Viva Pit Senyor!  St Joseph’s students Riley Ponce and Emman and Darlene Cantillana

February 4, 2021

A colourful Christian celebration which has been enjoyed in the Philippines for centuries has been enthusiastically brought to life at St Joseph’s Catholic Church in Murgon.

It’s the first time the annual Sinulog festival has been held in Murgon, and it’s all thanks to parish priest Fr Bryan Pipins – who lived in the Philippines for three years – and members of the local Filipino community.

Yvette Valdez-Robrigado, one of the organisers, said more than 100 people from Kingaroy, Wondai, Goomeri, Proston, and towns in-between joined in the festivities.

“It was wonderful to see the community gather together to show appreciation and understanding of different cultures,” Yvette told

“As an immigrant, I felt valued and accepted.

“It was a wonderful way for our Fil-Australian children to celebrate their roots and experience first-hand one of the most iconic celebrations from their cultural heritage.

“One elderly lady told me she had not been to Mass in a while but she thoroughly enjoyed the celebration and the choir’s lively singing.”

People dressed in colourful clothing, many wearing the traditional red and gold colours linked to the festival.

A statue of the Christ Child was carried in a procession from St Joseph’s school to the church, with people shouting “Viva Pit Senyor!” (“Long Live the Christ Child!”).

There was dancing, singing and a “massive” buffet featuring plates of traditional Filipino foods.

“It was a good way to meet new friends over good food and family-centred activities,” Yvette said.

* * *

Sinulog is held in celebration of one of the Philippines’ most famous religious relics, the Santo Niño de Cebú.

This statue of the baby Jesus was handed to the then-leader of Cebu, Rajah Humabon, by the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1521.

The event is celebrated as the birth of Christianity in the country.

The story goes that when the statue was handed to Queen Juana, the consort of the Rajah, she danced with joy – the first Sinulog dance.

Sinulog comes from the Cebuano Binisaya word “sulog” which means “like water current movement” which depicts the forward-backward step of the Sinulog dance.

The Sinulog Festival is held annually on the third Sunday of January.

[Photos by Yvette Valdez-Robrigado]

The colourful procession heading to St Joseph’s Catholic Church … Fr Bryan Pipins is carrying a small statue of the Christ Child
Maia Robrigado wearing the traditional colours of the Sinulog festival … red and gold
Little boys dress as the Christ Child … Noah Robrigado was dressed as Murgon’s Santo Niño
Friends Elly Knight, Maria Whalen, and Lydia Meehan were dressed to impress!
The Cantillana family travelled from from Goomeri … Darlon and Agnes with their children Emman, Nathan, Darlene and Caitlyn are pictured with St Joseph’s student Ava Cent and June Colley (in the festival float)
Garry Pidgeon, from Merlwood, with Fr Bryan Pipins, SJ
Mia, Evelyn, Riana and Philip De Guzman, from Kingaroy
Wondai physiotherapist Fran Hutton, centre, with friends
The Robrigado family … Yvette, Maia, Paul and Noah
Benji and Stan Whalen

[UPDATED with correction]


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