Photos / Article by: Air Borne
Every third Sunday of January, the Cebuanos are joyfully awaiting the Fiesta Senor Day and the Sinulog Festival. This year 2017 marked the 452nd Fiesta Senor in Cebu City. But, the devout Cebuanos await more for the 9-day novena mass by commencing the festivity with a Dawn Procession (Walk with Jesus) from the Fuente Osmena Oval to the Basilica Minore Del Santo Nino. The novena masses will immediately proceed a day after the said procession.
Devotees all over the world would come and join the religious celebration and participate in the Novena Masses of the Sto. Nino, rain or shine, which are held at the Templete, as shown in the above photo, as a way of thanksgiving for the blessings received in the past year.
For some, the novena is a way of imploring the intercession of the Holy Child for the healing of an illness. For others, it has become a family tradition to complete the novena mass as their “panata” to the Holy Child. The reason may vary to each individual but one common denominator is the Sto. Nino whom they honour on this annual sacred occasion.
The Order of Saint Augustine of the Basilica Minore Del Santo Nino De Cebu would post a general schedule of activities (as shown below) so that the visiting devotees would be informed of the time schedule of novena masses starting January 5 to 13. Aside from the myriad of people pouring in the city to express their devotion and thanksgiving to the Holy Child, the Sinulog Festival is also the most awaited event by both the local and international tourists.
As early as November, the Cebu City government is already busy decorating the streets along Osmena Boulevard with strings of flyers normally sponsored by renowned business companies in town like the Coca-Cola Bottlers of the Philippines, SMART Telecommunication to name a few. When you see these flyers around, then Sinulog festival is approaching.
Other business establishments would also start putting up their street displays with the image of Our dear Sto. Nino in certain conspicuous places. For instance, Penshoppe has already owned a spot at the heart of the Fuente Oval to display its booth beautifully adorned with flowers like orchids, red anturiums and asters like this one below.
Still, at the heart of uptown Cebu, the leading company engaged in producing the famous Bambi cooking oil manufactured by Ludo & Luym had its booth displayed at the middle of the boulevard.
Business As Usual
Small businesses like T-Shirt printing, batik-designed bags selling, sandals or slippers booth and the like also have their stalls situated on the sidewalk along the stretch of the Abellana National High School.
Macho men for sale, I mean, Sinulog T-shirt designs printing for a price of P150 to P250 depends on the quality of the cloth and intricacy of the design.
Batik-designed bags for sale...
Rubber sandals or slippers for sale.
These are only a few stands to show and I’m sure there be will a lot more stalls to display as the festivity is nearing. I heard per stall rental costs P10,000.00 that was two years back. Perhaps, today, it costs a little more than P10K. These business-minded people belong to the Moslem community in the city. Their products cost cheaper during the pre-sinulog days but increases a day before the Sinulog and are costliest on the day of the Sinulog Festival. So, it is advised that either you buy Sinulog souvenirs before or after the festival because prices are less costly.
Before the Sinulog proper, Sinulog foundation organizers had regularly scheduled the Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan on a Saturday, a week before the Vesperas. The photo below shows a contingent coming from Bogo City, located at the northern part of Cebu province, doing the two-steps-forward-one-step-backward dance to the tune of Sinulog beat as they passed along the avenue of Fuente Oval. It so happened I was there when they paraded and so I didn’t waste time taking a photo of them. They came in a bright blue coloured costume and a star dancer, bringing the image of the Senor Sto. Nino, dressed in a golden gown.
Located 127 kilometers from Cebu City to Ginatilan, the southernmost town in Cebu Province, Tribu Ginatilanon came to Cebu City to join the parade of the Sinulog sa Kabataan last January 7, 2017.
The Sinulog festival is indeed a very colourful and grand celebration for the Cebuanos because of the Sinulog dance performances and parade of different groups both from the government and private sectors of the Cebu community. There are even groups coming all the way from Tangub City, Lanao, and Davao just to take part in the parade in any of the categories such as Sinulog based performance, Free Interpretation Category or Float Category.
ONE BEAT. ONE DANCE. ONE VISION.
One event that will bring the Cebuanos come together as one is the Sinulog Festival. “Dali na sa Sinulog. Kitang tanan mag Pit Senyor!” Sinulog refers to the dance ritual in honour of the miraculous image of the Sto. Nino.
Literally, the phrase means, “Come on let’s dance the Sinulog and plea to Senyor Sto. Nino.” During this whole month celebration, people greet each with the shouts of Pit Senyor!
Folks, come to Cebu and experience the Sinulog festival. Dali na sa Sinulog. Kitang tanan mag Pit Senyor!