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Kaplag Festival: Finding the Child Jesus

By: Ador Vincent S. Mayol April 28,2016 - 10:55 PM

KAPLAG STREET DANCING/APRIL 28, 2016: Ati-Atihan Festival dancers from of Kalibo, Aklan join the street dancing of the 451st Anniversary of the fiding of the image of Sto Niño or known as "Kaplag" from Fuente Osmeña to Basilika del Sto Niño church.(CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

ATI-ATIHAN dancers from Kalibo, Aklan join the street dancing held along Osmeña Blvd. as one of the highlights of Kaplag Festival, which celebrates the finding of the image of Señor Sto. Niño inside a burned down hut in Cebu 450 years ago. (CDN PHOTO / JUNJIE MENDOZA)

Let us remember the past, embrace the future with hope and live the present moment with passion.

This was the message of Fr. Alejandro Moral, the prior general of the Order of St. Augustine (OSA), as Cebuanos yesterday commemorated the day the image of the Sto. Niño was found in Cebu 450 years ago.

About 60 priests last night celebrated Mass and led devotees in dancing the traditional Sinulog for about five minutes as fireworks lit up the night sky to end the 450th Kaplag grand celebrations.

Dance troupes representing three of the country’s biggest festivals — Dinagyang in Iloilo City, Ati-Atihan in Aklan, and Cebu’s Sinulog — as well as candle vendors, members of the Cofradia del Sto. Niño and the Sandiego Dance Troupe performed during the event.

Street dancing started at 4 p.m. from Fuente Osmeña to the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño in downtown Cebu City.

Fr. Harold Rentoria, executive director of the grand Kaplag celebrations, said representatives of the Dinagyang and Ati-Atihan festivals were also asked to offer dance presentations as these festivals, like the Sinulog, are held in honor of the Child Jesus.

The two-year Kaplag grand celebration was opened in 2014. Last year, three milestones were celebrated: the 450th anniversary of the finding of the image of the Sto. Niño and also of the Augustinians’ presence in the country; and the 50th anniversary of the Sto. Niño church’s elevation to the status of a minor basilica.

“Kaplag,” which means “finding” in Cebuano, recalls the discovery of the Sto. Niño icon by Spanish soldier Juan Camus on April 28, 1565. He found it in a burned nipa hut after Spanish forces set fire to the village.

Camus was part of the Spanish expedition led by Miguel Lopez de Legaspi to reclaim the islands after explorer Ferdinand Magellan’s first visit in 1521.

A reenactment of the discovery was staged at the Pilgrim Center, which was adorned with flowers and yellow and red flags, the official colors of the Sto. Niño.

The original Sto. Niño is currently housed in a marble chapel beside the main altar of the Basilica. This is the same icon that Magellan gave as baptismal gift to Queen Juana of Cebu in 1521.

The feast of the Sto. Niño is celebrated every third Sunday of January and is the source of the Sinulog festivities.

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TAGS: Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño, Cebu, Fuente Osmeña, Kaplag

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