Located in South East Asia. Rich in culture. Rich in tradition.
Cebu is known in the Philippines as the Queen City of the South. And every year, people celebrate one of the grandest event and the grandest festival which took place every 3rd Sunday of January — The Sinulog!
Sinulog is, in essence, a feast, a celebration, and a festival for the child Jesus known in Cebu as Santo Nino. (Usually shortened as Sto.Nino meaning Holy Child).
This celebration is long rooted in Cebuano’s history since the year 1521 during the time of Ferdinand Magellan. And amazingly, this celebration is continued until now.
Sinulog is well known by tourists as a street dance. The celebration becomes so popular that it becomes a competition. Several contingents from Cebu and even from neighboring islands came. But this is not the normal street dance competition you see from movies like Step Up or the movie StreetDance. No it’s not.
Sinulog consists of contingents dancing on the street, moving on a specified route allowing spectators to see the dance.
People can enjoy the show freely on the side of the street watching as contingents pass by. One contingent to another, they pass with their colorful props and costumes.
Here’s an actual photo that I took during the event. Click on the image to view:
One Sinulog contingent could comprise of around 100 members or more. And it could have around 80 or more contingents. You do the math, it’s 80 x 100 participants. And it’s been increasing in number every year. In fact, Sinulog 2011 have a total of 140 contingents.
With the huge number of participants, no wonder it took several hours to finish the whole celebration. Dance! dance! dance! From morning till night. Trumpets and drums roaring in the city. It’s really exciting to be there in the celebration.
The competition starts on the morning at around 9:00am or 10:00am. It will end at 7:00pm or up depending on the number of contingents.
One thing admirable in this celebration is the strong faith and determination of the people during Sinulog. Even rain can’t stop them from going. This is just a manifestation of strong faith towards Sto. Niño.
A huge crowd came to see this once in a year festival. The crowd is so tight you can even feel each others shoulder. But to them, these little hassles is a sacrifice as a form of thanksgiving to Sto.Niño.
But it’s a great experience. Several tourists and other foreigners came to watch the celebration. Spectators were just amazed how creative these contingents are.
Here are some photos displaying the props, the costume, the creativity of the contingents:
There are many photos of contingents not placed in this article. Too many of them.
These photos just gives you an idea of the event. The experience is different when you’re really physically present in the celebration.
Try Sinulog the next time you visit Cebu. It’s worth visiting.