Devotion to Sto. Niño in Tanjay City
Popular piety based on the devotion of Sto. Niño (see Sinulog Festival for historical roots of the devotion) is observed by folks of Tanjay City. Its yearly fiesta is celebrated through religious services in Eucharistic celebration held at the Roman Catholic church of St. James the Greater Parish every third Sunday of January and a foot procession where devotees carry the image of Sto. Niño.
One of its highlights is the pabitin. Pabitin refers to strings that hold food packs, mostly chips and snacks for children, that are given away to the public. It began as an expression of faith and thanksgiving of individual households.
Over time it has grown into a cherished tradition that involves entire communities. A pabitin is organized by sponsoring family members with the help of volunteers. They tie a thread with a food packet that is then attached to meters-long ropes. These ropes with food items are laid out and hang on poles in open spaces, along alleyways and roads, and they serve the secondary role as festive buntings.
In the culmination of the fiesta, the ropes are brought down and the food packages are up for grabs by the public that results into generally raucous merriment. According to local historian Balbino Guerrero, such a decades-old tradition is inflected with the belief that bringing joy to children and those who are child-at-heart inspires gladness in Sto. Niño.
The local government unit of Tanjay City holds the Children’s Festival every last day of January, and it has instituted the pabitin as an integral part of the annual festivity.
Children’s Festival Activities
Tanjay City Children’s Party often begins with a mass heard at St. James the Greater Parish, a street dance, program, Pabitin and street party. In 2024, the city-wide Pabitin stretched for half a kilometer and spanned the entire width of a public street.
How to reach Tanjay City, Negros Oriental
Tanjay City can be reached via Dumaguete-Sibulan Airport or sea port and a land travel by buses.
- Pabiting-bayan ng mga Negros Oriental, sakop ang halos buong kalsada | Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho. GMA Public Affairs. Retrieved February 7, 2024
- Ferdinand Edralin. LOOK: Images from the Children’s Festival in Tanjay City. Philippine Daily Inquirer. January 30, 2019. Retrieved February 7, 2024
- 1 kilometrong pabitin bida sa Negros Oriental. Abante. February 5, 2023. Retrieved February 7, 2024