Your Guide to Grander SINULOG 2018
Find out what's on Sinulog 2018 (Sinulog Festival, Schedule of Activities, Events, Survival Tips, Places to Stay in Cebu, Photos, Videos)
If sometime in the past you made a leisure tour of the Philippines without experiencing the thrills and excitement of the SINULOG FESTIVAL in Cebu, you should beat the panties out of your travel agent or tour operator. You have been shortchanged. It's like booking you on a Brazil tour and not discovering what CARNIVAL IN RIO was all about. Ok. Perhaps your schedule didn't run parallel to its grand festivities which happen only in January. Fine. The next time around just make sure you do your bookings with a genuine Cebuana. You'll know she's a Cebuana if she's beautiful and shapely and smiles instead of slapping you, if you get fresh.
Sinulog, pronounced as "See-noo-log" is a Cebuano word meaning "like the movement of water currents". And like a strong undercurrent that can grip you...this...one of the most festive, colorful events in the cultural spectrum of the country can hold you in awe. Like a delectable, mouth-watering Kobe steak served on your table, it sizzles. Its frenetic, mantra-like beat from the hundreds of drums during the grand parade cries out for you to let your hair down, join the street dancing and go wild.
Sinulog is actually an ancient ethnic dance performed by the early Cebuanos to pay homage to their gods. With Ferdinand Magellan's coming in 1521 and his gift of a Sto. Niño (Child Jesus) statue to Rajah Humabon's wife, the event not only introduced Christianity to Cebu but it became a foundation for the Sinulog's relevance. A depiction of Queen Juana raising the Sto Nino and blessing her subjects to ward off illnesses and demons became an integral part of the Sinulog Festival.
Sinulog 2018 Cebu, Philippines - USCcarolinianCHANNEL
Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims, devotees and tourists take part particularly in this grandest of parades. It consists of multi-colored, earthy street pageantry with participants donning vibrant hues and styles made of silk and trimmed or fastened with feathers. In a frenzied mood they dance in the streets to the spell-binding beat of drums and gongs and the mantral cries of "Pit Señor" (Long live the Christ child!) Then, there is also this frenetic whole week of religious and cultural activities climaxing in an all-day, almost all-night street dancing and parading in multi-colored costumes to a heart-thumping beat of native drums, trumpets and gongs. Resonating in the air are cult-like mantras wildly and loudly uttered by half-naked men and women with painted faces, stomping their feet on the ground as if preparing to go on a friendly warpath. This New Orleans-like Mardi Gras happens every 3rd Sunday of January, immediately a day after a mass celebration in the basilica is held in honor of Santo Niño de Cebu, long regarded as the city's patron saint. No invitations are handed out. You just let your hair down and join the fever- pitch revelry in the street.
Like the Hunger Games starting gong, SINULOG also has an official kickoff (in a peaceful way of course) through a solemn mass held at the Basilica del Santo Niño. It's the start of the 9 days novena mass to be attended and completed by thousands (if not millions) of devotees. Most say you get a wish if you complete it, give it a try and expect an unbelievably huge crowd of wishers (or thankers and faithfuls) and witness the heartwarming faith-in-humanity-restoring 'Bato Balani'.
As part of the tradition of bringing the Child Jesus to his parents in the different parishes of Cebu, a fluvial procession is held a day before the grand celebration. The image, encased in glass and bedecked with flowers is brought by watercraft representing a Spanish galleon.
Along with the busiest and wildest streets is also a holy and peaceful tradition held at the sea. It's kept alive by the promises of devotees. Almost a hundred (if not more than) yellow, gold and red flower-decorated, small to medium sized boats, sail at dawn with the holy Child Jesus. Fluvial procession faithful attendees will surely surprise you with inexplicable joy whenever their boat gets a chance to be near with the float of Sr. Santo Niño, it's considered a blessing. Not to mention the flowers that are showered at the bridge. Goose bumps everywhere.
If there's a festival, there's always a queen. This is one of the title by the very own reigning Miss Earth, Jamie Herrell. This is a search for the Lead Dancer from the contingents participating in the Sinulog Grand Parade based on exceptional beauty and dancing skills. The Festival queen should be able to dance with rhythm and grace accompanied with all artistic considerations (we're talking about some skillful slant-body pose with a huge smile).
Never book a flight on a Sinulog weekend. The city's probably already a chaos by the time you arrive. As for travelers by sea, reserve tickets as early as possible.
September, October and November are good months for hotel bookings. A little too early and a little too late might just disappoint you and your pockets. See Places to Stay in Cebu during Sinulog 2018.
Adhere to your body needs like enough rest, food and water. You're gonna need all the energy out in the streets so get enough rest, eat properly and make sure to pack up water before heading out.
Keep it simple. Shirts, shorts, hats, and sneakers are on top on the list when venturing. In fact, it all goes down on how you style your SINULOG attire. And oh, sunblock and umbrellas too.
Keep calm and cool. Keeping it festive is all you need to bear with the huge crowd, constant pushing, paint/beer showers and longer lines. Remember, it-'s all about having fun!
Keep your belongings at watch (especially for foreigners). The not-so-good people are also at bay during this occasion so really its better safe than sorry.
Take lots and lots of pictures. Share your fun and experience though pictures and social media updates. The internet is a better way to communicate with your friends since mobile networks are most of the time down during SINULOG.
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