Sto. Niño devotees converge along fluvial route

Thousands showed up for the fluvial procession of the Senior Santo Niño icon from Ouano wharf in Mandaue City to Pier 1 in Cebu City Saturday.

Devotees came in boats or watched from the sidelines — atop the first Mandaue-Mactan bridge,  on shorelines, from the ports in Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, and Cebu cities, and along the Niño’s procession route from the pier to the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño. (More photos)

Shouting “Señor, Señor”, they waved, released balloons, threw flowers and confetti as the boat carrying the image of the Child Jesus made its way along the Mactan channel at close to 7 a.m.

It is a yearly tradition for the Sto. Niño icon to visit His parents before His feast day. The image left the Basilica on Friday for His foster father’s home at the St. Joseph Parish in Mandaue City.

From Mandaue City, the Sto. Niño image was brought in a procession to a boat waiting at the wharf. The image then crosses the channel to His mother Birhen sa Regla or Virgin of the Rule in the nearby island of Lapu-Lapu. Afterwards, the boat carrying the Sto. Niño image makes its way along the channel for the ceremonial fluvial parade.

The fluvial parade is also a reenactment of the historic arrival of Ferdinand Magellan in Cebu in 1521 and culminates in the baptism of Rajah Human and his wife Queen Juana at the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño.

The Holy Child image now at the Basilica was supposedly presented by Magellan as a gift to Juana on the occasion of her baptism.

The Sto. Niño image is carried on a procession to the Basilica in a glass case bedecked with blossoming flowers.

Fireworks, drumbeats, and shouts of Sto. Niño devotees greeted the image’s arrival at the Basilica at close to 10 a.m. (Sunnex)

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