Sandigang Kasaysayan: MABUNYI, MARILAG, MAPAGPALA: Ang Malalim na Debosyon sa Mahal na Poong Sto. Niño sa Lalawigan ng Bulacan (01.15.23)

It is said that the first and true missionary of Christianity in our country is none other than the Dear Lord Santo Niño. At the very beginning, while the first missionaries who were with Ferdinand Magellan in Cebu in 1521, they were fascinated and captured the hearts of the first Filipinos by the little Baby Jesus. Until now, this wooden Santo Niño is in the custody and care of the Augustinian Priests.

Our devotion to the Dear Child Jesus is a deep faith heritage in our province. In every church, home, office, there are altars with His holy image. This distinction is rooted in the 3 images of Poong Santo Niño in the city of Malolos and the towns of Santa Maria, and Bustos. Similar to Cebu, the intense devotion and vow to the Santo Niño is a unique gift of the Augustinian Missionaries that until now serves as a reminder of their unbroken faith and love for the Lord.

"Mabunyi" - Exalted

Even before the arrival of the Spanish, Malolos was already popular in various industries and trade in China and Europe. It is not surprising that this town was also chosen by the holy Missionary Child because in the hearts of the people of Malolos He wanted to plant the intense love that has not been nurtured until now.

The colorful Santo Niño de Malolos festival held every fourth Sunday of January is one of the most glorious and beautiful celebrations at the beginning of the year. It is rooted in the gratitude and continued trust of the devotees in Sto. Niño It is also no wonder that the women of Malolos draw their strength and faith in the Miraculous Lord in times of need.

One of these women who deeply love Santo Niño is Bb. Francisca Tantoco. According to the elders, since the installation of the Santo Niño, the number of prayers offered in front of it has not been counted. Likewise, the solved problems that were offered and buried in this holy image until the said place where his Temple is located is called Barrio Santo Niño.

"Marilag" - Magnificent

Meanwhile, a rare image of Santo Niño made of ivory or 20 inches high is being visited by devotees in the town of Santa Maria. This image is popularly known as Ato. This image of the Child Jesus is striking with a rare smile and carrying a scepter and globe. His strange smile seemed to be a joyful observation of all who looked at Him. According to records, the image is about 300 years old and was brought by Don Pedro Reyes who was one of the administrators of the Hacienda de Sapang Palay in the 17th century.

Based on the ancient story, Ato came from Acapulco, Mexico and traveled to the country in a Galleon. Anyone who approaches the revered image will notice the marks of tireless praying, wiping, kissing and reverence of countless devotees. Ato is currently in the custody and care of the Congregacion del Santo Niño de Santa Maria. His Feast is every third Sunday of January.

"Mapagpala" - Blessed

The third most famous image of the Dear Santo Niño is located in the town of Bustos. The famous image of Sto Niño is said to shower many blessings on those who approach him. From being a Visita of Baliuag, the Parish of Bustos was established in 1867 and the said Santo Niño was installed as its patron. The establishment of the parish is a unique gift to the people of Bustos so that the faithful no longer have to cross the river to go to church. The said image seems to be inspired by the Child Jesus of Prague.

According to the translated story, it is said that it was first performed in the Parish of San Agustin in Baliuag before it was permanently gifted and given to the believers of Bustos. As a remembrance, in 2017, after 150 years, the image of Santo Niño de Bustos was again crossed to Baliuag through a majestic procession.

This blessed Santo Niño is often dressed according to the old custom inherited by the people of this town and is solemnly celebrated every third Sunday of January referred to as the Patron Festival and every fourth Sunday of February as the Traditional Festival.
Indeed, devotion to the Dear Child Jesus continues to attract, call and invite those who love Him in response to His earlier love for humanity.

Bro. Mark James Evangelista, M.A.
DCSC Research Team

References:

Bautista, Benjamin Basildez, Dayaw Season 8 Episode 3 - "A Noble History" (The Heritage Towns of Bulacan),  Hango mula sa https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVD5XkckCpo noong Disyembre 29, 2022.
Jose, Jodee, Panayam ng May-akda, Tagapagtatag ng Congregacion del Santo Niño de Santa Maria, noong Enero 8, 2023.

Sto. Niño Parish, Bustos, Bulacan, A short history of Bustos and the Parish of Sto. Niño, Official Facebook Page of Santo Niño, Parish , Hinago mula sa https://www.facebook.com/SNPBustos/about/?ref=page_internal noong Enero 07, 2023.

Sto Niño Parish, Bustos, Bulacan, Ang Tawid-Ilog Na Traslacion, Official Facebook Page of Santo Niño, Paga, Hinago mula sa https://www.facebook.com/.../a.62581.../4395649333844081/...  noong Enero 05, 2023

Tamayo, Jolo, The Sto Niño de Malolos in Time and History, Official Website of Santo Nino de Malolos Foundation, Inc., Hinango mula sa https://
stoninodemalolosfoundation.com/about-us/ noong Enero 08, 2023.

#sandiganmalolos #dioceseofmalolos #sandigangkasaysayan #dcscresearchream #stoninodemalolos #stoninodesantamaria #stoninodebustos

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