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A heavy afternoon downpour didn’t stop thousands of devotees from joining yesterday’s solemn foot procession to honor the city's patron saint, the Señor Sto. Niño.

The procession anchored the day-long religious activities that have traditionally preceded the merrymaking and street-dancing held every third Sunday of January, the final day of the Sinulog Festival, commemorating the feast day of the Child Jesus.

The image of the Sto. Niño was carried by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma from its altar to a flower-decked carroza. The procession, which started at 1 p.m., was a five-kilometer walk to and from the Basilica del Sto. Niño, passing through the major streets of downtown Cebu City.

Thousands of Sto. Niño devotees, many without umbrellas, including clergy members, were drenched barely 30 minutes into the procession, but stayed on, singing hymns to the Child Jesus. The procession passed through Plaza Sugbo then proceeded to Magallanes Street, Borromeo Street, Leon Kilat Street, Alcantara Street, V. Rama Avenue, B. Rodriguez, and Fuente Osmeña, Osmeña Boulevard, and went back to the basilica at around 5 p.m.

The heavy rains failed to dampen the spirits of Sto. Niño devotees who had to wade through flooded streets along the procession route. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) recorded 19 millimeters of rainful. Bolivar “Boy” Artaiga of Pagasa said the wet weather was part of the northeast monsoon or Amihan.

In a pontificial Mass after the procession, Bishop John Du said, “We are all wet but we enjoy and we are happy.”