Feast activities of Sto. Niño de Cebu to return in January 2023

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Cebu (CNN Philippines, November 15) — The Augustinian priests of the Basilica del Santo Niño de Cebu has announced the return of its fiesta activities in January 2023, including the foot procession, traslacion, and fluvial procession.

Fr. John Ion Miranda, director of the Fiesta Señor Secretariat, said they coordinated with all relevant government agencies when they decided to resume all pre-pandemic activities.

The religious activities of the Fiesta Señor are expected to draw millions of devotees to Cebu. This is separate from the Sinulog Festival organized by the city government, which is a favorite among tourists.

"From July until October, we have coordinated with all government agencies and they have approved that we resume all our religious activities," Miranda said in a press briefing at the Basilica on Tuesday.

Miranda said they sought permission from the local government of Cebu and the local Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19 which subsequently approved the return of the activities.

The wearing of face masks is no longer required in all of the activities but Miranda said devotees are still strongly encouraged to wear masks.

The Basilica will be open at 100 percent capacity during the fiesta celebrations. The church compound has a 3,500-seating capacity. LED screens, however, will be put up in the surrounding parks and streets for those who cannot be accommodated inside.

The Feast Day of the Santo Niño will be on Jan. 15, the same day the Sinulog Festival will be held after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Jan. 13, the image of the Santo Niño along with that of Our Lady of Guadalupe will be brought to the National Shrine of Saint Joseph in Mandaue City.

On Jan. 14, the images will be part of a fluvial procession through the Mactan Channel back to Cebu City.

In the afternoon of Jan. 14, the image of the Santo Niño will again be brought out of the Basilica for the annual foot procession around key areas in Cebu City.

Meanwhile, Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama said the local government has been preparing for the resumption of these activities to revitalize the economy even with the continued threat of COVID-19.

“We continuously promoted 'yung (the) vaccination,” Rama told CNN Philippines’ News Night.

“We've been promoting this really seriously. ‘Di naman pwedeng [It’s not acceptable that] we will continue to be in captivity. We have to be more aggressive,” he added.