Dancers at the Ati-Atihan festival in Kalibo (Photo courtesy of tourism-philippines.com)
in the central Philippines
, is extending a food program for the poor, following an outpouring of support from devotees of the Santo Nino (Child Jesus). We began serving food to parishioners on Dec. 16 and the program was supposed to end on Christmas Day, said Annie Reyes who works at the bishop’s house. “But there were many sponsors and volunteers who joined the program,” she told ucanews.com. She said the diocese, which is in Aklan province
is busy preparing for the Ati-Atihan
festival next week. Ati-Atihan is a festival that honors the Child Jesus. It is named after the Ati tribe that has lived in the area even before the arrival of the Malays in the 10th century and the Spaniards in the 16th century. The feeding program dubbed “Hakid it Sto. Nino” (Food offering by the Child Jesus) is held daily at six o’clock in the morning at St. John the Baptist Cathedral. “Anybody, rich or poor, gets some food. The program was originally intended for street children and poor families attending dawn Masses last Christmas, but the diocese was amazed by the support, so we now serve everybody,” said Reyes. Hundreds of people are coming every day and are served by some 30 volunteers who were working in shifts, she said. Most of those who come are residents of a nearby slum. Related reports Seminarians usher in Christmas with song Catholics hope to put feast on tourist map Concern for family compels seamen to save, start businesses back home
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