Things Every Sinulog Festival Attendee Should Be Aware Of
The holiday season is almost done, but in just a couple of weeks, another festival is coming our way—the Sinulog Festival. There are some interesting facts about Sinulog like how it’s sometimes called the Philippines’s version of the Mardi Gras in Brazil. Just like Christmas, it is during this time that major streets in the city are adorned with colorful decorations in preparation and also as a way to welcome the massive flock of tourists from all parts of the world.
The most anticipated events include the fluvial parade, solemn procession, the grand parade, the street dancing, coronation of the Festival Queen, and the Miss Cebu pageant. Apart from this, younger folks also look forward to a series of night shows happening in almost every corner in the heart of the city and, of course, the grand fireworks.
So if this is your first time to witness the celebration, we have here more facts about Sinulog to fully appreciate what the festivity truly is about. We also included some tips for you to enjoy your Sinulog experience.
Interesting Facts About Sinulog
Señor Santo Niño
Sinulog is the biggest festival in the Philippines. It is held every third Sunday of January in Cebu City to express devotion to child Jesus, Sr. Sto. Nino. It’s also a celebration of the day Cebuanos embraced Catholicism from the Spaniards. Before you join the festivities, make sure to follow the tradition of visiting the Basilica del Sto. Nino first and pay homage to the real reason for the celebration.
Attended by Millions
Every year during this time, millions of pilgrims slash tourists from other parts of the country (and the world) flock to the city to witness and continue the old tradition of honoring Sr. Sto Nino. Those who haven’t heard of the festival might think the event is not that big, but one of the most known facts about Sinulog is that it’s something everyone looks forward to. Last year, the number of attendees were estimated to be around 2 million.
Definitely one of the most important facts about Sinulog is that through the years, it has become a good avenue to showcase local talents, something the local government is continuously pushing. That’s why they have organized Sinulog Idol, the local version of American Idol. The locals show off their singing talents and compete for the title.
Witnessing Sinulog involves a lot of walking because major roads will be off-limits to both public and private transport. So one of our tips for Sinulog is to wear your most comfortable clothes and footwear. Sinulog activities are mostly done outdoors, so it’s recommended that you bring with you a small backpack that contains the following essentials: sunglasses, sunscreen, hats, foldable umbrella, extra shirts, and face towels. And also do not forget to bring extra power bank to avoid being separated from your companions and ensure continuous communication with them. And another thing, leave your jewelry at home.
The grand Sinulog parade or street dancing, which is one of the main highlights of the celebration, first started in 1980 and lasted for nine hours or longer. Dancers from before wore more costumes and danced to the rhythm of the drums, trumpets, and other traditional musical instruments. The Sinulog dance is a dramatization of the presentation of the Santo Niño to the Queen. In recent years, the contingents come from various neighboring towns and provinces, dressed in colorful costumes and dance in the streets around the city.
Another thing you can look forward to in the Grand Sinulog parade aside from the street dancers are the various floats with amazing designs. You can see the creativity of the Filipinos through the designs, which are all fascinating to look at.
Following the parade are the street parties. Almost every corner in the city has a party going on. Although you won’t find any vehicle that will possibly block your way in the street, still expect a traffic—a human traffic. People usually go in groups, so make sure that all communication with your group is open to avoid separation. There will be some pulling and pushing, sweaty to smelly skin-to-skin contacts. Don’t cringe, these are all part of being in the middle of the street during this time. You can party wet and wild until the sun rises the next day, literally. (But there are rumors that there will be no street party for the next year’s Sinulog Festival. (Saddening, but if true, surely, it’s all for the right reasons.)
Face Paints and Tattoos
Face painting and henna tattooing are among the things that are often done by Sinulog participants.
Because of the huge number of people who travel to Cebu for the Sinulog Festival, it’s not surprising to see celebrities joining the celebration for extra exposure. Actually, people are now used to their presence during the parade.
Cebu City Sports Center aka Abellana
The Grand Finale comes after the parade. It is usually held in Abellana or Cebu City Sports Complex. There will be presentations from celebrities and city’s VIPs. Also happening there is the most awaited grand fireworks display.
No list of interesting facts about Sinulog is complete without the mention of the top favorite part of the whole celebration. After a whole tiresome day of hiking, people are treated to several spectacular fireworks displays. There two or three venues people can choose from to watch, and that includes the Cebu City Sports Complex, Cebu Business Park–Ayala, and SM City Cebu.