January is the month honoring the Sto Nino with several major festivities held in many cities in the Philippines. One of the most awaited events is the Iloilo sadsad happening in front of the San Jose de Placer Church in this city on the eve of the fourth Sunday of the month. A sea of devotees gather singing, bodies moving and hands raised in homage to the Holy Child. It’s a moving experience to witness the piety of Ilongos that is paralleled with that in Cebu a week earlier. This is a culmination of the nine day novena and precedes the Dinagyang festival.
It all goes back to 1968 when a replica image of the Sto Nino de Cebu was brought as a gift by Rev. Fr. Sulpicio Enderez to Rev. Fr. Ambrosio Galindez, first Filipino rector of the Augustinian community and parish priest of San Jose Church.
The religious sadsad is held after the ninth day of novena mass in front of the San Jose Parish Church. Sadsad, a Visayan term meaning “stomping of the feet,” is an act to please the heavens. This religious activity is often participated by devotees coming from different places and social status as part of their panaad (devotion) to Señor Santo Niño to pray for family, health, love, and wealth, among others.National Museum of the Philippines