Even when under the scorching heat of the sun or during heavy rainfall, nothing can stop this young girl from making the Miraculous Holy Child her source of strength and hope despite the challenges she is facing.
At the young age of eight, Mary Joy Paraiso began helping her parents by selling foldable fans.
Her mother is a candle vendor, while her father sells bottled water.
“Otso pa ako edad, naninda nako’g paypay,” she said.
According to Mary Joy, she sells at the Basilica right after attending her classes to help her family– being the eldest among five siblings.
“[Ang halin kay] amo ipalit og pagkaon ug [ibayad sa] abang sa balay,” she said when asked about what she does with her earnings.
After the two-year halt of the physical fiesta celebrations, Mary Joy feels delighted that devotees are back at the Basilica, hoping she can earn more for her family.
As a young devotee, she firmly believes that Sñr. Sto. Niño is her refuge in challenging times.
“Dili ko biyaan ni Sñr. Sto. Niño kon mahilantan ko ug mo-ampo ra ko nga maayo ko,” the young girl testified.
Now, in the 458th Fiesta Señor celebration, the only thing Mary Joy prays for is to finish her studies to achieve her dreams and plans.
“Ang akong gipangayo ni Sñr. Sto. Niño kay makahuman ko og eskwela para matuman ang akong pangandoy nga mag doktor para matabangan nako ang akong pamilya ug ubang tawo kon naa’y sakit,” Mary Joy concluded. /Nicholas Malaga, BMSN Media Centre student volunteer