Last Christmas my mom asked me something very different as a gift. She wanted new vestments for our Sto.Nino. Our Nino (image of the Holy Child of Prague) is very small and has been with the family since 1981 when Pope John Paul visited Cebu City, Philippines. He has never changed his vestments and has only been taken out of our home in the past 3 years for the annual procession. Prior to that, I never thought about bringing him with me for the procession or having a change of clothes made for him. This request from my mom was a pleasant idea. Why not?
We never got around to it until after the Christmas Holidays and the novenario was well on its way. After 30 years, our Nino will have a fashion make – over. His old garments consisted of a white tunic and a red cape made from some felt material with modest trimmings. He lost his orb and scepter in the recent years that we have been taking him out for the procession. His crown is broken on one end and has lost its sheen.
It is indeed time for a change.
My mom has already made arrangements with a lady named Sephine (short for Josephine) just outside the Basilica. So after attending the 4th novena mass, we went to her stall and discussed the specifications of the new outfit. I had no idea that the garment making for the Nino’s was a thriving cottage industry. According to Sephine, it is only around Christmas up to the Sinulog when they are really busy wih their business so they try to make the most of it.
The making and fitting of the new garments would take around two hours but since we had to run some errands, we agreed to come back the next day for our Nino.
I was very happy to see him the next day. Dashing in his new white tunic and dark red velvet cape. The cape has nice gold trimmings and embroidery. His crown is now repainted a matte gold. However the broken side will never be restored. According to Sephine, they also clean the whole statuette and repaint the parts that have been damaged thru the years. A definite no-no though is to touch up the face or the whole head. She adds that the head is the true indicator of the idol’s antiquity or age. Our Nino now also has a new scepter and orb in his hands.