Devotees pray for disaster stricken Visayas at Sinulog

By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Jan. 22, 2014

BUENA PARK, Calif. – It’s an annual devotion. While the statues come in all sizes, those devoted to the infant Jesus say no prayer is too big to fulfill.

“Whenever you pray to him and ask for something, he grants it,” devotee Eva Ong said. “Were devoted to him.”

While Cebu has celebrated the Sinulog festival for nearly 500 years, the Filipino community in Orange County has been celebrating theirs for 20 years.

“It’s a tradition from Cebu and we’re from Visayas and we carry the tradition here into the United States,” Tesske Siongco of the local Santo Nino group said.

The tradition has strong roots in the Visayas region which was rocked by a series of disasters last year so protection and rehabilitation were among the most common prayer requests.

“To bear the Philippines from the calamities,” devotee Josephine Frayna said.

While many brought their statues, from pocket to infant size, to the mass celebrated by Bishop Oscar Solis and to the procession in where 21 doves were released as a symbol of peace.

The Bane family brought a real life Santo Nino.

Six-year-old Jonathan dresses up as Santo Nino for the occasion each year.

“Being able to participate in an event like this really enforces his Filipino heritage for him. As he gets bigger and bigger I hope he can remember this,” his mother Minmin said.

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