The Colors of Spain


I have always associated people, places and events with smells, colors, tastes. I guess this is our mind tagging them in its archive with some sort of filing system. Sinulog has always been red and gold. Growing up I have always wondered why these two colors, I have always thought they were so 80’s. Later on, I found that these are colors of Spain, our conquistadores.


Without fail, every year on the 1st day of the novenario, the Basilica Minore del Sto. Nino will always be decked with banderitas and swags in red and gold. Last January 10 was the 1st day of the novenario and it was gloomy and rainy. This didn’t stop devotees from showing up to complete their 9 – day commitment.


To my delight, the Basilica had prepared large umbrellas for everyone to use! In the usual colors of Spain. Good job Augustinians!



Drums Beating

Last weekend we went to the City Sports Center after almost a month of wolfing down tons of food from the holiday parties.  We wanted to start our early morning walks again.  How time flies!  When we got there, we saw that the Sinulog stage is already up and a whole contingent was hard at work rehearsing at 530am!  It is Sinulog Month and in a few weeks time, the Grand Parade.


Ofcourse, the oldies would always caution and remind everyone to focus on the solemnity and the real reason for the season – Sto. Nino.  This sounds like Christmas to me but I, erring on the side of sounding self-righteous, have always been one to celebrate this festival for the right reason.

For almost 12 years now, I have always completed the 9 day novena.  Okay there may have been years I didnt, but for those years, I made sure to join the foot procession.


So anyway, when we got home from the sports centre I went online to check out news and updates around the festivities.  I ran into an article that posted the English version of the Prayer to Sto. Nino.  Reposting here with some images of my beloved baby Sto Nino taken from exhibits around the city.

Prayer to the Sto. Nino:

O Senor Santo Niño, you are our king and our God, we worship you. You are our strong defender, we turn to you. You are the patron of Cebu, the Philippines and the world, we come to you; You have made extraordinary wonders through your miraculous image in those chosen islands, remember us. Look down at this poor soul that comes to you for help. Lead us with Your wisdom; discipline us with your truth; console us with your tenderness, protect us with your might.

We consecrate today our thoughts of you, only with you shall they be occupied; our words, only of you shall they speak; our sufferings, that we may endure them for your sake. We beg you Señor Santo Niño, illumine our understanding, kindle our will, cleanse our body, sanctify our soul. We wish what you wish, because you wish, as you wish, as long as you wish.

Grant us, Señor Santo Niño, that we may feel love toward you, be strict toward ourselves be zealous toward our fellowmen, and rightly despise the things of the world. Help us to overcome sensuality with strict discipline, avariciousness with generosity, anger with gentleness, indolence with zealous industry. Make us wise in counsel, courageous in danger, patient in adversity, humble in prosperity.


Teach us, dear Santo Niño, how worthless is the world, how sublime is heaven, how brief is time, how long is eternity. Grant us, lastly, that we may remember you, adore you, love you and serve you here on earth that we may be happy with you forever and ever in heaven.


The King’s New Clothes

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.

Here’s our beautiful Nino and his new clothes!  Ready for the celebration of his fiesta.  Viva Senyor Sto. Nino.!