TACLOBAN CITY -Scores of devotees participated in the pre-Balyuan rites held Monday (June 18).
Considered as a prelude to the Balyuan rites happening on June 20, the event commemorates the historical swapping of Sto. Niño images between Tacloban and the town of Basey in Samar.
The convoy, which departed for Basey at 8 am, included devotees of Sto. Niño de Tacloban and city government officials and employees.
It made the 28 kilometer-land travel to Barangay Buscada for the religious rites commemorating the exchange of Sto. Niño images between Tacloban and the municipality of Basey.

The motorcade featured the revered image of the El Teniente – a replica of the Sto. Nino de Tacloban –the primary object of the Balyu-an reenactment.
Upon arrival at Brgy. Buscada, the faithful and the town’s cultural performers greeted the delegation from Tacloban with a ritual performance.
After which, the motorcade around the town proper of Basey followed, and a Holy Mass was said at the Old Buscada Church attended by Tacloban city government officials and Basey Mayor Igmedio Junjie Ponferrada.
The image of El Teniente will be returned to Tacloban through a fluvial procession on June 20 for the Balyu-an Rites at the Balyu-an Amphitheater.
The Balyu-an rites on June 20 will signal the start of the nine-day novena mass for the city’s 129th fiesta celebration.
It commemorates a religious tradition that can be traced back to the time when Tacloban was but a mere Sitio of Basey Town.
As Kankabatok—the early name of Tacloban—grew in prominence it was decided by the parish priest of Basey to swap their bigger image of the Sto. Nino with the smaller image of the former. – HENRY JAMES ROCA/CIO)