Sinulog 2020: Thousands join annual sea procession for Santo Nino in Cebu

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Cebu City (CNN Philippines, January 18) — More than 40,000 devotees joined this year's sea procession in honor of the feast of the Santo Niño in Cebu early Saturday, the Coast Guard said. The event comes ahead of the anticipated Sinulog Festival on Sunday.

The Philippine Coast Guard in Central Visayas said around 42,800 devotees were in the crowd that rode the boats and watched from the piers during the parade. At least 170 boats participated in the procession, it added.

The procession kicked off at around 6 a.m. from the Naval Forces Central camp in Mactan Island and ended at the Pier 1 in Cebu City, a voyage that took an hour and 45 minutes.

A boat carrying the image of the Holy Child Jesus led the parade at the Mactan Channel to reenact its arrival from Spain to Cebu in 1521. The main vessel this year was landing craft tank Teofilo Camomot, named after the Cebuano bishop who is up for sainthood.

The boat went to the First Mactan Bridge and passed the piers in Mandaue City where throngs of devotees were awaiting to catch a glimpse of the Santo Niño image.

Philippine Coast Guard Central Visayas spokesperson Michael John Encina said no untoward incidents were reported from the sea procession.