided these very well.

Even if it is short, it still has the actual complexity. Mojares explains very well how the story of the devotion did not not stand in isolation of the developments in Cebu. When the economy of Cebu flourished, the progress had its impact on the devotion: “It was not until the nineteenth century that the material conditions existed for the rise of the devotion, in terms of population growth, an expanding trade-based economy focused on the port of Cebu, increasing political and economic integration of out lying areas into the city, and a new self-consciousness and pride among the inhabitants of the city.”

He also brings the connection with national history. We can read about secularization in Cebu. Of course, we get to know what happened to Cebu with the shift from Spanish colonial rule to the entry of the Americans. Page 98 shows a photo of Fr. Thomas McHugh, CSsR, rector of the monastery, to Fr. Leandro Moran, OSA, rector of the Sto. Niño Church “after its safekeeping at the Redemptorist Monastery for seven months during the liberation bombings of Cebu.”

“Popularly readable account” can truly describe it because while it is not long, it contains many very interesting details regarding the devotion, the Sto. Niño, Cebu and the Cebuanos. Indeed it says much about how the Cebuanos have evolved.

As we celebrate the “Kaplag,” we are indeed blessed to have this beautiful book to help us reflect, hence always grow in our spiritual practices.

* * *

Last Saturday, April 22, I attended Tertulya sa Bagong Panitikang Sebwano. It was actually a series of discussions on the state of Cebuano poetry writing, short story writing and drama. Walang Kapatid, a book in Cebuano which is now accompanied by a Filipino translation, was also launched.

I was glad to learn that the enthusiasm and diligence to write Cebuano poetry has been maintained by mentoring, publications and organizations (Wila, Bathalad). We all need to help in getting it more exposed and disseminated. Lamberto Ceballos, Desiree Balota and Jonalyn P. Gabales informed us of these.

Januar Yap, Niño Augustine Loyola and Liean Haney Jane Rama talked about developments in Cebuano short story writing. Januar Yap told the audience about more stories with an urban setting that are more realistic and less self-conscious. Jane Rama narrated her efforts at studying previous female writers and winners to find out about gaps, areas to be still explored. Niño Augustine Loyola confessed that his main consideration was really how he was inspired or moved to write.

Monsignor Augustine Ancajas was saddened by the limited enthusiasm about drama. Haidde Emmie Palapar was optimistic that recent attempts to make this grow, mentioning the Faigao support. Msgr.

Ting says he is working at community theater and will be having workshops and contests for religious plays related to the big celebration on the beginning of Christianity in Cebu and the Philippines.

I want to thank Dr. Hope S. Yu for facilitating the entire affair; it really stimulated my interest in Cebuano culture in general and Cebuano writing in particular.

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TAGS: Cebuano, devotion, feast, history, Nino, Santo
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