The Big Feast: Cebu Sinulog style
Sinulog is Cebu. This is one of the things that classifies Cebu among the other places in the Philippines. It is the annual festival in honor for Cebu’s patron saint, Sr. Sto. Nino. Celebrated every third Sunday of January, it is preceded with a 9-day novena, then a procession, and then on the day itself, a mardigras takes place. It is considered as one of the biggest religious feasts in the country. This is the peak season for Cebu’s tourism. People from all over the country and even the world comes to the city to join the celebration.
The Sinulog festival celebrates the conversion of the Cebuanos’ pagan beliefs to Christianity. During the mardi gras event, participants dress up colorful costumes and dance to the beat of the drums, and gongs and other parade sounds. Originally the participants only dance on the streets but now they have to perform when they arrive to their last stop at the Cebu City Sports Complex, where a lot of spectators and judges are waiting. Colorful floats are also present during the event as well as higantes, huge puppet-like structures controlled by someone inside it. The performers and presenters do not only come from Cebu, but also from other part of the country. Street parties also take place especially when the grand parade is finished.
After all the performances, there is a fireworks display at the sports complex, then in other areas in the city a few hours later.
It is a really great scene during the Sinulog Festival, from the solemnity of the procession on the day before the festival to the grandeur of the street dancing, where even the audience on their painted faces, dance along the streets dance to the beat of the parade music. One can really see how people get together because of faith, and yes especially for the fun part. Cebu knows what celebration is about.