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)