Thursday, January 5, 2012

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Cebu, Iloilo prepare for Sto. Niño feasts

Devotees in Cebu and Iloilo are gearing for the annual feast of the Holy Child Jesus.

At least 20,000 devotees joined the dawn procession in Cebu on Thursday that signals the start of the novena preceding the feast of the Sto. Niño on Jan. 15.

In Iloilo, organizers of this year’s Dinagyang Festival are expecting livelier and more colorful events in the week-long festivity that will peak on Jan. 21-22.

The annual dawn procession to the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño in downtown Cebu City started the Sinulog that would culminate with a Mass and the Sinulog Grand Parade on Jan. 15.

Devotees lit candles and carried images of the Sto. Niño as they sang and prayed during the procession.

Thousands filled the basilica and nearly the entire stretch of Osmeña Boulevard for Mass.

Families from Cebu and elsewhere are expected to flock to this city for the feast.

Preparations are also ongoing for the Dinagyang.

Ben Jimena, Iloilo City tourism officer, said this year’s feast would be transformed into a showcase of major festivals in Western Visayas.

Thirteen tribes will compete on Jan. 22 in the Ati-Atihan contest, the main event of the Iloilo festival.

Jimena said four judging areas have been identified for the Ati-Atihan and Kasadyahan contests.

Dinagyang, held every third weekend of January, has been elevated to the Hall of Fame as the country’s best tourism event by the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines.

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