Frequently Asked Questions on Fiesta Seňor 2015 January 9, 2015Posted by Fr. Felmar Castrodes Fiel, SVD in Archdiocese of Cebu, Cebu.
Tags: Pilgrim Center of the Basilica del Sto. Niño de Cebu, Sto. Niño
Question: How many times the Fiesta Senyor has been celebrated since 1565?
Answer: Fiesta Senyor 2015 is the 450th annual celebration since it was started by the Augustinians.
Q: When is the Fiesta Senyor 2015 going to be celebrated?
A: Fiesta Senyor 2015 is going to be celebrated from January 8 to 18, 2015.
Q: What is the THEME of Fiesta Senyor 2015?
A: The theme the Augustinians have chosen for this year’s Fiesta Senyor is “SNR. STO. NIÑO, HOPE OF THE PEOPLE.”
Q: Who are the outgoing Hermano and Hermana Mayores in this year’s Fiesta Senyor?
A: The outgoing hermano mayor is MR. JAY F. ROBLE and hermana mayor is MRS. ELVINA N. ROBLE
Q: Who are the incoming Hermano and Hermana Mayores for Fiesta Senyor 2015.
A: The incoming hermano mayor is DR. JOSE ENRIQUE R. DE LAS PEÑAS and hermana mayor is DRA. JILL JOHNS DE LAS PEÑAS.They will be officially installed during the First Day 5:30 AM Novena-Mass.
Q: What are the HIGHLIGHTS of Fiesta Senyor 2015?
A: The highlights of Fiesta Senyor 2015 are:
- Opening Salvo: PENITENTIAL WALK WITH JESUS – 4:30 AM January 9
- NINE-DAY NOVENA – January 8-16
- CHILDREN’S MASS – 8:30 AM January 11
- PENITENTIAL WALK WITH MARY – from Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish starting at 3:30 AM; from Fuente Osmena starting at 4:30 AM January 16
- TRASLACION MOTORCADE – 7:00 AM January 16
- FLUVIAL PARADE – 6:00 AM January 17
- RE-ENACTMENT OF THE ARRIVAL OF THE FLUVIAL PARADE, FOOT PROCESSION FOM PIER UNO TO THE BASILICA, RE-ENACTMENT OF THE FIRST MASS & BAPTISM – 9:00 to 11:30 AM January 17
- SOLEMN PROCESSION OF THE MIRACULOUS IMAGE – starting at 1:30 PM January 17
- VESPERAS PONTIFICAL MASS & TRADITIONAL RELIGIOUS SINULOG – 6:00 PM January 17
- THANKSGIVING MASS – January 19
- HUBO MASS – January 23
Other activities and highlights are particularly set forth in the general program of activities in posters distributed to parishes, schools, companies and business establishments.
- What is the PENITENTIAL WALK WITH JESUS? When is it held?
A: Every annual Fiesta Senyor begins with a penitential walk with Jesus, which is a sure way of starting the right way this great religious celebration, where devotees wake up early dawn and make a personal sacrifice to make themselves worthy to celebrate the annual feast of the Holy Child Jesus and thank Him for the countless graces and blessings they have received from Him. On the first day of the novena (January 8, 2014), the Augustinians and devotees, with their Sto. Niño images and candles, assemble in Fuente Osmena starting at 4:00 AM and commence the penitential procession at 4:30 AM towards the Basilica for the First Novena-Mass at 5:30 PM. Those who cannot join the penitential walk can follow the religious activity by tuning in to the radio stations that air the community rosary and hymns.
Q: For Fiesta Senyor 2015, when is the NINE-DAY NOVENA held?
A: This year’s novena starts on January 8 until January 16, 2014 with the following daily Novena-Masses schedule: 4:00 AM (except on January 8 & 16), 5:30, 7:00, 8:30, 10:00, 11:30, 1:00 PM, 2:30 , 4:00, 5:30, and 7:00.
- When is the CHILDREN’S MASS scheduled?
- The Children Mass is scheduled on January 11, 2015 at 8:30 AM Novena-Mass which is principally sponsored by the Colegio del Santo Niño de Cebu.
Q: When is the PENITENTIAL WALK WITH MARY held?
A: The Penitential Walk with Mary is usually scheduled in the dawn of the ninth day of the novena (January 16, 2015). The Augustinians and devotees join with the Parish Priest and Marian devotees from the Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in honoring the Blessed Mother of the Holy Child Jesus who played a very important role in the history of salvation and who is viewed as an excellent example of humility, sacrifice and love for all mankind. It is no wonder that during the candle-lit penitential procession, aside from the Carroza of the Our Lady of Guadalupe, images of the Blessed Mother are brought along by most devotees, especially the Guadalupe parishioners who start their procession from the parish grounds to V. Rama Avenue then to B. Rodriguez Street earlier at about 3:30 AM just in time to reach Fuente Osmena at 4:30 AM where the Augustinians and the rest of the devotees are waiting. The Holy Rosary is prayed with hymns sung in between the mysteries aired over the radio for the sick and those who cannot join the procession to follow. The ninth day 5:30 Novena-Traslacion Mass is presided by the Guadalupe parish priest.
Q: What is TRASLACION? When is it scheduled? What is its route?
A: Traslacion is the bringing or transferring of the replicas of the images of the Sto. Niño and Our Lady of Guadalupe from the Basilica to St. Joseph Shrine in Mandaue City for an overnight vigil. It is commenced with a Misa de Traslacion at 5:30 AM to be followed immediately by the Traslacion Motorcade bearing the images of the Sto. Niño and the Our Lady of Guadalupe at 7:15 AM.
For this year, the Cebu City route of the motorcade is as follows: from the Basilica Osmena Boulevard – left turn to M.J. Cuenco Avenue (Mabolo) until the boundary of the cities of Cebu and Mandaue in Mabolo area.
From the Mabolo boundary, the Traslacion Motorcade proceeds to St. Joseph National Shrine where the icons are warmly welcomed by the Mandauehanons with shouts of petitions and the pealing of church bells for the Traslacion Mass to be presided by shrine’s parish priest.
- Why is there a FLUVIAL PARADE? When is it scheduled?
A: The Fluvial Parade is the re-enactment of the historical arrival of the Magellan’s galleons “at the mouth of the cove of Cebu called Mandaue at the noon of April 7, 1521” bringing the image of the Santo Niño to Cebu.
The fluvial parade, which is a religious-civic celebration, started in the early 1980’s, with performers portraying Queen Juana carrying the Image and King Humabon and the Spaniards taking the Image by sea from the port of Mandaue to the port of Cebu, is held on the Saturday morning (January 17, 2015) before the Sunday feast of the Santo Niño, the fluvial parade has become one of the highlights of the annual feast. The fluvial parade is preceded by the early dawn Holy Mass at 4:00 AM and the foot procession from the St. Joseph National Shrine to the Ouano wharf where the Image is placed on the “galleon” together with the official participants of the re-enactment in preparation for the 6:00 AM fluvial parade.
Q: Can other vessels participate in the FLUVIAL PARADE? How?
A: Yes. Other vessels are allowed to participate in the fluvial parade. However, for safety and security reasons, their owners or masters must have their vessels duly registered with and accredited by the Coast Guard days prior to the Fluvial Parade. The vessels assemble at the designated area near the Mandaue Ouano wharf starting at 5:00 AM, and their officers are enjoined to strictly abide by the Coast Guard rules and regulations from start to the arrival of the “galleon” at Pier Uno to avoid any sea mishap or accident.
Q: What happens during the arrival of the FLUVIAL PARADE in Pier Uno?
A: At about 8:00 AM, various dancing groups enthusiastically and warmly welcome the arrival of the icons of the Santo Niño and Our Lady of Guadalupe with sinulog dances and shouts of Pit Senyor! A foot procession immediately follows from Pier Uno to the Basilica Pilgrim Center for the Re-Enactment Of Cebu’s First Mass & Baptism.
Q: What is the significance of the RE-ENACTMENT OF CEBU’S FIRST MASS & BAPTISM?
A: The Re-Enactment of Cebu’s First Mass and Baptism has a very important historical and religious significance because the event actually took place on April 14, 1521, during which date Magellan planted the huge wooden Christian Cross at its current site in Magallanes Street, and because the first recorded miracle of the Santo Niño in Cebu happened. Historian Pigafetta narrated that “when the priest got ready for the ceremony, the Queen of Cebu, wife of King Humabon, was shown the little statue of the Infant Jesus. She was deeply touched and tearfully asked to be baptized. She wanted to replace their idols with the image of the Santo Niño and so this was given to her. On that very occasion, the early Cebuanos numbering nearly a thousand were converted and baptized with their King and Queen. Thus the seed of Christianity, cultivated and nurtured by the Spanish Evangelists grew and flowered throughout the 7,000 islands.”
Q: What happen during the RE-ENACTMENT OF CEBU’S FIRST MASS & BAPTISM?
A: The Basilica Rector presides the Re-Enactment of Cebu’s First Mass and Baptism that historically took place on April 14, 1521, participated by Mandauehanons performing the roles of King Humabon, Queen Juana, the natives and the Spanish priests and soldiers. At the end of the religious ceremonies, the accredited sinulog groups — Cofradia del Sto. Niño, Guadalupe, Mabolo, and the San Diego Dance Troupe — perform their respective dance offering to the Holy Child Jesus enshrined at the altar of the Basilica Pilgrim Center.
Q: When does the SOLEMN PROCESSION OF THE MIRACULOUS IMAGE OF THE STO. NIÑO start?
A: Right after the Re-enactment at noon, all participating devotees start to assemble at their designated Division assembly areas. At 1:00 PM, the Solemn Procession starts to move.
Q: What is the PROCESSION ROUTE this year?
A: Generally, the route of the solemn procession changes every year. The procession route for Fiesta Senyor 2015 is as follows: Assembly area in D. Jakosalem – Osmena Boulevard until Fuente Osmena, right turn to Gen. Maxilom Avenue, right turn to New Imus Road then left turn to M.J. Cuenco Avenue, and right turn to Osmena Boulevard and back to the Basilica..
Q: What are the various EXIT POINTS for the general devotees at the end of the procession?
A: Except for the 3 carrozas, for the convenience of all devotees, they can exit at Plaza Independecia and Lapulapu Street
Q: What is the composition of the various DIVISIONS, and what are their ASSEMBLY AREAS?
A: The various Divisions assemble at the following assembly areas:
DIVISION 1 (Acolytes, PNP Band, Knights of Columbus, Colegio del Sto. Nino, Basilica Mandated Groups, Carroza of St. Joseph, USC Band, Government Officials) : Osmena Boulevard from corner RR Landon all the way to corner P. Del Rosario
DIVISION 2 (Carroza of the Blessed Virgin Mary, UC Band and Colleges and Universities arranged on first come-first on the line basis) : Osmena Boulevard from corner P. del Rosario all the way to Basilica
DIVISION 3 (Religious Organizations): D. Jakosalem St. from Basilica then to V. Gullas St. until corner Mabini St
DIVISION 4 (General Devotees): D. Jakosalem St. from corner V. Gullas then to Colon Street
- When is the STO. NIÑO CARROZA expected to arrive back at the Basilica?
A: The Sto. Niño Carroza is expected to return to the Basilica at about 6:00 PM, at the earliest, to be followed immediately by the Vesperas Pontifical Mass to be presided by Bishop Arturo M. Bastes. The liturgical celebration ends with the Traditional Religious Sinulog and fireworks.
Q: Are firecrackers and kwitis (rockets) allowed during the Solemn Procession?
A: No. Because of lack of safe space along the route and due to their hazardous nature, firecrackers, kwitis and others of similar make are absolutely prohibited during the procession. This is to protect the crowd from any untoward incident or injuries. Everyone, therefore, is expected to abide with this policy.
- So, what are allowed during the procession?
A: Devotees along the route may use the more modern and safer FIREWORKS which soar upward before exploding safely and colorfully in the sky without the dangerous bamboo or wooden sticks.
- What makes the TRADITIONAL RELIGIOUS SINULOG different from the Sinulog Mardi Gras held the next day?
A: The Sinulog Mardi Gras held every feast day, which has become huge tourist attraction, is a civic, cultural and religious affair and is organized mainly by the Sinulog Foundation with the strong support of the Cebu City government. The performers that come from various schools, private organizations, artists, and local government units in and outside of Cebu, with complex and beautiful choreographies to the bouncy and animated beats of symphonic drums and other musical instruments under the supervision and training of professional and renown choreographers and instrumentalists, perform before spectators lining the parade route and before several panels of judges strategically placed along the route.
The Traditional Religious Sinulog is much different from the first. In the words of Fr. Andrew Batayola, OSA, “Sinulog does not just happen every January. It is a daily event around the Basilica del Santo Niño de Cebu, sans the color and festivities. The performers are not dancing in groups but in solitude; not young and bouncy but old and hunched. Their acts are not done with complicated choreographies but with simple moves; not with thunderous beats but with murmured requests. They don’t perform before an audience but before a miraculous icon, not for an award but for a favor.”
During the Fiesta Senyor in January though, this simple sinulog assumes a bigger volume and impact because it is now done by the entire community of devotees praying to God together in a ritualistic dance.
The communitarian Traditional Religious Sinulog is, by its name, religious in nature, closely connected to the Holy Mass and organized by the Augustinian Community. But more importantly, what makes the Traditional Religious Sinulog different from the other is that all devotees together with the bishops, Augustinians, priests and the religious, who number in tens of thousands who participate and attend the Pontifical Mass in the Pilgrim Center, the Basilica and the surrounding streets, dance the Sinulog to the simple beats of the ordinary drums as one praying community, raising their communitarian and individual petitions together when they praise and thank God, and seek His guidance and blessings when they now pray more emphatically what they usually murmur “Pit Senyor! Viva Senyor Sto. Niño! Viva Pit Senyor!” This is what happens at the end of the Vesperas Pontifical Mass, which sometimes lasts an hour. Surprisingly though, even after the community religious sinulog has ended, there are still multitudes of devotees, by groups, families or individuals who continue the sinulog offering for several more hours.
Since Fiesta Senyor 2011, another tradition has been initiated or, more correctly, expanded, that is, the usual final hymn at the end of each of the 7:00 PM Novena-Mass during the 9-day novena period is now replaced with a shorter version of this Traditional Religious Sinulog. This gives ample opportunity to thousands of devotees who cannot join anymore the Saturday Vesperas Traditional Religious Sinulog due to work, ailment, age, lack of space, or because they come from far away places and cannot comeback for the Vesperas celebration.
- What is the relevance of this TRADITIONAL RELIGIOUS SINULOG?
A: In the words of the Archbishop Emeritus of the Archdiocese of Cebu, Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, for four hundred forty (nine) years now, “we have been saying, ‘Pit Senyor!’ to mean ‘we worship you, Senyor Sto. Niño,’ ‘we praise you,’ ‘we petition you,’ and ‘we thank you’… . ‘Pit Senyor’ was not just a Cebuano way of greeting a fellow devotee. It was and will always and everywhere be a form of prayer to Senyor Sto. Niño de Cebu by every Filipino who has been baptized like ‘Reina Juana’, and who vowed to behave accordingly as a God-fearing citizen and as a law-abiding Christian.”
Q: What are the highlights during the FEAST DAY, January 18, 2015
A: These are the important events scheduled on the Feast Day:
- Mañanita Mass at 4:00 AM
- Pontifical Mass presided by any and the Official Launching of the Preparations for the year 2015’s Celebration of the 450th Kaplag Anniversary and Augustinian Presence in the Philippines and the 50th Anniversary of the Sto. Niño Church as Basilica Minore at 6:00 AM
- Masses during the usual Sunday schedule
- Traditional Religious Sinulog after the Pontifical Mass and the last 7:00 PM Holy Mass.
Q: What is the significance of HUBO MASS?
A: Hubo (dressing down) is a solemn service that formally “signifies the closing of the yearly grand fiesta” where the gala and ceremonial vestments of the image are replaced with the ordinary, non-ceremonial attire prior to the re-enthronement of the image at the side chapel of His Sanctuary. According to Augustinian historian Fr. Arnel Antonio Dizon, OSA, the Hubo and the Pag-ilis have “deeper symbolic message that challenges the faithful devotees of the Santo Niño … to conversion and renewal of thinking, doing and relating” and “to a decisive transformation of one’s self like the Holy Child who grew up in wisdom, charity and truthful to God’s plan.” Thus, the “Hubo ritual officially ends the activities for the Santo Niño Fiesta, but not the devotion to the Santo Niño which goes on and on through the years, becoming more and more fervent and drawing more devotees with every grace, both spiritual and material, that comes from the miraculous Child God that is the Santo Niño de Cebu.”
Viva Senyor Sto. Niño! Pit Senyor!