Ivory Worship
Bryan Christy | National Geographic

In an overfilled church Monsignor Cristobal Garcia, one of the best known ivory collectors in the Philippines, leads an unusual rite honoring the nation’s most important religious icon, the Santo Niño de Cebu (Holy Child of Cebu). The ceremony, which he conducts annually on Cebu, is called the Hubo, from a Cebuano word meaning “to undress.” Several altar boys work together to disrobe a small wooden statue of Christ dressed as a king, a replica of an icon devotees believe Ferdinand Magellan brought to the island in 1521. They remove its small crown, red cape, and tiny boots, and strip off its surprisingly layered underwear. Then the monsignor takes the icon, while altar boys conceal it with a little white towel, and dunks it in several barrels of water, creating his church’s holy water for the year, to be sold outside.

I had no illusions of linking Monsignor Garcia to any illegal activity, but when I told him I wanted an ivory Santo Niño, the man surprised me. “You will have to smuggle it to get it into the U.S.”


“Wrap it in old, stinky underwear and pour ketchup on it,” he said. “So it looks shitty with blood. This is how it is done.”

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Whaaaaaat’s up Cebu? :)) Well, this how we, the Cebuanos, are very much devoted to Senyor Sto. Nino. Even though the weather is not so fine, many people still attended the novena masses. Taray dba? =))

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to complete the 9-day novena mass last year so I’m trying my best to complete it this year. Nice kaayo sa feeling. DMDA. 

Viva Pit Senyor! =D


O Senyor Santo Nino

I’m so thankful I am home for Sinulog! :) Pit Senyor!!!

My first Sto. Nino Novena Mass

I’ve never been to a Novena Mass in the Basilica Del Sto. Nino. Literally thousands of people congregated for the 7am celebration.

It truly was an experience.

Before the mass started, I decided to walk around and take a few photographs. These don’t really do justice to the experience. It was a refreshing reminder of what Sinulog truly is – a celebration of the Sto. Nino. If you haven’t been to one, brave the crowd and go.

See more photos here…>


Ako ay inukit mula sa kahoy.

At dinamitan at nilagyan ng mga alahas.

Sinasamba ako ng mga mahihirap, ng mga mayayaman.

Tinitingala, inilalapit sa kalangitan.

Ngunit nakasayad pa rin ako sa lupa.

Gaya ng mga taong sumasamba sa akin.

Dahil inukit lamang ako mula sa kahoy.

Kahoy, kung saan galing ang uling, ang panggatong.