The Manila City government held the first Misa de Gallo or “Simbang Gabi” at the Kartilya ng Katipunan in Ermita, Manila on Tuesday evening.
The anticipated mass started at 8 p.m. and was led by church officials of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene. It was also made available for public viewing via Facebook livestream.
Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, who attended the mass, said this was one of the city government’s ways to keep Filipino tradition alive amid the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Ito ay programa ng city government para ‘yung mga tradisyon nating mga Pilipino ay tuloy pa rin ngunit sa maingat na pamamaraan (This is a program by the city government to continue our Filipino tradition in a safe manner),” he told reporters.
Misa de Gallo or “Simbang Gabi” is a series of dawn masses that the faithful attend starting from December 16 to Christmas Day on December 25. It is said that when one completes the masses that they attended, what they are praying for will come true.
Domagoso also said that the dawn masses at the Kartilya ng Katipunan are an option for those who want to attend masses but are wary of going inside confined spaces with several other people.
Studies have shown that the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is more easily transmitted in confined spaces than in open air spaces.
“Dito, malaki ‘yung lugar, kayang dumistansya, open air. Katulad na rin ng panawagan ng IATF na, hangga’t maaari, medyo ‘yung mga pag-samba, pag-simba, pananalangin ay sa open air at spread (out) at may distansya (Here, the area is big, physical distancing can be done, it is an open-air space. In line with IATF’s call that, as much as possible, praise, worship, and attending masses should be done in open areas where people are spread out and can maintain distance),” he said.
The Manila mayor also encouraged mass attendees to roam around some of the city’s nearby attractions, such as Mehan Garden where the Paskuhan sa Maynila Christmas bazaar is being held, and Intramuros.
However, he warned the public to stay careful and vigilant against the threat of COVID-19. The local chief executive said wearing of face masks and shields and physical distancing must still be observed.
Churches in the capital city also held the first night of Misa de Gallo with 30 percent capacity of attendees. Markers were also placed outside the churches to ensure physical distancing.