joy magnetism: Viva Pit Senyor!

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Viva Pit Senyor!

Magnet #327 - Sinulog Festival and Pit Senyor, Cebu, Philippines

No, your eyes are not deceiving you - that's baby Jesus on this magnet. Totally bought this at the Mactan Cebu International Airport.

Taking a step back...

Back in the 1500s, Ferdinand Magellan of Spain discovered the Philippine Islands, and thus began more than 400 years of Spanish domination. So, it should be no surprise that Catholics actually make up more than 80% of the population in the Philippines.

My parents took us back to their home island of Cebu a couple of years ago to see Sinulog, the largest religious festival in the country. It's to celebrate Pit Senyor - Baby Jesus, aka the Santo Niño de Cebú ("Holy Child of Cebu"), the patron saint of Cebu. Thousands make the pilgrimage to this tiny island, and take part this week's worth of celebration, culture and prayer.

I've always thought that religion was a personal thing, not really something to be shared or experienced with others. And, I'm not hugely religious here in NY. But, for some reason, whenever I'm in the Philippines, I can definitely feel religion there.

During the 6am Mass, everyone had balloons - which sounds weird, I know, because it looked weird. Until I realized that people were pinning all their hopes and dreams and prayers on those balloons. Then, they were all singing this wonderful song and then let go of the balloons into the air and then they waved (!) good-bye to them, in hopes that they would reach God and their prayers would be answered. It was quite an amazing experience.

The other great thing we did was visit my dad's old high school, where several different groups put on various shows for us, all about how the natives were there, the Spaniards came and then voila, Pit Senyor! This performance was my all-time favorite. The shows were all entertaining, and the crowds certainly loved it. Of course, they were all there in the grandstands to hang out and gossip with each other, as Filipinos are wont to do.

Definitely visit my public FB album link - pretty pics! And, since Sinulog is going on right now, here are some pics of the current Sinulog activities on this native Cebuano's blog. For more Sinulog background and pics, you can check out here and here.

It was a great week, where we visited our parents homeland, saw the processionals, did the mass, watched the performances, and in general, learned how well Catholicism took, literally a world away from Spain and the Vatican.
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Anonymous said...

You can't spell magnetism without SAINT, which makes it a sacred word, just like Cebu is a holy place.

joy said...

What a blessed find, anon. Nice going.

julie said...

hmm... you didn't mention how Tatay told us NOT to speak english because it would draw attention to us and yet HE was the one yelling in English during the mass exodus (hahahah) after the early morning mass! THAT was one of the highlights of my trip... not a highlight, Tatay scaring the crap out of me by saying I could get quarantined for having a fever and going through the heat sensors at the airport. :(