Viva Pit Señor everyone! It’s already been a week since my first Sinulog experience and I think I’m still having that Sinulog-sepanx and I’m missing the Sinulog beat playing everywhere we go here in Cebu.
Sinulog is said to be one of the grandest (some would claim it as the grandest of all) festivals here in the Philippines. It is an annual celebration of the feast of Sto. Niño, the patron Saint of the province of Cebu, held on the third Sunday of January. The festival’s main events include street dance competitions, the epic and colorful grand parade, and more. What’s so unique about this festival is that they have this Sinulog beat/song/dance which is being played almost everywhere you go in the city, for like the whole Sinulog week, and I tell you it really gives you the hype and it makes you wanna dance along.
‘”Sinulog’ comes from the Cebuano adverb sulog which is “like water current movement,” which proficiently describes the forward-backward movement of the Sinulog dance. Traditionally, the dance consists of two steps forward and one step backward, done to the sound of the drums. ” – http://www.philippinecountry.com/philippine_festivals/sinulog_festival.html
Since I’m a first timer in this event, I was so eager and curious as to how Sinulog is being celebrated, and how it is called to be one of the grandest festivals in our country. I’m so excited to share how I survived my first Sinulog experience, given that I was financially struggling during the Sinulog weeks due to my unpaid leave deductions on my 5th Month Pay (hehe) Nevertheless, I’m proud to say that I was still able to enjoy Sinulog without spending too much. So here are the things that I did (and you can do when given the chance) on Sinulog.
1. Attended the Novena Mass
Sinulog is not about the never ending parties. You must always remember the reason behind why Sinulog is being celebrated. The first step in order for you to experience what the real Sinulog celebration is hearing the Novena Mass. The novena mass happens every hour from from 4:00AM – 7:00PM (with 30 min interval) at the Basilica del Santo Niño for 9 days before the actual Sinulog day. I was at awwe the first time I heard the full Novena Mass, especially when I joined the singing of Bato Balani with them. Seeing how devoted they are and how they cry out loud “Viva Pit Señor!” all together was such an amazing experience. As you can see in the picture, there’s a lot of people, that’s why it was a struggle, and it takes a little sacrifice and patience getting inside the Church. So tip, be extra careful of your valuables, if possible, don’t bring them.
2. Watched the Sinulog Festival Queen 2017 Competition
Forgive me for my poor quality photos this was just from my phone + it is zoomed. Friday night before the actual Sinulog weekend, we watched the Sinulog Festival Queen 2017 competition at Cebu City Sports Center. Entrance fee is only PHP50, and you may purchase the tickets at the venue as soon as you arrive. So in this event, queens from different contingents together with their colorful and grandiose costumes compete through performing the Sinulog dance routine in order to win the title of Sinulog Festival Queen 2017. This is one of the highlights of the Sinulog festival and you should not miss it, cause you’ll really enjoy the performances of the queens from the different contingents.
3. Shopped for Sinulog Shirt
After watching the Sinulog Festival Queen Competition, we immediately headed to the night market outside the Cebu City Sports Center and purchased our Sinulog shirts. There’s a lot of designs to choose from. Shirts are being printed on the spot after choosing your design but you’ll have to wait given that there a lot of people on the line as well. Sinulog shirts range only from PHP150-PHP180. If you want to cut and style it, you may purchase and have it cut and styled from Island Souvenirs. Their shirts usually range from PHP199-PHP299 and the cut and style fee is from PHP100-PHP300(?) depending on the style you chose. Since I’m having a budget Sinulog, I just purchased a shirt from the night market then cut and styled it by myself through the help of YouTube DIY tutorials. Swear it’s was just easy. #SOLVED!
4. Watched Fireworks Displays
One of the free things you could do during Sinulog is to enjoy watching fireworks displays. There are many fireworks displays on schedule that’s why you should check on the Sinulog schedule if you want to catch some. #OnlyDabawenyosWillUnderstand LOL.
5. Watched the Grand Parade
The grand parade is scheduled on the actual Sinulog date (third Sunday of the month of January) and is the main highlight of the festival. When they said it GRAND Parade, definitely it was literally GRAND! I woke up late on the actual Sinulog day and I thought I already missed the event, but actually I did not! I just knew that the Grand Parade actually lasts for 9-12 hours. So me and my friends still was able to catch and watch the Grand Parade during the afternoon. You’ll really enjoy watching the Grand Parade because there’s a lot to look forward to, like the street dances by the different contingents, epic and colorful Higantes and Float entries, plus a bunch of local celebrities.
6. Partied at the Streets
I know that when people talk about Sinulog, it will always be about the never ending parties. Actually, parties are literally everywhere during the weekend. There are exclusive and paid parties like the Life Dance, PLUS63 Music & Arts Festival, and more. But since we’re talking about Budget Sinulog here, there are free parties at the street that you could join. Just take a walk somewhere near Mango Ave. and you might bump in an area wherein you could dance along with strangers. If you wanna experience getting painted, see how wild the millenials party, greet strangers “Pit Señor!”, and get free hugs, you should definitely not miss taking a walk at Baseline, Mango Ave. Our experience was lit and fun af.
Tip: always wear comfortable clothes during Sinulog. If possible, clothes that you may dispose afterwards, because you’ll really get dirty unexpectedly.
7. Walked, walked, and walked
Transportation was hard during Sinulog. So what we did was just walk, walk, and walk even it was raining. It was tiring as hell but naaah you’ll still forget about being tired because of the hype that you could feel as you walk around the streets.
So that’s it! That was my first Sinulog experience. Given on a budget, I was still able to experience an epic Sinulog. All you need really is money for water and food, and also a fun company (whistles, headdresses, kits, and such are just optional). Hope this would help you if you’re planning to join Sinulog next year or some time. Teehee~
Here’s my Sinulog experience in a nutshell, watch in HD 🙂