Sinulog is ushered in by a Novena Mass for 9 days, the opening salvo of which is the ‘Walk with Jesus’. Every year, Sto. Niño devotees gather at 4 a.m. near the Fuente Osmeña Circle, the starting point for the early morning procession. From the Fuente Osmeña Circle, the devotees will walk, while praying the Holy Rosary, towards downtown to the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño for the first Novena Mass. But what makes this event interesting is the various reasons, petitions and intentions that the devotees have in joining the activity aside from honoring Cebu’s patron. It is also quite a sight to see the devotees carry with them their images (of various sizes) of the Sto. Niño and waving these statuettes in the air.
This year, the police estimated that there were about 50,000 who joined the Walk with Jesus. This number included those who waited by the side of the streets and joined as the procession passed by.
I got the opportunity to talk with some of the devotees who told me their reasons for joining the early morning walk. Jocelyn Andales, who is from Barangay Inayawan and who carried with her an image of the Holy Child Jesus, said she joined the procession to give thanks to the Sto. Niño for the blessings that she had received as well as to ask for continued protection.
Mr. & Mrs. Deogracio Jimenez brought their kids along so the whole family can give its praise to the Sto. Niño. Aside from good health, they also wished that their family will always remain together.
Nelia Verondo has been a devotee of the Sto. Niño for several years already and she never misses a single day of the novena. This year, she is thanking Sto. Nio for the baby in her womb and for constant protection for her family during hard situations.
Even the young give up sleep for this religious activity. Seven-year-old Shairine Cuizon of Guadalupe prays to the Sto. Nino for only one thing, that is good health for her entire family.
Couple Bernalyn Bacus and Jeffrey Onde is thanking the Sto. Niño because their two kids survived the Dengue. They also pray for their 11-year relationship and that they will be able to tie the knot soon.