43,000 devotees escort galleon carrying images of Holy Child, Virgin Mary

THE seaborne or fluvial procession that transported the images of the Holy Child and the Our Lady of Guadalupe from Lapu-Lapu City to Cebu City early morning Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, was generally peaceful and orderly, as authorities barred unregistered sea vessels from joining the activity.

Lt. Junior Grade Michael John Encina, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) District Central Visayas spokesman, declared the activity a general success.

Some 42,830 devotees on board 179 participating vessels escorted lct Teofilo Camomot, the galleon carrying the two images, while thousands of devotees flocked to areas where the galleon passed, including Piers 2 and 3 in Cebu City.

Encina said no maritime incident was reported during the course of the procession.

He said the activity started on time and the organizers’ major goals and objectives were met despite encountering minor setbacks.

“The galleon should have led the procession. But some vessels went ahead and did not heed the instructions and the pronouncement. Nonetheless, our security force and the maritime sector were there to provide assistance,” he said in a mix of Tagalog and English.

The activity lasted one hour and 45 minutes.

Lct Teofilo Camomot left the Captain Veloso Pier in Lapu-Lapu City at 6:05 a.m. and arrived in Pier 1 in Cebu City around 7:45 a.m.

He said unregistered vessels that tried to join the seaborne procession were contained south of the Mactan Channel near the South Road Properties along with registered but late vessels.

The Mactan Channel was closed at 4 a.m.

“This is a head’s up for seafarers who want to join upcoming seaborne processions that they really need to register to participate,” Encina said in a mix of Tagalog and English.

The procession route was secured by 400 PCG personnel with the help of Maritime Police and the Navy.

Several roads were closed in Lapu-Lapu City Friday night, Jan. 17, to clear the path for the procession of the images of the Holy Child and the Our Lady of Guadalupe from the National Shrine of St. Joseph in Mandaue City to the Virgen de la Regla National Shrine in Lapu-Lapu City, which preceded the seaborne activity.

Rev. Fr. Leonardo Cabrera, in his homily during the send-off mass of the two images at the Virgin de la Regla National Shrine, told churchgoers that Sto. Niño devotees should have love, loyalty and enthusiasm for the Holy Child as well as His teachings.

They should also love the Virgin Mary as Jesus loves Her, he said.

Cabrera said the faithful must understand that the Church is not perfect and even priests and bishops commit mistakes as they, too, strive to live the calling of Jesus.

“If we have devotion, we should also love, be loyal and be enthusiastic to humankind. I hope our devotion will unite us and that we learn to love one another through helping each other,” Cabrera said in Cebuano. (WBS, KFD)