MANILA, Philippines -- Victims of tropical storm Sendong joined the Sinulog street-dancing festivities in Cagayan de Oro on Sunday to celebrate the Feast of the Sto. Nino.
Many believe that it is because of their faith in the Child Jesus that they survived the world's deadliest storm in 2011, which struck the city just a few days before Christmas.
Among them is market vendor Evelyn Mondello, who became emotional while holding up an image of the Sto. Nino, which she said she dug up from the mud.
"This is really a miracle of the Senor Sto. Nino because we were able to escape the floods together with my family even if I was pregnant and the floodwaters were strong. Even if we lost our house, at least we are alive," she said in the local dialect.
Lilia Ormichigos, 68, also believes that she miraculously survived the storm after the Binonoan Creek near her house in barangay Carmen overflowed.
"We are thankful to the Sto. Nino that no one among us died," she said in the local dialect.
Meanwhile, in Pagadian City, hundreds of devotees joined a fluvial procession for the Sto. Nino also on Sunday.
Many of the devotees said they prayed for the victims of Sendong.
But Joy Gocor had another wish.
Dressing up her image of the Sto. Nino in Army fatigues, she said she is praying for peace in her city and the entire country.
"I'm also praying for the protection of my husband, who is a soldier," she said in the local dialect. - Report from Sheila Labrador, ABS-CBN News