Why You Should Watch Cebu Sinulog Festival

Sinulog 2014 : My Wife Joan And My Son Lawrence John
Sinulog 2014 : My Wife Joan And My Son Lawrence John

Tribal masks were sold along the street of Fuente Osmena During Sinulog

Two weeks from now Cebu City will be celebrating its annual Sinulog Festival. The entire City is preparing for the big event and everyone is excited.

Sinulog Festival is held every 3rd Sunday of January and for this year, it will be happening on January 18, 2015.

A little history about Sinulog Festival.

Colon Street, Cebu at Spanish Era
Colon Street, Cebu at Spanish Era

Long time ago before the Christianity was introduced in the Philippines, particularly in Cebu province, Sinulog was already danced by the native Cebuanos in honor of their wooden idols. Then Ferdenand Magellan came to Cebu on April 7, 1521 and introduced Christianity. He planted a wooden cross to honor the king of Spain and claimed Cebu as their colony.

He gave the Santo Nino Statue ( Image of the child Jesus) as a baptismal gift to Hara Amihan, wife of Cebu’s Raja Humabon who was later named Queen Juana. Then followed by the baptism of the other 800 natives.

Devotees Holding The Statue Of Santo Nino
Photo Courtesy To Orlanie Lozano : Devotees Holding The Statue Of Santo Nino

From that on Sinulog dance was then offered to Senior Santo Nino.

Few weeks after the conversion of Cebu, Magellan went across the land of Mactan and unfortunately killed on April 27, 1521 during the battle against Raja Lapulapu.

It took 44 years before the next expedition to arrive in Cebu. Miguel Lopez de Legaspi came on April 28, 1565 and his ships bombarded the village. One of the soldier, Juan Camus found a wooden box and inside it was the image of the Santo Nino.

And it all started then.

Sinulog Dance

Sinulog Dance Parade
Sinulog Dance Parade : Photo Courtesy To Orlanie Lozano

Long time ago Queen Juana danced sinulog while carrying the image of Santo Nino in her hand then extending it to her subordinates acting as if she was giving grace to them. The dance steps was base on the so-called “Sulog” a cebuano term for a current of water movement. Sinulog dance is performed by advancing the feet two-step forward and one step backward. The simplicity of the steps was then the signature of the Sinulog dance.

The Present.

Dancing With Santo Nino
Dancing With Santo Nino : Photo Courtesy To Orlanie Lozano

Sinulog is a ritual dance in honor of the miraculous image of Senior Santo Nino.

It is now the major event in Cebu City when January comes. Hundreds of thousands of devotees and tourists will be witnessing the colorful parade that will take more than 9 hours before it reach the destination.

The Queen Is Dancing With Senior Santo Nino
Photography by Orlanie Lozano : The Queen Is Dancing With Senior Santo Nino

Participants of the parade are children, teenagers, young adults and old ones.

Before The Grand Sinulog Parade.

There will be a series of activities before the Feast Day come.

In preparation for the Feast, a 9 Day Holy Mass will be held at Basilica Del Santo Nino Church. Thousands of devotees will be participating the Holy mass until the 9th day.

Adoration Of Senior Santo Nino. : Photography by Orlanie Lozano
Adoration Of Senior Santo Nino. : Photography by Orlanie Lozano

The altar will be full of flowers of different kinds and colors. A crown formed flowers will be on the top of the Holy Child while it sits on a bouquet of flowers. The church will be filling with crowd as they pray, give thanks, seek for miracles and ask for forgiveness.

This is the only time where all walks of lives meet and pray together.

This is the time where Families unites again after separated for a long time. Love and joy will certainly fill the place and a beautiful smile imprint on every people’s face.

Activities On Some Areas Inside Cebu City.

Devotees Hearing Holy Mass At Basilica del Santo Nino
Devotees Hearing Holy Mass At Basilica del Santo Nino : Photo Courtesy To Orlanie Lozano

From day one until day nine of the 9 days Novena, a series of variety shows will be showing every night at Fuente Circle. Different bands will be playing, a cultural performances of some universities will be showing and a lot more.

Two big malls such as Ayala Center and SM Mall will have its Sinulog activities. Ayala center mall will be holding Miss Cebu 2015 Pre-Pageant Night. A Sinulog Fireworks Competition will be  held outside SM City Mall.

Other streets will be holding street parties and most of the store will be closing late at night.

A Day Before Sinulog Grand Parade!

Sinulog Fluvial Parade
Sinulog Fluvial Parade: Photo Courtesy To Orlanie Lozano

Fluvial Parade!

A religious fluvial procession is held at dawn with the statue of Santo Nino carried on a decorated pump boat full of flowers and candies sails from Mandaue City to Cebu City. The procession ends at Basilica del Santo Nino Church followed by the re-enactment performance of the baptism to the Christianity of Cebu.774826_10151373304889216_892002013_o

In the afternoon, more holy procession will be held on the major streets of Cebu that will last hours due to thousands and thousands of crowd in attendance.

The Big Day!

Some Foreign Tourist Enjoy The Festival
Foreign Tourist Enjoy The Festival : Photo Courtesy To Orlanie Lozano

Hotels, Inns, Pension Houses, Dormitories, Apartments and Rooms for rent are absolutely filled two weeks before the grand Sinulog parade happen. Even Mactan Island hotels are totally loaded with guests.

Photography by Orlanie Lozano : People Are Coming From Different Places In The Philippines.
Photography by Orlanie Lozano : People Are Coming From Different Places In The Philippines.

People from different islands in the Philippines are coming to Cebu to witness the Sinulog Festival. There are few hundreds foreigner of different countries will take part of the Sinulog Grand Parade  as well.

Some Major streets in Cebu will be closing to give way to the Sinulog Grand parade.

Thousands Of Sinulog Crowd.
Thousands Of Sinulog Crowd. Photography by Orlanie Lozano

Above  across the carousel route hangs a thousands of colorful small flags that partially create shade to hundreds of thousands of spectators during mid day. Then, groups of volunteers and ROTC cadets forms a parallel line on both side of the street to control and protect the crowd when the parade starts.

Queen Juana (Re-enactment)
Queen Juana (Re-enactment) : Photo Courtesy To Orlanie Lozano

Two hours before the grand parade, contingents prepare themselves and start forming line according to their respective dance number.

The grand parade route is 6km long and about 9 to 12 hours (Due to continues crowd build up) before it reach the Grandstand of the Cebu City Sports Complex where they will do their masterpiece dance.

Sinulog Dance. Two Steps Forward and One Step Backward. Photography by Orlanie Lozano
Sinulog Dance. Two Steps Forward and One Step Backward. Photography by Orlanie Lozano

However, contingents still dance while making their way to the grandstand and doing the two-step forward and one step backward, the Sinulog Dance move.

During the grand parade, a lot of local celebrities will be riding on the float car and a number of Sinulog giants will be showing.

Sinulog Giants
Photography by Orlanie Lozano : Sinulog Giants

Bloggers, local and international medias and writers will be everywhere to take part of the information relay.

After the Sinulog Grand Parade, a fireworks display will be happening at South Reclamation Area and Cebu City Sports Complex Grandstand. While Alyala Center Mall will have its own fireworks display also.

Street party bands at Fuente Osmena, Concert Series sa Sugbo at South Reclamation Area and Pyrospectacular Show at SM City Mall will complete the Sinulog Festival Celebration. The street party and concert will last until 2AM dawn the next day.

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15 thoughts on “Why You Should Watch Cebu Sinulog Festival”

  1. What a beautiful blog! A nine-hour parade. Oh my gosh! That’s long. It’s all so lovely. I especially liked the picture with the umbrellas.I hope it is a blessed time for you and your family. Thanks so much for sharing this.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes Calen, a 9 hours parade. Sometimes we call it a sacrificial parade.The dancers were so tired when they reach the Main stage, but still they have the energy to show their best. Imagine they will start dancing at 9am then probably arrive at grandstand at 7pm.

      By the way thank you for liking my post.:-)

      Like

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