And just like that, the holidays are over—which, in Cebu, means only one thing: Sinulog Fever!
While the country’s biggest festival is best known for the crazy parties happening on the streets, Sinulog goes beyond that. We take a look at its history, the various ways of celebrating it, and the schedule of activities, because yes, Sinulog actually lasts more than a weekend!
SO, HOW DID IT ALL START?
Ferdinand Magellan presented the image of the child Jesus or Santo Niño as a gift to Hara Amihan, the wife of Cebu’s ruler Rajah Humabon, when they landed in Cebu in 1521.
It is said that Hara Amihan was overjoyed at the sight of the Santo Niño and started dancing, paving the way to the conversion of 800 natives to Christianity and the changing of her own name to Queen Juana.
After Magellan was killed and Miguel Lopez de Legazpi arrived more than 40 years later, his men found the Santo Niño in one of the local houses. The devotion to the Santo Niño has steadily grown stronger since then, with the annual Sinulog parade that has gained momentum since it started in 1980.
OKAY, I’M READY TO CELEBRATE. HOW?
We ask Cebuanos about the different ways one can take part in the celebrations.
NIGHTWALK FROM DOWNTOWN TO MIDTOWN
Start off with a night visit at the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño – the focal point of the Sinulog festival. Then, the Magellan’s Cross where one can offer candles and prayers. Walk in the oldest street of the country, Colon and haggle on some pieces at night market. Then proceed to Osmeña Boulevard, where pictures of beautiful tourist attractions are installed at random parts.
Last stop should be the Fuente Osmeña Circle. Take a selfie with the giant Christmas tree and watch concerts of local artists inside the rotunda. Other than a good exercise, the night walk can let you experience the city’s lively culture. – PHILIP LAPINID, photographer
SINULOG AT THE GRANDSTAND
For repeat visitors who have had their dose of religious homage and the infamous street parties, staying at the Grandstand on Sinulog Day is another dimension of the festival that should be experienced. It is only at the Grandstand where dancing contingents get to perform their entire five-minute “ritual presentation.”
Enthusiasts of dance as a form of art and praise will surely appreciate the intricate costumes, larger than life props and backdrops, and visual effects set on the big stage to reflect each group’s storylines and interpretation of the Sinulog dance. – SINJIN PINEDA, travel blogger
Purchase your tickets at the Cebu City Sports Center along Jones Avenue, Cebu City. Tickets range from Php 1,000 to Php 2,500.
I suggest people attend the earliest Mass Novena schedule because the crowd is still manageable. I am not fond of congested areas and brushing of elbows, that is why I prefer this schedule. In addition, I get to start my day with God. I need my daily dose of positivity and enlightenment from the Holy Child. – FRANZ BULAN, online teacher
Novena Masses are from January 6 to January 14, with the first one starting at 4:00 p.m., and last one at 8:30 p.m.
I always look forward to the street dancing and partying. Think face paint and beer showers! It’s always fun even just walking through the crowds to your destination. You are greeted by strangers with “Pit Señor!” and a high-five, a shot, a bottle of beer, a hug, a slap of paint on your face and body, or all of the above so it’s best you wear clothes you’re okay getting rid of after the festivities.
Go out in the morning to watch the parade before heading out to street parties in the afternoon, that way you get to see the dances and it won’t be too crowded yet. – MAYAN BENEDICTO, travel guide
Mayan also hosts an open-for-all house party at Juana Osmena Ext., a few minutes away from the parade route and steps away from the party district. See Facebook event for more details.
GREAT! WHERE DO I GO?
Here’s the Schedule of Activities for Sinulog 2017.
December 1, 2016 – January 31, 2017
Sinulog Street Fair, Osmeña Boulevard
Friday, January 6: Sinulog 2017 Kick-Off
10:00 A.M.: Sinulog Trade Fair, SM City Cebu
02:00 P.M.: Solemn Mass, Basilica Minore del Santo Niño
03:00 P.M.: Launching Parade, Basilica Minore del Santo Niño to Cebu City Sports Center
05:30 P.M.: Novena Mass. Basilica Minore del Santo Niño
07:00 P.M.: Opening and Launching Program, Fuente Osmeña
Saturday, January 7: Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan
02:00 P.M.: Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan, Cebu City Sports Center
07:00 P.M.: Miss Cebu 2017 Pre-Pageant Night, Ayala Activity Center
09:00 P.M.: Street Party Bands Concert, Fuente Osmeña
Sunday, January 8: Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Dakbayan
03:00 A.M.: Cebu City 2017 Marathon – www.cebumarathon.com
02:00 P.M.: Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Dakbayan, Cebu City Sports Center
Wednesday, January 11
07:00 P.M.: Miss Cebu 2017 Coronation Night, Waterfront Cebu City Hotel & Casino
08:00 P.M.: Sinulog Idol, Fuente Osmeña
Thursday, January 12
06:00 P.M.: Balik Cebu Welcome Party, Ayala Activity Center
06:30 P.M.: Sinulog Festival Queen Runway Competition and Photoshoot
08:00 P.M.: Handumanan, Ayala Terraces
08:00 P.M.: Sinulog 2017 Idol Grand Finals, Fuente Osmeña
Friday, January 13
04:00 A.M.: Walk with Mary, Fuente Osmeña to Basilica Minore del Santo Niño
06:00 P.M.: Sinulog 2016 Dance Crew Finals, Cebu City Sports Center
07:30 P.M.: Sinulog Festival Queen 2016 Coronation Night, Cebu City Sports Center
08:00 P.M.: Cebu Popular Music Festival, Cebu Coliseum
Saturday, January 14
06:00 A.M.: Fluvial Procession of the Miraculous Image of the Sto. Niño
09:00 A.M.: Re-enactment of the Baptism of Queen Juana and Rajah Humabon, Basilica del Santo Niño
12:00 P.M.: 12th Street Vibration & Big Bike Rally 2017 by V-max Owners Group, Inc. Cebu Chapter
02:00 P.M.: Solemn Procession of the Miraculous Image of Sto. Niño
07:00 P.M.: Sinulog Fireworks Competition, SM City Cebu
07:00 P.M.: Street Party, Fuente Osmeña and Plaza Independencia
Sunday, January 15: Sinulog Grand Parade
4:00 A.M.: Mañanita Mass, Basilica del Sto. Niño
6:00 A.M.: Pontifical Mass, Basilica del Sto. Niño
8:00 A.M.: Holy Mass, Cebu City Sports Center
9:00 A.M.: Sinulog Grand Parade Carousel Kick Off
7:00 P.M.: Grand Finale and Grand Fireworks, Cebu City Sports Center
9:00 P.M.: Pyrospectacular Show, SM City Cebu
5:00 P.M.–2:00 A.M.: Sinulog DJ Mixing Grand Finals Night, Fuente Osmeña Circle
12:00 MN: Sinulog Fireworks, SRP
Monday, January 16
Awarding Ceremonies, Cebu City Sports Center
Saturday, February 4
01:00 P.M.: Sinulog Short Film Festival, SM City Cebu
06:00 P.M.: Awarding Ceremonies for Photo Contest, Short Film and Video Documentary Contest, SM City Cebu
February 4 –13
Photo Exhibit: Winning Photos Sinulog 2017, SM City Cebu
MORE ON #ZEENULOG
- The five events you shouldn’t miss on Sinulog weekend (via zeelifestylecebu.com)
- The ultimate Sinulog survival guide (via zeelifestylecebu.com)
A Tale of Two Queens
Cebu’s Conquest to the Universe
By Allain Dumon Fonte
There are only two worldwide events that could stop traffic in the entire country. First is a Pacquaio boxing match, the second is when a Filipina outshines other ladies in the Miss Universe pageant. The Miss Universe beauty pageant is one of the longest running and most prestigious beauty pageant. The Philippine candidates are to look forward to because for the past 10 years, our representatives always make it to the cut; not to mention winning 2 crowns in the last decade.
However, in the long history of the pageant, there were only 2 Cebuanas that represented the Philippines. The veteran and multi-awarded actress Pilar Delilah Veloso Pilapil-Penas, from Lilo-an, Cebu, represented the Philippines in the 1967 Miss Universe.
And in the 2019 Miss Universe pageant, the Philippines was represented by supermodel Gazini Christiana Jordi Acopiado Ganados, from Talisay City, Cebu; where she was a Top 20 finalist, and she bagged the “Best in National Costume” award. Her national costume was designed by Cebuana primier créature de mode, Cary Santiago.
Will a Cebuana represent the Philippines this year? Today, the 30th of September 2021, in Panglao Island, Bohol, a Filipina will be crowned Miss Universe Philippines 2021 and she shall represent our nation in Israel. Almost all pageant enthusiasts and pageant fans have set their eyes on the two Cebuanas in the pageant. One was widely talked about with her fierce runway challenge, while the other one was greatly applauded with her heart-warming and witty self-introduction. And after the preliminary pageant last Sunday, everyone is now confused who to put their bets on. One made waves as she struts in her swimwear, while the other one raised the bar higher as she promoted the rattan crafts by wearing it as her national costume. So, who are these Cebuanas that the entire nation is crazy about?
Steffi Rose Pearson Aberasturi is representing the Province of Cebu, while Beatrice “Bea” Luigi Gomez represents Cebu City. Both Steffi and Bea are front runners in this year’s pageant. And with their participation, the Miss Universe Philippines pageant is getting more exciting for the Cebuanos. Although, the two ladies are queens in their own rights because both have been crowned and have won major pageant events, they still have not escaped the scrutiny of this author. I have consistently followed both ladies as they submitted their entries for the virtual challenges assigned to them by the MUP organization, and here is what I have to say.
First, beauty pageants now are neither looking for another pretty face, nor another witty woman, not even the next runway model. Beauty pageants are now the venues of empowered women to express their thoughts freely while motivating other young women and girls. They only do not represent their cities, but they also become the ambassadors of trade and goodwill, introducing their cities to the world. Hence, for the Runway Challenge, I rated Steffi 9/10. The over-all runway challenge video is almost perfect. It showcased one of the achievements of the “Build, Build, Build” program of the government while giving a majestic view of the Cebu-Mactan Channel. Steffi flawlessly floats on her every step at the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway. It was a very well-thought production, but mostly, well-implemented by showing to the world that Cebu Province is at par to the world’s most advanced places in technology and development.
Second, beauty pageants are looking for woman of substance who has a sense of leadership and can motivate and empower other young women. For this category, I am giving Bea 10/10. Her self-introduction video is so natural and honest. It showcased her genuine commitment to serve others as a Philippine navy reserved officer and in participating in adrenaline-raising sports for the benefit of disadvantaged children. Bea also showcased her passion for extreme sports, showing that beautiful women are not only good with stiletto heels but are also up for a challenge in boxing and diving.
Third, the MUP needs someone who can speak and is confident. A beauty queen will use her voice to amplify the voices of those who do not have the opportunity to speak for themselves. Basing on the preliminary interviews of the two ladies, I am giving Bea 6/10. Her answers are correct but too safe that they are underwhelming and does not appeal strongly to the audience. Steffi, on the other hand, stood very confident and charming during the interview and I am giving her a score of 8/10. Steffi’s answers did not really hit the marks, her arguments are not that strong, but her confidence in her answers and in herself makes her responses convincing to those who are listening.
Lastly, as Miss Universe, you become an ambassador of the organization and of your country. Therefore, you need to be your best, always, and you need to be able to carry yourself with pride. This means, that when you enter a crowded room, you will be able to get everybody’s attention; and when you walk, you make heads turn in your every step. For this criterion, I am scoring Bea 9/10 because of her formidable performance in the preliminary swimsuit and evening gown competition. The last time I got so excited for a pageant was when Janine Tugonon made that iconic turn and pose at the 2012 Miss Universe evening gown competition. After seeing how Bea owned the runway in her swimwear performance, I am seeing another Janine Tugonon in the making! However, Steffi is not that far behind. Steffis’ charm and grace made her look regal in her evening gown. But, I must say that she was just too sweet for the swimwear competition, she must bring back that fierce walk in the runway challenge for the swimwear competition.
Both Bea and Steffi are already making the Cebuanos proud. Both of them are the crowd’s favorites, and we wish them the best for tonight’s Miss Universe Philippines grand coronation night. The MUP coronation event will be streaming live at Iconique Mall’s roof deck dining area. Show your support to these Cebuanas and don’t miss to watch the Miss Universe Philippines 2021.
Who Really is Miss Cebu?
Cebu City Tourism Commission Relaunches Miss Cebu
By Allain Dumon Fonte
Like a phoenix that resurrects from the ashes, so shall Miss Cebu 2022 blooms to a new dawn in the Queen City of the South. After 5 years of hiatus and whispered controversies that surround it, the Cebu City Tourism Commission is relaunching the search for Miss Cebu. Now is truly the high time that Cebu City must crown her new queen to bring back the spirit of pride amongst Cebuanos; and to have a queen to lead us in rekindling our passion to make Cebu City number one, again.
Miss Cebu was officially relaunched on the 16th of September 2021 at IL CORSO Mall at the South Road Properties; headed by Cebu City Tourism Commissioners, Hon. Philip Rodriguez and Hon. Cinbeth Orellano, and pageant director, Engr. Junget Primor. The launching was attended by Miss Cebu past winners, Cebu’s celebrated couturiers: Dexter Alazas, Edwin Ao, Jun Escario, and Jun Protacio; and celebrating with them are the ladies and gentlemen of the media and of the Cebu City Tourism Commission Office.
In the age of industrialization, the countries in the Asia Pacific region were coping with globalization and international trade. The Philippines is on a strategical advantage being the gateway to the East; and made Cebu as the Queen City of the South for her central location. Gifted with pristine beaches, abundant highlands, developing urban lifestyle, rich heritage, and friendly and skilled people, Cebu became an incomparable jewel for many investors. So in1983, some leaders and a few stakeholders from the Hotels, Resorts, and Restaurants Association of Cebu blessed with foresight, took advantage of the opportunities, and promoted Cebu as a travel and holiday destination; rebranding Cebu as an “Island in the Pacific”. Hence, the birth of Miss Cebu Tourism in 1984.
The Miss Cebu Tourism became an avenue to search for a Cebuana who shall embody the characteristics of Cebuanos and promote the tourism landmarks of the region. The Miss Cebu Tourism ran from 1984 to 1999 and has produced beauty queens that effectively promoted Cebu to the world. Because of this, Cebu was featured countless times in international travel magazines like “The Voyager”, “Adventure Travels”, “The Traveller”, “Explore”, and “Getaway”. The pageant has also helped in establishing strong international relations with Japan. This is the period when Japanese employees were reinforced with travel incentives. Through the promotions of Miss Cebu Tourism, Cebu became one of the destinations for the Japanese’ travel incentives; and this paved way for direct flights to Cebu from Narita and from Osaka.
Miss Cebu Tourism also paved way for direct flights from Hong Kong; and also from Singapore. Miss Cebu Tourism winners promoted Cebu’s landmarks, culture, arts, and crafts through a series of fashion shows and cultural trade and events in Singapore that stirred the interest of the tourists and investors alike. Hence, Cebu City also became a venue of trade and commerce with Singapore in the mid-1980’s.
In 2001, Miss Cebu Tourism evolved to Miss Cebu with the aim of promoting not only our tourism but also the city’s economic strengths, making Cebu as the new business hub in Asia. From the years 2001 to 2016, Miss Cebu queens have successfully put Cebu on the globe as an industrial, trade, and tourism leader in the Southeast Asian region. The pageant showcased the best of Cebu that intrigued numerous tourists, investors, and even global leaders to visit this small but bustling metropolis.
Miss Cebu… Now!
In the past decade, Miss Cebu also became a platform for the candidates to be the voice for the voiceless. Candidates do not only promote Cebu; the pageant also became a stage to discuss current events and promote advocacies in uplifting the lives of Cebuanos; to ensure their welfare, to promote equality, and to implement social policies. Through the years, Miss Cebu has elevated the standards of beauty pageants in the country and is even admired by international pageant enthusiasts. It has gathered a pool of ladies with intellect, integrity, and with substance to lead the Cebuanos to a new era of empowered women and with a more inclusive society. Miss Cebu has redefined the essence of femininity with the sense of style and leadership. Because of this, Miss Cebu has produced women who are leaders in their fields; from lawyers, doctors, public servants, tourism directors, industry managers, entrepreneurs, and even business leaders.
In 2019 up to the present, the corona virus pandemic has impacted all the economic sectors in Cebu, from the tourism industry to real estate, arts, fashion, manufacturing, business process outsourcing, food, travel, and retail industries. It is high time that Cebu must stand again on its feet and bring back its glory. Thus, the intense clamor to bring back Miss Cebu. Miss Cebu is no longer a mere beauty pageant; it is a wheel of development and a catalyst of economic advancement through its promotions of what the Queen City of the South can offer to the world. In the past, Miss Cebu winners and candidates worked tirelessly as our ambassadors and brought us to a dawn of progress, and they shall do the same in this most challenging time.
Who really is Miss Cebu?
The year 2022 is the rebirth of Miss Cebu. Miss Cebu’s candidates shall represent not only the tourism and the economy of the city; but they shall bring to the world our pride from the city’s crystal coastlines, lush hills, world-class urban living, deep history and rich heritage, exquisite delicacies, ecstatic festivals, thriving industries, skilled craftsmen, and esthetic arts; making Cebu as a UNESCO City of Designs. Our candidates shall be forward-thinking and strong-willed leaders who are empathic to the needs of her fellow Cebuanos, motivating the younger generation. And our Miss Cebu candidates will instill pride amongst Cebuanos with our roots and our identity as descendants of Rajah Daya, Datu Humabon, and Hari Lapu-Lapu; making us proud as people with unparalleled civilization enriched by colorful cultures and unequalled artistry. This shall be a quest not only for the most beautiful Cebuana, but a search for Cebuanas who can support and promote sustainable livelihood and lifestyle; and finally, to raise the bar higher for pageantry by producing women that can shape a society, that can bring the world to Cebu, and that can redefine the meaning of women empowerment.
So, who is really Miss Cebu? It can be you. The search for Miss Cebu 2022 is now on-going. If you believe that you are the woman that Cebu City needs, then please, present yourself and take the Cebuanos with you to a future of certainties, progress, and peace.
Weddings in Time of Corona
Intimate Venues for Intimate Weddings (Part 1)
Almost every city is on lockdown and the people are being quarantined; plus, gatherings are discouraged or may be limited to family members only, can we still exchange “I Do’s” and make beautiful and memorable weddings to cherish for a lifetime?
The new normal has made us appreciate intimate gatherings and cherish even the smallest of gatherings. If there is any good that this pandemic has brought us, it is to be grateful for what we have, and to make every moment with our family matters. Thus, any good news during this most challenging time is worth celebrating. And what can be better of a news if not for two people deciding to tie the knot?
Here are my suggestions to your unique and intimate wedding venues.
1. SERMON ON THE MOUNT
Situated in the highlands of Busay and Balamban, this private home built on a cliff is just perfect for an afternoon wedding. The lanai welcomes guests to a spectacular view of the hills; and the rustic theme of the house sets the romantic mood. Plus, who cannot fall in love to the landscape of various flora and fauna that surrounds this abode? Sermon on the Mount is just lovely.
Check out Sermon on the Mount Facebook page. To rate this venue:
Safety Protocols ★★★★
Romantic Ambiance ★★★★★
Value for Money ★★★★
2. Halla Cat Yacht Cruises
Halla Cat yacht cruises operate from the Mactan Wharf in Lapu Lapu City, Cebu. The company has two catamaran yachts: a medium size to accommodate 30-35 guests, and a larger catamaran that can accommodate 50-60 guests. They also serve two packages: a 7-hour island hopping package with lunch, or a 4-hour sunset cruise as the Mactan Channel. The yacht has an airconditioned dining hall, an upper deck al fresco dining space, and a bedroom where brides can retouch their make-up and change from their wedding gowns to their sleek reception dresses.
Check out Halla Cat Yacht Cruises at this page: HALLA CAT | Facebook. To rate this venue:
Safety Protocols ★★★
Romantic Ambiance ★★★★★
Value for Money ★★★
3. Purita Farms Vacation House
Situated in the heart of San Remigio, Cebu, what started as an exclusive family farm of the late Judge Romulo Senining and his wife Madam Purita Senining, is now a go-to-venue for intimate family gatherings and events. The farm is a Mango orchard that stretches to about 4 hectares of land, with adjoined two large hexagonal cottages in the middle overseeing the mystical views of the mango trees. The Vacation house has 5 bedrooms, a large kitchen, open space living area, a medium sized pool and vast view of nature. To locate the Purita Farms Vacation House, ask the locals for “manggahan”. The farm is known to the locals of San Remigio by that name.
Check out Purita Farms Vacation House in facebook. To rate this venue:
Safety Protocols ★★
Romantic Ambiance ★★★★★
Value for Money ★★★
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