The sky had just opened up to show the yellow-orange rays of morning. There were thousands at the Mandani Bay Boardwalk awaiting the passing of the galleon bearing the image of the revered Christ Child and the vessels with the images of the Blessed Mother and other religious icons.
The crowd was kept engaged. Mandani Bay Project Director Gilbert Ang and Mandaue Reclamation Area Manager Marvin Soco had earlier opened the program, with the colourful lights of a grand fireworks display breaking the gray sky of dawn.
The Knapsack and KanSugbo Dance Fusion had special performances. The Maka Girls offered their welcome song.
The crowd couldn’t hide its enthusiasm, though, as various festival performances mounted the stage – La Torta of Argao, Silmugi Festival of Borbon, Karansa of Danao City, Palawod from Bantayan, Bonga representing Sibonga, Panagtagbo of Mandaue. They kept time to the infectious beat as the ManSci Dance Company presented its Sinulog number.
Just as busy were the food and drinks stations distributed all over the 500-meter strip. Guests were treated to Krispy Kremes paired with Bo’s Coffee.
Then, whistles and drums, and the multitudes cheered, waving red and gold flaglets.
The flotilla’s silhouette slowly emerged from across the channel. The announcement of its arrival was drowned by the ecstatic cheering and shouts of “Pit Senyor!” (Cebuano contraction of “Sangpit sa Senyor”, meaning to ask or plead with the Holy Child). Others gave in to the touching lyrics of “Batobalani sa Gugma” (Cebuano; magnet of love), waving their hands in time to its melody.
In the three years that Mandani Bay has hosted the Fluvial Procession Viewing at its Boardwalk, the crowd had merely contented itself with waving to the Sto. Niño from afar. In those years the vessels couldn’t come close to shore because the procession was usually borne on low tide.
This year, though, MV Super Joy, the flower-bedecked designated galleon bearing the Sto. Niño, and the other vessels in the procession, sailed within close proximity of the Mandani Bay Boardwalk, the tide being high enough to allow close-to-shore navigation. The smiling image of the Holy Child, majestic and benevolent, at the vessel’s prow was very clear as the galleon seemingly sailed straight towards the Boardwalk before turning towards the Cebu City pier area.
A blessed Fiesta Señor! A beautiful encounter for Mandani Bay, its clients, partners and friends!