Manila

Taking care of the Infant Christ

Taking care of the Infant Christ

FINISHING TOUCHES. A worker at Tess Siquijor's shop fits a dress to a newly-restored Sto. Niño.

All photos by Rappler.com

A small compound in Tondo that used to fix Japanese dolls is now a go-to place for devotees who want their Sto Niño images restored

For 29 years, a small neighborhood in an alleyway in Tondo worked round the clock restoring images of the Infant Jesus and other religious images days before the Pista ng Sto Niño de Tondo (Feast of the Infant Jesus). Then the pandemic happened.

Known in the neighborhood as Aling Paring’s restoration shop, the small house has been the go-to place of devotees who want to have their religious images be restored before the grand feast in Tondo.

“Before the pandemic, we already don’t accept clients a week before the feast because we are already full-house during that time – which is very different from the situation now,” said Aling Paring’s daughter, Tess Siquijor, who now manages the shop.

HANDS ON. Tess Siquijor (right) oversees the restoration process of each religious images brought to their shop.

The repair shop repaints, attaches missing parts, and tailors bright clothes for images. It started as a shop that fixed Japanese dolls.

Nagsimula talaga eto sa pagrepair lang ng mga Japanese dolls, tapos nasubukang magtahi ng mga damit para sa mga Sto Niño hanggang nakilala ng mga taga-Tondo,” Tess said.

(We started as a repair shop for Japanese dolls, then we tried sewing clothes for the Sto Niño until Tondo residents knew about us.)

As they become known in Tondo as a pioneer place in the restoration of Sto Niño and other religious images, the small house of Aling Paring started to hire some of their neighbors to help in their business. The restoration price ranges from P500 to P1,500 depending on the size of the image.

PRECISION. A worker carefully fits an ornament on the hand of an image.

Kinukunsidira namin ‘tong biyaya ni Sto Niño (We consider this a gift of the Sto Niño),” Tess added.

She said around this time in previous years, the shop would have as much as a hundred images but since the pandemic, the number had been halved.

CRAFTSMANSHIP. Bright garments are tailored to fit every Sto Niño.
HANDCRAFTED. Stitching the garment of a newly restored statue.

On January 11, Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno signed Executve Order No. 02 series of 2021 prohibiting street parties, stage shows, parades, street games, and other similar activities like Lakbayaw during the celebration of the feast of Sto Niño de Tondo and Pandacan on January 16 and 17.

This comes after thousands of devotees flocked to Quiapo to join the celebration of the Feast of the Black Nazarene, which has been feared to cause a spike in COVID-19 cases in the coming days.

Meanwhile, Tess and the whole Aling Paring’s restoration will continue to “take care” of the Infant Christ until the day comes when everyone can celebrate the feast again that typically attracts thousands of visitors. –Rappler.com

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