by CHERRY C. THELMO-FERNANDEZ
AUCKLAND — Nearly 10,000 people took part in a Catholic event, Sinulog 2012, at the North Shore Events Centre last month.
In 1521, Queen Juana (formerly Hara Amihan), the wife of Rajah Humabon, received the holy image of the Child Jesus when she was baptised into the Church. Historians say she immediately danced with joy, bearing the image of the child. Other Filipinos noted her example, and this moment in history was regarded as the first Sinulog.
The natives ceased to praise-dance to pagan gods and, instead, began to do so to the Santo Niño — the Holy Child Jesus.
On January 15, nearly 10,000 people processed on the North Shore with an image of Santo Niño and his blessed mother.
Praise-dancing by the Sinulog Dance Troupe and the congregation ensued, followed by Mass with the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Charles Balvo, as the main presider and homilist.
Auckland Catholic Filipino Chaplaincy head Fr Ruben Elago co-presided, with Fr Samuel Pulanco, Fr Carlo Constantino Cruz and Fr Larry Rustia.
Filipinos, Indians, Pacific Islanders and New Zealand Europeans celebrated as one and witnessed dance performances depicting Philippine tribal tales of worship to the Santo Niño.

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