The annual cultural and religious Sinulog festival in Cebu held every third Sunday of January is characterized by a very long parade with many groups of people dressed in colorful costumes while dancing on streets.
The Sinulog dance steps are believed to originate from Rajah Humabon’s adviser, Baladhay. It was during Humabon’s grief when Baladhay fell sick. Humabon ordered his native tribe to bring Baladhay into a room where the Santo Niño was enthroned, along with the other pagan gods of the native Cebuanos. After a few days passed, Baladhay was heard shouting and was found dancing with utmost alertness.
The Sinulog was danced in honor of their wooden statues in the period before Cebuanos were baptized. Then the image of Santo Nino was brought to Cebu and the local Catholic faith was established in the region.
Every year the Sinulog festival has various activities, such as Sinulog Street fair, Sinulog Idol, Photo contest, Film, Photo exhibit, Sinulog Festival queen runway, Grand parade and a lot more.
In order to know more about the annual Sinulog festival, here are the facts that you should know:
1. The Sinulog expression “Viva Pit Senyor” means “Long live, call on to the Lord.”
2. The Sinulog term comes from the Cebuano word “Sulog” which means the back and forth movement of current waters.
3. The first Santo Nino was a baptismal gift by Ferdinand Magellan. Magellan then gave an image of the Child Jesus to Amihan, wife of Rajah Humabon, it was christened as Juana to honor the Charles I’s mother – as a baptismal gift, according to the journal of Antonio Pigafetta.The same image can now be found at the Basilica Menore de Santo Niño in Cebu.
4. The Sinulog dance originated from the adviser of Raja Humabon.
5. It is supposed that the Sinulog was danced by the natives every year since the arrival of Magellan in 1521. But the festival was held in honor of the Santo Niño, and no longer of wooden idols.
6. The first procession of the image of Santo Nino happened in the Tupas village in 1565.
7. The first Sinulog parade was held on 1980 and it was organized by David Odilao Jr. Regional Director of the Ministry of Sports and Youth Development(MYSD) in 1980
8. A pontifical Mass is celebrated at the Basilica by the cardinal assisted by the Cebu bishops, on the Sinulog feast day. Many Cebuanos would go to the Basilica to attend the mass before watching the parade.
9. The Sinulog celebration lasts for 9 days and on the final day is the Sinulog grand parade.
10 Sinulog festival is one of the most attended festivals in the Philippines. The number of people who go to Cebu have reached over a million in recent years. In 2015, it was estimated 1.8 million people who joined the procession in Cebu. However, this year, organizers are expecting the number to increase.
Since, Sinulog is one of the biggest festivals in the Philippines and many devotees come to celebrate the festival. Here are some tips that might help you to have a wonderful experience in Sinulog festival:
This is the first thing that you need to secure before going out to other places. Make sure you have enough money in your hand.
Of course, when you’re going to a different city you need to have a plan. Take note of the schedules on the different activities of the festival. Have a map for the Sinulog festival grand parade, so you won’t get lost. Make sure as well that you have a place to stay to.
3. Wear something you’re comfortable
Make sure to wear clothes you are comfortable enough if you walk on the streets with the crowd. The weather might as well be sunny or rainy so make sure to bring an umbrella. However, for foot wear, do not wear high heels instead.. wear snickers, rubber shoes or any closed comfortable flats so you won’t get tired of walking because it’s going to be a long walk.
Another thing, never wear expensive jewelleries this is to make sure that you are safe from the eyes of thieves.
4. Bring water
Don’t forget to bring water. It will surely drains your energy, since it will be crowded and might as well be a sunny day so it is better to bring a bottled of water with you to prevent fainting spells also.
5. Bring your squad
It would not be fun without your squad, bring your awesome friends and enjoy the rest of the celebration. Don’t hesitate to make friends with new people as well. It would be better to have fun and enjoy with a group, the more, the merrier.
6. Take selfies
It would be more memorable if you take photos of places, food or everything you do with your squad. Photos would always remind you all the fun things you did during the Sinulog Festival.
Sinulog festival every year allows to have a party where you can join. It would always be fun to hang out with a bunch of crazy friends and end up partying , just make sure you have enough sleep and energy when you invade the rave party in Cebu.
However, Sinulog festival is a religious activity not drinking and wild partying. They may allow parties but not to the extent of engaging into wild ones.
8. Watch fireworks display
This is one of the best things to do during the Sinulog festival. There will be a 15-30-minute fireworks display at the Cebu City Sports Center for the grand finale. It does not only signal the end of Sinulog parade but it also shows the beginning of the end of the Sinulog season in Cebu.
9. Celebrity sightings
Like the usual festivals, the celebration would not be complete without the presence and participation of the celebrities here in the Philippines. These celebrities are usually paraded along the carousel route on a sponsored float.
10. Food and Souvenirs
You don’t have to worry about food and souvenirs because there are hundreds of them around the city. There are a lot of stalls where you can find Sinulog souvenir items and food which you could bring home as presents.
There you have it! I hope this will help you to have a wonderful experience in Sinulog festival.