Sinulog 2016: Cebu at its best

Sinulog Festival 2016
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My Sinulog 2016 Experience

Wondering what happened during Sinulog 2016? Just for all of you to know, Sinulog came from the word ‘sulog’ which means ‘flow of water current’, and it is a celebration of the birth of Christianity in the Philippines. For you to have an idea on what transpired last Sinulog week, read on as I, the King of Sinulog, will share to you an account of my personal experience in seeing the Queen City of the South up close and personal during the grandest and the biggest festival of the Philippines.

Basilica Minore del Santo Nino - Sinulog 2016 Photos
Basilica Minore del Santo Nino – Sinulog 2016 Photos

Sinulog 2016 was officially launched on the 8th of January and it was celebrated with a solemn mass at the Basilica del Santo Nino. It was also the culmination of the novena masses which were attended by thousands of devotees from all over the country. You’ll witness the crowd unite in singing Bato Balani sa Gugma with their hands waving at Señor Santo Niño.

Novena Masses
Novena Masses
Program at Cebu City Sports Complex
Program at Cebu City Sports Complex

It was followed by a launching parade from the Basilica to the Cebu City Sports Complex wherein dance groups from participating schools graced the streets with an extravaganza of colorful costumes and artistic street dancing choreography. The kick off countdown began as all the participating schools gathered together on stage for a final performance culminating with a grand fireworks display that really amazed the audience.

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Sinulog Media Access Pass
Sinulog Media Access Pass

I was fortunate enough to be granted a media access pass to the majority of Sinulog events thanks to the Sinulog Director, Mr. Ricky Ballesteros and also the Director of Cebu City Tourism, Ms. Cinbeth Orellano. With this, I was able to get through human barricades and get in to private events and see Sinulog up close and personal for the first time despite living in Cebu ever since I was born.

Ready for the festivities
Ready for the festivities

The following days, I was able to witness the Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan and Dakbayan, composed of elementary and high school students from participating schools in the metropolis and also the participating municipalities in northern and southern Cebu. These kids have been practicing their routine as early as the fourth quarter of 2015 and burning their midnight candles amidst their class schedules just to dance in honor of Señor Santo Niño. Their hard work indeed paid off as they entertained the audience with their graceful and coordinated movements and creative props.

Cebuano streetfood
Cebuano streetfood
Sinulog Choir Competition at Robinsons Galleria
Sinulog Choir Competition at Robinsons Galleria

Another event I’ve witnessed was the Sinulog Choral Competition Grand Finals at Robinson’s Galleria at the North Reclamation Area. You’ll be mesmerized while listening to the angelic voices of the participating groups with matching Sinulog-inspired costumes. The event also culminated with the singing of the theme song of the International Eucharistic Congress by all the participants.

Fuente Nightly Show and Sinulog Idol
Fuente Nightly Show and Sinulog Idol

There were also free nightly shows at the ever historic Fuente Osmeña Circle with a cultural extravaganza performed by colleges and universities in Cebu. What usually follows is an episode of the Sinulog Idol and ends with a concert of street party bands that perform until midnight. Jared Roble from University of San Carlos won as Sinulog Idol 2016.

Mau and Raine (Miss Cebu 2016 Finalists)
Mau and Raine (Miss Cebu 2016 Finalists)

From the pre-pageant at Ayala Center Cebu to the coronation night at Waterfront Hotel in Lahug, I followed the journey of these lovely ladies towards the crown. They went through a lot of workshops, media appearances and visited various points of interest in Cebu to help promote local tourism. They also used the traditional hablon cloth as material for their cultural Filipiniana wear with designs by homegrown Cebuano talents. Tracy Maureen Perez was the first runner up while Raine Baljak was crowned as Miss Cebu 2016.

Miss Cebu 2016
Miss Cebu 2016

I admit that there were a lot of events that I’ve missed due to a conflict in schedule with personal matters, but I was thankful that I didn’t miss seeing Señor Santo Niño when He passed us by during the solemn procession that I attended with my family.

Solemn Procession
Solemn Procession
Welcome to Cebu
Welcome to Cebu’s Sinulog Festival

Earlier that Saturday, January 16th, was also the re-enactment of the baptism of Queen Juana and Rajah Humabon at the Basilica. On the 17th was also the Mañanita Mass and Pontifical Mass with His Eminence Jose Palma. Sinulog 2016 won’t be complete without catching a glimpse of the Sinulog Grand Parade Carousel and also dancing on the streets especially with friends and random strangers.

Fireworks Display
Fireworks Display

There were also fireworks demonstration all over the city but the best ones took place in SM City Cebu (Sinulog Fireworks Competition and Pyromusical Show), Abellana and SRP Grounds and also from various private Sinulog EDM parties held such as LifeDance, Paintensity, Sensation, Sinulog Invasion, Elektromundo, Plus163 Music Festival and many more.

What a perfect way to end the fun yet crowded festivities with a relaxing island hopping activity with the entire family at Mactan where the fluvial procession also took place on the dawn of January 16.

Island Hopping After Sinulog
Island Hopping After Sinulog

Overall, the King of Sinulog’s 2016 festival experience was truly one for the books. Congratulations to the Sinulog Foundation Working Committee, Cebu City Tourism Committee, Philippine National Police, Local Government Units and to all people working behind the scenes for a job well done. As for you my dear readers, I’m encouraging you to come and visit Cebu next year and experience Sinulog Festival 2017 live and in person. Rest assured, you’ll surely have an experience you won’t forget. Viva Pit Señor!

With the Sinulog Idol 2016
With the Sinulog Idol 2016

For a complete list of winners with regards to Sinulog 2016 Awarding Ceremonies, you can visit the official Sinulog website at http://sinulog.ph. Later!

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