LONGER, BUT FASTER TRASLACION
Heavy traffic along Mandaue-Cebu route; Sto. Niño fluvial and sea procession today
Despite taking a new and longer route, the Traslacion motorcade that brought the images of the Señor Sto. Niño and Our Lady of Guadalupe to Mandaue City yesterday arrived on time.
It was completed in one hour and 50 minutes, about an hour earlier than previous Traslacion motorcades.
Wider roads made for a smooth and orderly convoy from the Basilica del Sto. Niño in downtown Cebu City to the National Shrine of St. Joseph in Mandaue City, one of the highlights of the Fiesta Señor.
Escorts were prohibited from wiping the glass case of the image with handkerchiefs and towels offered by devotees.
“It was just so amazing. At first, many expressed apprehension about having a new route for the Traslacion. Some feared there may only be a few people. But the complete opposite happened,” said Fr. Jonas Mejares, basilica rector.
ROAD CLOSURE 10:30 AM
This morning, the image of the Holy Child will be returned to Cebu city in a fluvial procession at 6 a.m. down the Mactan Channel.
At 1:30 p.m., thousands of devotees will join the solemn foot procession along major roads of Cebu City.
(The route will be closed to traffic earlier at 10:30 a.m.)
The carrozas of St. Joseph, Our Lady of Consolation and the Sto. Niño de Cebu will pass Magallanes St., A. Borromeo St., Leon Kilat St., N. Bacalso Ave., V. Rama Ave., B. Rodriguez St., Fuente Osmeña, Osmeña Boulevard, and then back to the basilica.
In yesterday’s motorcade for the ritual transfer of the Sto. Niño image to Mandaue City, thousands of devotees waited by the roadside. They waved their hands, offered a prayer dance, and whispered prayers as the convoy passed.
The transfer to the National Shrine of St. Joseph in Mandaue City portrays a reunion of the Holy Family: the Child Jesus, his mother Mary, and foster father Joseph.
Some residents set up mini altars along the route which passed through barangays Banilad and Bakilid this year instead of the usual course through barangays Mabolo in Cebu City and Subangdaku in Mandaue City.
Next year, the motorcade will pass through Subangdaku again, said Mejares.
Around 90 traffic personnel were deployed along the Traslacion routes in the two cities.
Traffic flow was “manageable”, said Cebu City Transportation Office operations division chief Jonathan Tumulak.
“We temporarily closed the intersections as the motorcade passed by but we didn’t close the streets for a long time,” he said.
In Mandaue City, however, Traffic Enforcement Agency of Mandaue (TEAM) operations chief Glenn Antigua said traffic was very heavy for about an hour in streets near A.S. Fortuna Street.
The entire road was closed to traffic at 8:30 a.m. It was gradually opened as the convoy passed, but heavy traffic persisted.
Motorist Antonio Riquis, 47, was stranded for about two hours in his car.
“A trip to the Shrine should only take five minutes, but I don’t mind the traffic. To be able to witness the Traslacion is a blessing,” he said in Cebuano.
Hotel worker Dindo Bejo, 40, did not know the Traslacion was going to take place yesterday. He had to walk for about two kilometers because he could not get a jeepney ride to his workplace.
“It’s okay because this is for Sto. Niño. Besides, I’m having fun just looking at the motorcade,” he said in Cebuano.
Supt. Jimmy Aguisanda, operations chief of the Mandaue City Police Office, said the event was generally peaceful.
WALK WITH MARY
Earlier at dawn, about 200,000 people joined the “Penitential Walk With Mary” from Fuente Osmeña to the basilica in downtown Cebu City.
The Mass right after at the pilgrim center was jampacked.
“As we seek God’s mercy, let us also be merciful towards others. Just look at the persons around you, within your neighborhood. They might be in need of mercy,” said Msgr. Jose Montecillo, in his homily.
The theme of this year’s Fiesta Señor: “Sto. Niño: Wellspring of Mercy and Compassion.”
Felicisima Sumaylo, 70, traveled from her hometown in Panglao, Bohol to Cebu to witness the traslacion and take part in other fiesta festivities.
“Since childhood, I have entrusted myself to the Sto. Niño. I chose not to marry so I could devote all my time for the Lord,” she said.
After the Mass, the image of the Sto. Niño was brought to a red pickup as the people sang “Bato-Balani sa Gugma,” a hymn in honor of the Child Jesus.
About 10 cars and several motorcycles accompanied the images.
The motorcade started at 7:20 a.m. and reached the National Shrine of St. Joseph at 9:10 a.m. yesterday.
The motorcade passed through D. Jakosalem Street, General Maxilom Avenue, Gorordo Avenue, Archbishop Reyes Avenue, straight to Gov. M. Cuenco Avenue.
At the boundary of the cities of Cebu and Mandaue along A.S. Fortuna St. in barangay Banilad, a red carpet was rolled out for the convoy.
Sinulog Foundation, Inc. chairman Michael Rama and acting Mayor Edgardo Labella turned over the Traslacion convoy to Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes and Rep. Luigi Quisumbing.
A light rain fell as the convoy passed A.S. Fortuna Street.
At the Mandaue church, carillion bells pealed and devotees sang “Bato Balani sa Gugma” while waving their hands in the air in unison.
Students of the Mandaue City Comprehensive National High School and the Mandaue City College welcomed the images with Sinulog dances outside the national shrine.
Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale and priests of the National Shrine of St. Joseph waited at the main entrance. Also present at the church was Councilor Emmarie “Lollipop” Ouano-Dizon.
Msgr. Daniel Sanico, team moderator of the National Shrine of St. Joseph and vicar general of the Archdiocese of Cebu, stressed in his homily the need for every household to emulate the simple life of the Holy Family of Nazareth.
“Mary and Joseph had their share of difficulties and trials. But they accepted the challenges as a family. They did God’s will, and in doing God’s will, God’s mercy came upon mankind,” he said in Cebuano.
Sanico also urged the people to go beyond the pomp and circumstance and ponder on the significance of the event.
“In joining the Traslacion, what have we become? Do we bear fruits because of this celebration or is this just a mere event we anticipate every year?” Sanico said.
After an overnight stay in Mandaue City, the images will be brought back to the Basilica del Sto. Niño in a fluvial procession down the Mactan Channel today.
It will leave Ouano wharf in Mandaue City at 6 a.m.
At Pier 1, devotees will hold a procession to the basilica for the reenactment of the first baptism, Holy Mass and planting of the cross by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in Philippine soil.
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