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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

2011 Sinulog Festival

The Sinulog Festival is held every third Sunday of January each year in Cebu City. I haven’t been to any of the previous Sinulog except this year wherein it was my first time to experience such a colorful spectacle, rain or shine it didn’t diminished the zest of the Cebuanos to partake in such a grandeur event as witnessed also by countless visitors from the Philippines and other countries.

Sunday - the day after my birthday was the highlight of the festival and as early as 9:00 AM, together with my friend Toni (she prefers the spelling Tony though) who is based in Cebu and her friend MecMec, we lined up along the thick crowd around Fuente circle hoping to catch the parade which started at around 8:30 AM.

I wanted to take clear photographs of the parade, but doing so, standing in line at the side of the road is almost impossible as there's a lot of people who were issued photographer's pass taking images of the parade participants. So me and Toni went inside the rope barrier and to our delight nobody bothered to check our credentials. Haha.

So there, we walked from Fuente circle up to the Mango area amid a flood of people, each faces gazing across the street marveling at the colorful costumes of the participants which was primarily composed of public schools students.


Each contingent has their own unique choreography in dancing to the Sinulog beat and wore different costume themes while being led by their own 'princess' holding a statue of the Sto Niño. It was raining a bit during the parade which made it more admirable for the kids to go on with the festivities for good and get ill later. Drumming beats, gongs echoing and trumpets fading in and out of your eardrums, coupled with the alluring sounds of laughter and other expression of joys from the spectators. Everything all add up to the wondrous festive mood. It makes you forget about the somber weather which is currently raining down the parade.

The word "Sinulog" was coined from the Cebuano word "Sulog" which describes a "water current-like movement". This in turn is applied in the forward-backward movement of a typical Sinulog dance, which is done as an accompaniment to the beating drums by making one step backward and two steps forward. The Sinulog dance step is said to have been originated by Baladhay, Rajah Humabon's adviser after a still unexplained event when Rajah Humabon fell sick and and after sending out for his adviser Baladhay to be taken into the church where a Sto Nino was enthroned, who, after a few moments, Baladhay was found to be spiritually possessed and doing the jiggy that morphed into the present day Sinulog dance.

The Sinulog also highlights the Cebuanos devotion to the Santo Niño as evidenced by the throngs of people who participates in the annual procession and the festival which honors the image of the young Jesus Christ. A mass was held the previous day (Saturday) administered by the newly installed Archbishop of Cebu, Jose Palma at the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño and was also attended by his eminence Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal.

From color yellows, to violet to green to gold. Each colors presented a unique look of the parade making it a feast for the eyes even to those who's experiencing only for the first time just like myself.

During the middle of the parade, Tony invited me to come along her friend's house who were hosting a party over lechon and other foods. It was a great gesture and coupled by the fact that I was already starving from the long walks among a thick crowd. After lunch, I went back to the side of the road and watched the remaining contingents passed by. The parade which started somewhere Fuente circle came to its final destination at the Abellana Cebu Sports Complex which was near Yangee's place (Tony's friend).

I saw Bong Revilla (who unfortunately showed up without his Panday character) and wife Lani Mercado and earlier the day President Noynoy Aquino was also in attendance at the Cebu Sports Complex to watch the early arrivals of the first set of contingents. As a helicopter hovers around dropping confettis and the shouts and shrieks of curious and enthralled spectators mixed with the jubilant drum beats and sound of joy, I felt really glad that I was finally able to witness the Sinulog festival for the first time and I'm pretty sure I'd come back for more Sinulogs in the future.

Then came along a bevy of beautiful girls on one of the floats, I focused on my telepoto lens and found out they were the current crop of Mutya ng Pilipinas winners. How I wished they also did some dance moves but it was a bit strange that all of them looked half Caucasians, I guess we've come a long way from the Mutya Crisostomos and the Michelle Aldana's of the beauty pageant world who epitomizes the morena look of Filipinas. But hey, who's complaining? Definitely not me.

Come nigh time that's where the street party turn its notches higher with free flowing delight among a raucous-like but in a positive definition kind of crowd, nothing mayhem nor rowdy happened to anybody at all. It was all rockabilly, psychobilly and festive atmosphere that gets inside you and awash you with good feelings and a celebratory mood. It was also great that aside from the Sinulog experience itself, I get to meet a new set of friends through Tony who introduced me to her friends and had me joined them throughout the Sinulog festival.

with Tony, and her friends
Witnessing my first ever Sinulog Festival has afforded me a glimpse of a one of a kind component of our culture and at the same time indulging deeper into a long live tradition that is uniquely Cebuano.


lakwatsera de primera said...

lovely pictures Marky! you captured well the beauty and emotion of the festival.

thepinaysolobackpacker said...

ang nice ng birthday trip mu Marky, sa Sinulog pa tlga! M sure you had a lot of fun it shows naman in your story and your photos. cool! mukhang nahihilig ka na sa festivals ah! :D

tonybonita said...

Nice work Marky! Awesome blog about Sinulog Festival! Happy to know that you had a great time. You are always welcome to visit next year! :)

☮Pinay Travel Junkie☮ said...

vibrant shots marky! belated happy birthday ulit :)

Pinoy AdvenTurista said...

nice shots!

pusang kalye said...

sabi mo nga.di napigilan ng ulan ang spirit ng mga tao. ganun tayo dapat. habang tinitignan ko ang mga pics, parang naririnig ko ang mga tambol. napapa-indak pamandin ako lagi pag me tambol na na kasama. ang festive ng environment and all. I will try this one din next year....

Berniemack Arellano said...

Belated Happy Birthday! Di tayo nagkita pero nasa Fuente-Mango area lang ako. Anyway, lovely shots! :)

Markyramone said...

@Claire, thanks - next year try mo pumunta

@Gael - I just wanna witness it, compare to just seeing it on TV :) and it was a great experience too

@Tonybonita - thanks ulet for accompanying me and regards to your friends.

@Gay - salamat ulet :) kita kita sa 29? postponed ba Batanes nyo?

@Mervin - thanks man!

@Anton - you should go next year, bring your wife and come with other PTB's. I'm hoping to be back ulet

@Bernie - I saw Enrico and Ed, but I missed out on Chin, Carla, Doi, you, Lakbay and the Where Thee duo hehe dami kasi tao :)

Earl (Suroy Pilipinas) said...

I missed this. I love the 2nd to the last pic.I thought si Ynez Veneracion yan! Great photos Marky! : )

xine said...

hello marky: thanks for dropping by cebu :) so nice of you to take part of the festivities :) nice pictures by the way :)

Anonymous said...

Hallo :) I've never joined festivals like this. My first time would be this weekend in Iloilo for Dinagyang. :D Thanks for sharing, Marky!

Markyramone said...

@Earl, yeah a tisay version of Ynez indeed haha

@Christine, tara sama ka next time, tas sama ren ako hiking

@Nel, I'll be at Dinagyang too see you there :)

Chyng said...

cool, you gate crashed in a festival! now that's the priceless moment aside from being there.
inggit na inggit ako!

Berniemack Arellano said...

@Marky...nalunod ako sa dami ng tao...at ulan, hehe! But it was all worth it. :)

Pinoy Boy Journals said...

awesome photos man, especially the beauty queens! ang gaganda naman nila! he he

Markyramone said...

@Chyng, yung sa next Masskara sama ka na diba...book na tayo :)

@Benie, yeah i was looking for Chi-chi among the thick crowds...no luck though :(

@Pinoy Boy, yeah hands down - hope they join Dinagyang too haha

xine said...

@marky: i was there...kahit umuulan nakipagsiksikan pa rin :) hahaha

fetus said...

uy naknang. yung mga mutya ng pilipinas, mukha yatang mga bading ah? meron nga akong nakunan ng picture akala ko babae, bading pala.

Markyramone said...

the Mutya winners are too tisay for a Pilipina beauty pageant winner....mas gusto ko yung Michelle Aldana, Mutya Crisostomo kind of look before....but I'll settle for these lovely women anytime hehe

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