Beautifully decorated carrozas getting ready for dapit, a term derived from pagdapit or invitation. The carroza of the Sto. Niño de Malolos, together with a band, goes around the streets inviting other carrozas along the way. These carrozas in turn follow in a long sequence to the chapel where a translacion mass is held. Dapit is the first of three processions during the fiesta weekend, the other two happens on Sunday, one in the morning and the grand procession in the afternoon.
The biggest Sto. Niño festival in Luzon, it drew more than 130 carrozas bearing different images of the Holy Child in a grand procession on the last Sunday of January. The number of carrozas "filled to the brim" the grounds of the Malolos Cathedral.
One person though treasures more the sound and the movement like how her father, Buenaventura Diola taught her as a child. Estelita Diola or better known as Nang Titang faithfully kept the Sinulog in its truest form. Her undying passion resonates, reaching the deepest emotions of those who hear the steady rhythm of her drum.
Now at 80 years she continues to pass on the veritable legacy to the new generation.
The grand spectacle on the Mactan channel drew more pilgrims in spite of the weather disturbance we've experienced for many weeks now. In fact, the coast guard barred small vessels and even small children from joining the fluvial parade. Undaunted, many of them still took part.
The sea was surprisingly calm that early morning. Many attribute it to one of Sto. Niño's doing. The other, an appearance of a rainbow which failed to show because there was no trace of rain which preludes the phenomena.
My third time to join the fluvial procession. Really worth waking up very early.
I consider Saturdays as normal days for the Basilica as compared to Fridays where it is very crowded early morning up to the last novena mass in the evening. Majority of those visitors on Saturdays are tourists and of all them Koreans number the most. Often they come in groups, noisy and loud, disrupting the sacred place. I read recently in the papers that the administrators of the Basilica are enforcing a stricter rule on those going inside: no wearing of sleeveless shirts and shorts.
Tourism has also its downsides.