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Courtyard by Marriott Opens ‘Pagtuo’ Exhibit

Western Visayas’ first international hotel Courtyard by Marriott opens ‘Pagtuo’ , an exhibit of varied images of the Sto Niño owned by local parishes and devotees. The entire ensemble is a collection of 11 images varying in size and origins. The exhibit is displayed in the lobby of the hotel and is available to the public from January 21 to January 27, 2019.



“Prayer should always be part of our day to day for us to open our hearts to many miracles that are happening all around us. Seeing the images of the sweet baby Jesus at the lobby in celebration of the entire festival will help remind everyone to offer all joys and sacrifices back to Him who has made everything possible to us.” say Cleofe Albiso, General Manager of Courtyard by Marriott Iloilo.

Origins of the Image of the Child Saint dates back to 1521 when Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan landed on Limasawa, Southern Leyte and met local rule Raja Kulambu, Cebu island ruler Rajah Humabon, and chief consort Hara Humamay. Magellan presented the following gifts: cross, image of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Santo Niño as part of their baptism and allegiance for territorial conquest. The Santo Niño is a Roman Catholic title of the Child Jesus associated with the image of the Child Chirst. The Santo Niño de Cebu is the oldest surviving Catholic relic in the country, along with the Magellan Cross. For years, the image was replicated in various parts of the country and is believed to be one of the recognizable Filipino cultural icons. Festivals in different provinces, such as the Iloilo Dinagyang Festival, are dedicated to the Child Saint.

Courtyard by Marriott takes pride in the exhibit dubbed as ‘Pagtuo’, translated as ‘Faith’ in Hiligaynon. The blessing and veneration of the exhibit took place January 22nd at the Courtyard lobby. The event also marked the opening of the Iloilo Dinagyang Festival in the Marriott hotel.




The Holy Child, owned by Kenny Santiago. Formed by the late Joaquin ‘Boy’ A. Santiago Jr. and family, they clothe the image with indigenous materials such as bamboo strips, ropes, bagacay, and other materials. The Sto. Niño was blessed by the late Pope John Paul II with his holy water and gave stampetas as well for the image last November 1981. Ever since then, this was the only relic that the Santiago Family treasured.

Sto Niño de Arevalo 1581 (Replica) owned by Mark Clinton Jaro Layson. The images of the Sto Niño deArevalo is considered to be the third oldest in the Philippines after the Sto Niños of Cebu (1521) and Tondo (1572), is humbly venerated at the simple yet beautiful church at Villa Arevalo, Iloilo City. The image of Sto Niño de Arevalo was said to be brought by the Augustinians upon establishment of La Villa Rica de Arevalo as a Spanish settlement and as the capital of Oton province in 1581. The Sto Niño de Arevalo is an image made of wood, and may have been consecrated at the same time the new pueblo of Arevalo has been established. It had survived many crisis like the transfer of people to Punta de Iloilo, Dutch and Moro raids, fires and earthquakes strong enough to topple belfries and church. The image of Sto Niño de Arevalo has much deeper meaning for his devotees. Testimonies of miracles are well known to the people of the parish like sick people recovering from terminal diseases such as cancer or serious injuries, childless couples having offspring, or saving the town from famine or lack of rain.

Sto Niño de Cebu (Replica) owned by San Jose Parish Placer. The image of Sto Niño de Cebu arrived in San Jose Parish Placer in 1968 and was welcomed by the parishioners with a merry-making. Such merry-making evolved later on to become a grandiose festival which is the Iloilo Dinagyang Festival.

Sto Niño el Capitan General owned by Aleijah de los Reyes. “This Niño used to be my grandmother’s at our farm and was the little guard of her house, he used to be dressed in a red sando type vestment and was barefoot reminiscent of street children hence the name ‘Palaboy’. In some accounts, according to caretakers of the farm, the image would be found in a mango tree during harvest season like a child would play around when unattended. When my grandmother died, he languished atop his altar, gathering dust. For a few years he stayed that way until I decided to take him home to the city. Now in my possession the little child received a pair of boots, a new set of vestments, and a total makeover. This was done to simulate the image of the holy child under the title of ‘El Capitan General’ found in the minor basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmel of San Sebastian in Manila as I had devotion to that title of the little child,” accounts the owner of the image.

Sto Niño of Divine Providence owned by Heinrich Clavel Chavez. This image was handed to Mr. Heinrich Clavel Chavez by Ms Teodora Cañor Temporalities of San Nicolas Chapel and has been said to be under their possession for more than half a century. This image manifested to one of their workers and said that the image came to life that allowed her to feel His presence during her veneration.

Sto Niño muy Glorioso de Padua owned by Carl Bryan Gelera. “A noble man called Tiso, who always extended a friendly hospitality to the saint on his preaching tours. Around 1229, when St Anthony accepted an offer to spend a few days at Tiso’s castle, Tiso passed Anthony’s room. He saw rays of light issuing from under the door. Impelled with curiosity, he peeped through the keyhole and saw to his amazement, a child of wondrous beauty standing on an opened book of the gospel on the table, his tiny arms encircling the neck of the smiling Anthony. Tiso also saw a flood of light surrounded the child and unspeakable tenderness with which he caressed the saint and was in turn caressed by him. Tiso’s soul was enraptured. Suddenly, the beautiful child pointed to the door and seemed to realize that he had been detected, but the charming guest was not offended by his curiosity, until the vision disappeared and darkness replaced the heavenly brightness”, shares the owner.

Pledge of Return owned by Heinrich Clavel Chavez. This image was bought during the 450th year of Kaplag festival, which celebrates the discovery of the Holy Child by the Spanish soldier Juan Camus on April 28, 1565. He found the icon in the remains of a burned nipa hut after Spanish forces set the village on fire. Camus was part of the Spanish expedition led by Miguel Lopez de Legaspi to reclaim the islands after Magellan’s first visit in 1521. The original image of the Holy Child Jesus is housed in a glass-enclosed marble aedicula beside the main altar of the Basilica Minore del Sto Niño.

Señor Sto Niño of Iloilo owned by Kenny Santiago. Also known as ‘Big Brother’, it was formed by the late Joaquin ‘Boy’ Santiago Jr., the tribe operation manager of Tribu Atub Atub since 1971. The tribe and family are fervent devotees of the Holy Child, who was blessed with numerous achievements as Dinagyang Champion from the year 1978, 1981, 1983, 1991, 2000, 2003, and 2004. It cannot be denied that the Tribu Atub Atub have honor to the city of Iloilo, earning the first Dinagyang Tribe to win as Champion of the Aliwan Dance Festival in Manila last 2004 and first runner up in the year 2003.

Sto Niño de Cebu (Replica) owned by Heinrich Clavel Chavez. Replica of Sto Niño de Cebu. With the full cooperation and support of the Filipino people and sanctioned by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, the Augustinian fathers have built a marble chapel inside the Basilica. Construction of the chapel started on August 1975. This fitting shrine of Sto Niño now serves as the center of devotion of Catholic Philippines.

Sto Niño de Cebu owned by Romel Flogen. This image owned by Mr Romel Flogen has been in his possession since the early 2000s. Sto Niño has traveled and performed with him in numerous Dinagyang Festival street dance and free interpretation competitions. This image has also made all the way to the Aliwan Festival representing the Dinagyang Festival during the past years. Niño Travelers owned by Rommel Flogen. This beautiful set up was sponsored by Ricoy Rubrido of ‘Special Events by Ricoy Rubido’.

Courtyard by Marriott takes pride in the exhibit dubbed as ‘Pagtuo’, translated as ‘Faith’ in Hiligaynon. The blessing and veneration of the exhibit took place January 22nd at the Courtyard lobby. The event also marked the opening of the Iloilo Dinagyang Festival in the Marriott hotel.

Blessing and veneration of the exhibit 

Singer and songwriter Eman Abatayo performs ‘Uswag Iloilo’

The ‘Pagtuo’ Exhibit is available to the public from January 21 to January 27, 2019 in line of the Iloilo Dinagyang Festival slated January 25 to 27, 2019. The exhibit is found at the Courtyard by Marriott Iloilo lobby. In line of the festival, Courtyard by Marriott Iloilo also has a variety of promotions to aid visitors in amplifying their Iloilo Dinagyang Festival experience.



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