THOUSANDS of devotees braved the chilly morning air and a steady drizzle to view the images of the Señor Sto. Niño and Our Lady of Guadalupe in yesterday morning’s two-hour fluvial procession from Mandaue to Cebu City.
The Coast Guard declared the event as peaceful and orderly, and marred by no major events. Last year, a motor banca capsized off a private wharf in Mandaue City.
Maritime authorities, who deployed sea marshals and radio communicators, managed to keep latecomers and unregistered craft at bay.
But a perennial problem surfaced: some confusion as motorized bancas tried to overtake the lead vessel upon reaching Cebu City’s pier.
Some motor bancas went ahead apparently to get a closer view of the “galleon” bearing the glass-encased images of the Señor Sto. Niño and Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The galleon is a private yacht of the Ouano family, which has traditionally been used to bring the images back to Cebu City on the eve of the fiesta.
Reporters noticed that a tugboat got rear-ended by a bigger vessel, while other boats nearly collided as they struggled for room in the narrow Mactan Channel. More than 100 seacraft joined the parade.
Still, overcast skies and a light rain failed to dampen the enthusiasm of thousands of devotees, who lined up on the first Mandaue-Mactan Bridge and various piers in the cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu.
The devotees, most of them clad in jackets and caps and bearing umbrellas, were already in place more than two hours before the fluvial parade sailed at 7 a.m.
The annual religious event is meant to remind devotees of the historic arrival of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in Cebu in 1521. (more)