To lovers of local history, here’s something you might be interested in.
On Saturday, May 15, 2021, scholars will examine the roots of Cebuanos’ fanatical devotion to the Sto. Niño in a free blended event with a panel discussion at 3 p.m.
Called “Sakalam! Devotion to the Sto. Niño in the Visayas during Spanish colonial rule,” it will be held at the Palm Grass the Cebu Heritage Hotel on Junquera St. in downtown Cebu City.
You can’t miss it. The place, I mean. It’s to your right if you’re headed for Colon St., after Julie’s Bakeshop and before the Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes.
Xiao Chua, a public historian and De La Salle Department of History professor, will elaborate on how the veneration of the icon of the Child Jesus spread from Cebu to the rest of the archipelago. Dr. Vicente Villan, a Visayan and professor of the University of the Philippines Diliman Department of History, will discuss “the Visayan Pintados’ concept of gaining power through indigenous warfare and how the natives had incorporated the Holy Child into their religious system,” while sociologist-anthropologist Dr. Zona Saniel-Amper of the University of San Carlos (USC) will provide insights on the cultural aspect of the devotion to the Sto. Niño.
If you find yourself scratching your head and wondering who or what the heck the Pintados are, then all the more reason you should attend.
The event will be live streamed at www.facebook.com/PalmGrass and on social media pages of partner organizations. It has the support of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, National Quincentennial Committee, Museo Sugbo, Basilica del Sto. Niño’s Sto. Niño at 500, USC Department of Anthropology, Sociology and History, SOAN 2020 Inc. and the Diyandi Heritage Center.
So back to the Pintados.
Apparently, when the Magellan expedition entered the Visayan archipelago, particularly Cebu Island, they found tattooed natives — hence “pintado” for the Spanish word “painted” — who liked to fight among themselves, drink a lot and practice kinky sex, depending on who you ask.
Although, I read somewhere that pre-colonial Cebuano males had no choice but to “enhance” or “embellish” their manhood with contraptions that would pleasure their women or else they wouldn’t get any. I also read that many of our male ancestors had problems “performing” because they were too tired from all that fighting and drinking, so they needed the extra help.
But I digress. I doubt the panelists will be discussing the sexual mores of pre-colonial Cebuanos, but they might and you will only find out if you tune in.
At any rate, it should be worth checking out.
Aside from the scholarly talk, there will also be a testimony from a Sto. Niño candle vendor and a trivia quiz with prizes, among others.