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Dec 07

Cebu Sinulog

 

Cebu Sinulog Festival

Cebu Sinulog Dancer

When is Sinulog Festival ?

Cebu Sinulog Festival 2013 will be held on Sunday 20th January 2013. For the full Sinulog 2013 schedule please visit our Cebu Sinulog 2013 guide. If you haven’t experienced it before Sinulog is the biggest event that happens in Cebu City every year (the 3rd Sunday of January) and the whole town is abuzz with excitement even the weeks preceding it. If you’re in the city you won’t be able to escape it!  Shopping Malls, street party bands, costumes, hotels, people, the whole city goes Sinulog crazy!

The Sinulog festival revolves around the statue of Santo Niño (the Christ Child) who was originally brought to Cebu by the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan (in 1521). This marked the beginning of Christianity to the Philippines. Back then the native Filipinos already danced Sinulog in honor of their previous wooden idols, when they got hold of statue of Santo Niño they too started to dance the Sinulog to the statue of Santo Niño. The actual dance movement of the Sinulog supposedly imitate the movement of a river or the waves of the ocean.

These days Sinulog is a huge procession of colourful street dancers and floats devoted to Santo Niño that winds through the streets of Cebu. The whole procession can we watched all day. Dancers come from all over Cebu and even neighbouring islands such as Bohol. Not only that, businesses and Pinoy Celebrates get involved in floats as well. While the main parade is held on the 3rd Sunday of January, the festival has been going on for weeks before. At Fuente Osmeña Circle there is nightly entertainment with bands, the major shopping malls of SM and Ayala always have something for people to enjoy and of course the night ends with lots of fireworks! I must admit I love Sinulog, it’s a festival I’ve never experienced before and the Cebuano’s are so proud of (and rightly so) and if you’re a foreigner the locals will truly make you feel welcomed. It’s an amazing festive feeling which you can just let your hair down, have fun and enjoy with the Cebuano’s. I made a YouTube video of the Cebu Sinulog to get an idea of what to expect.

Planning your trip

My first advice is to plan early. This is a huge event in Cebu, hotels get booked out months before, some hotels have a minimum 3 night stay (or similar) and prices go up! Cebu gets very crowded (overseas and from different islands ,as well as from Cebu provinces) so you don’t want to be looking for a hotel at the last minute. Not only booking a hotel in Cebu but the location of the hotel is important too, believe me I’ve booked a  hotel away from the actual parade and trying to get back to the hotel was a nightmare! Streets get closed or blocked,  the sheer amounts of crowds and trying to get a taxi or any transport is horrendous. Not only that if you can manage to get a taxi you are going to be charged 3 times or more the normal price (don’t expect them to turn on the meters). So you’re best bet is to have your hotel near the action so you only need to walk. The best area you would want to be is close to Fuente Osmeña Circle. If you check out the Cebu City Hotel list under Fuente Osmeña Circle/Capitol area (paragraph) there are a lot of hotel options to check out  in that location. You could also look the downtown area (hotels/pension houses tend to be cheaper in this area) again check the link previously. Hotels around Ayala are a little further away but still walking distance to Fuente Osmeña Circle.

Things to remember while you out watching the parade. Cebu can be hot, really hot! So unless it’s raining, bring sunscreen, hat, water (although many places to buy this), comfortable shoes as you be doing a lot of walking/standing. Be careful of your wallets/possessions as Sinulog is a time pick pockets are out in force, every year dozens of people get pick pocketed and they especially target foreign tourists. The huge crowds make it easier for them.

Sinulog is a great festival to have fun at and a brilliant way to see Philippine culture especially how religion plays a big part in the lives of Filipinos (and Cebuano’s). Enjoy! Pit Sinor!

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Rob Brand

1 comment

  1. JJ

    I was able to see this festival last year and I loved it. The only thing I didn’t like was the crowds

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