In Barangay Sulib, I was greeted by Mrs. Pajarillo. She walked me through their home passing by a formal garden. When Mr. Gregorio “Ka Goyong” Pajarillo came out to living room for an audience, all eyes were focus on him. He is tall and has a regal bearing.
Mang Goyong told me that he brings the Sto. Niño de la O to the church during town fiestas. He remarked that the two images are venerated in a nine-day novena popularly called “OO” that runs from December 16 to 24.
According to Mang Goyong, the image is taken out from the church for a procession on the third day, December 18 the day believed by folks when the divine surprise took place. The novena is followed by a Mass. After the Mass, the rosary is recited in honor of the Virgen de la O and her virtues are exalted in a song by the seniors of the town.
Then comes the children bearing the Sto. Niño de la O. The Child Jesus is dressed in a rich baptismal robe edged at the hem with gold nuggets that dangle like earrings, wearing a crown of sunbeams and red cape. In the palm of its tiny hands rests a golden orb.
A child devotee leads the rite, making the image dance by waltzing it up and down the church aisle, while the rest of children trail behind waving fern leaves and singing the “Dic Mihi” to the beat of drums. Even infants, cradled in their mother’s arms, join the merriment.
It is said that one can tell that a person is from Panguil when he knows the “Dic Mihi” by heart. Dic Mihi is a musical mnemonic that uses numbers instead of the alphabet at the beginning of each line.
Dic mihi est unum. Dic mihi quid est unum.
Unus est Christus qui Regnant, unud est Christus Fileus Dei. Amen.
Dic Mihi quae sunt Duo. Dic mihi quae sunt Duo.
Duae sunt Tabulae Moyse. Unus est Christus qui Regnet…
“Tell me about number one. Number one stands for Christ the King, the Son of God. Tell me about number two. Number two stands for the tablets of Moses…” and so on. The stanzas go from one to twelve, each numeral representing a Biblical personage or event from Genesis to the Apostle.
On each novena a different child takes his or her turn to carry the image. For the children are put on a list waiting time is currently about five years. That is why parents make sure that they enlist their children early otherwise they would be adults before their turn come.
Mang Goyong told me that the image of the Sto. Niño de la O has been with their family for generations. It was handed over to him by his grandmother. As the tradition, he would handover the image to the next generation Pajarillo. Though he didn’t clearly explain why the caring of the image was given to them.
When I ask about the crown, I was told that the Sto. Niño’s crown was under the care of the church.
Last of four parts
A Traveler’s Discoveries in Panguil
Information source: Anita Feloe, The Town of the Double O