Malilong: Remembering a fiesta

I WAS eight or nine years old when my late mother brought me and my sister to Cebu for the first time for the feast of the Sto. Niño. There were eight of us, including members of another family of pilgrims and the motorized banca operator. The little boat groaned from our collective weight but otherwise the trip from our town in southeastern Masbate to Tapilon in Daanbantayan was uneventful.

My mother told us that the trip was in fulfillment of a “panaad.” She said that the year before, when I was sick and had convulsions, she prayed to the Sto. Niño to heal me and promised to bring me to Cebu to kiss his image if she earned the favor.

Doctors were unheard of in our own town at that time and we had to depend on the mananambal for “me-dical” care. Ap-parently, the “oracion” that was written on a small piece of paper soaked in a glass of water that I drank did not work so she decided to strike a bargain with the Sto. Niño.

I can’t say if the fever that gave me seizures subsided on its own or if I got well by divine intervention. But my mother, a simple lady who finished only Grade I (her parents told her to quit school to help them with the household and farming chores as soon as she learned how to read and write), was one who honored her word. (more)

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