2 million devotees and revelers
Two million people spilled into Cebu City streets on January 21, 2018, despite the rain, to experience the 10-hour spectacle of colorful costumes, floats, higantes, puppeteers, an overpowering beat, and dancing dedicated to the Child Jesus called the Sinulog festival.
On one hand, this is the grandest festival of all Philippine festivals on every third Sunday of January. The Sinulog celebrates a people’s faith in Senyor Santo Niño that began nearly 500 years ago.
The image of Senyor Santo Niño was one of the gifts of Ferdinand Magellan to Cebu Queen Juana during her baptism in 1521. The image of the Child Jesus is the oldest Christian relic in the country, perhaps even in southeast Asia. Magellan brought the image of the Senyor during the historic first circumnavigation of the world.
On the other hand, Sinulog 2018 meant two million different stories of a shared experience. Aside from Cebuanos who are proud of their heritage, the festival attracted tens of thousands from other Philippine provinces as well as visitors from abroad.
The following are such #Sinulog2018 stories.
— J 🌴🌤🌊 (@btequilalemon) January 22, 2018
Solemn Foot Procession
The solemn procession on Saturday, January 20, 2018, was the devotion highlight of the Feast of Senyor Santo Niño revolving around the Basilica del Santo Niño. These include the Walk for Mary, the Walk for Jesus, the nine-day novena and masses at the Basilica, queuing for a private moment with the image at the small inside chapel beside the altar of the Basilica, the Traslacion, fluvial procession, reenactment of the baptism of Queen Juana, the Hubo, and the solemn procession.
The Sinulog Festival is the culmination of a week-long series of activities of the Feast of Senyor Santo Niño. These activities could be categorized as “Devotion,” “Festival,” and “Food and Fun.”
Festival activities revolve around the Cebu City Sports Center, like the Sinulog Idol, Sinulog Dance Crew competition, Festival Queen competition, Sinulog sa Barangay, the Sinulog sa Lalawigan, and the Grand Sinulog Parade. This Sinulog 2018, the “Food and Fun” part centered around “Kalingawan sa Plaza” at Plaza Independencia.
The police estimated some 500,000 devotees, mostly carrying umbrellas, joined the procession and walked all the way from the Basilica at the downtown area to Fuente Osmeña at the uptown area. The route back to Basilica passed northward first through Mango Avenue then towards MJ Cuenco Street.
— Good Man (@GoodMan148) January 21, 2018
Swiss ship joins fluvial procession
Fleur de Passion, a Swiss sailboat tracing Ferdinand Magellan’s route in circumnavigating the globe nearly 500 years ago, joined the Sinulog 2018 Fluvial Procession that began at dawn on January 20, 2018.
“The Swiss research vessel Fleur de Passion, an old German navy minesweeper which has been disarmed and redesigned for scientific research, reached the Philippines and docked in the central Philippine city of Lapu-Lapu, Cebu on December 19, 2017,” wrote blogger and Global Voices contributor Karlo Mikhail Mongaya. (Read Karlo’s article “Ocean Mapping Expedition Tracing Magellan’s Voyage Reaches the Philippines.”)
January 19, 2018 began with the dawn 90,000-strong Walk for Mary that brought the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe from her shrine in Barangay Guadalupe to the Basilica del Santo Niño. Then began the Traslacion, the long motorcade that brought the images of the Our Lady of Guadalupe and Senyor Santo Niño to the National Shrine of Saint Joseph in Mandaue City for the meeting of the Holy Family and the celebration of a Holy Mass. Later that day, the motorcade proceeded to the Nuestra Señora de Regla National Shrine in Lapu-Lapu City for another Holy Mass. The motorcade ended at the Naval Forces central port in Lapu-Lapu City for the fluvial procession at dawn the next day.
The fluvial procession recalled the arrival of Magellan in 1521 followed by the reenactment of the first baptism in Cebu at the Basilica del Santo Niño.
— The Freeman (@TheFreemanNews) December 20, 2017
Watch the aerial coverage of the Sinulog 2018 Fluvial Procession. #Sinulog #FluvialProcession #StoNino #Sinulog2018 #Cebu #CebuCity #Aerial #Philippines #Drone #LapuLapu #AerialCoverage #Pier1https://t.co/6FNIuIK1F2
— Project LUPAD (@ProjectLUPAD) January 20, 2018
Kalingawan sa Plaza
One major change from the previous Sinulog festivals was the transfer of the Sinulog food fair and nightly entertainment from Fuente Osmeña at uptown Cebu City to Plaza Independencia near the port area.
Called “Kalingawan sa Plaza,” the venue is several times bigger. It is located in front of the historic Fort San Pedro and just walking distance from the Basilica del Santo Niño, the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, the Magellan’s Cross, as well as four different museums.
Like traditional barrio fiestas in the Philippines, one looks forward to the kalingawan or the entertainment nearby after the nightly novena. That was the experience in Sinulog 2018 but in a much bigger scale.
The Festival Queen is one central figure of the Sinulog festival. She represents Cebu’s Queen Juana, the wife of Rajah Humabon, who received the image of Senyor Santo Niño as Ferdinand Magellan’s baptismal gift. And the title Sinulog 2018 Festival Queen went to Shaila Mae Del Mar Rebortera of Tribu Talisay City.
Sinulog 2018 mobile app
“The Sinulog 2018 App is your must have companion as you move through the millions of devotees and revelers during the grandest festival in the Philippines — Cebu’s Sinulog festival,” said the descriptions of the Sinulog 2018 mobile app in both Play Store and App Store.
Aside from the schedules, map and other relevant information, the app provides the ability to buy grandstand tickets online and links the user with other devotees and revelers sharing their own #Sinulog2018 experiences in Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
But one significant feature of the app is the ability to vote for the Festival Queen App Users’ Choice.
With more than enough time to work on the tech side, expect the Sinulog 2019 mobile app to be loaded with more features to delight users. Interested Sinulog 2019 app sponsors can, in fact, start sending queries to [email protected]
Formerly into the flower shop business before going into PR and events, Doris and the rest of the PRworks team quietly began arranging flowers inside the small chapel at the Basilica del Santo Niño in 2002.
Since then, we vowed to do it annually as the Child Jesus inspired, guided, and blessed through several challenging years. We thank the Senyor for opportunities to do more and brought us to where we are now.
Karencitta and other celebrities
The Sinulog Festival attracts Filipino celebrities. This year saw somebody new: the 22-year-old Cebuana, online phenom Karencitta. Her hit single “Cebuana” became the Top 1 Most Viral Music on Spotify on November 27, 2017, with a million views in 24 hours and shot up to Top 3 on MYX Philippines.
Aside from the free weekend concerts at Plaza Independencia in Cebu City, #Sinulog2018 can never be without the parties. And we are not talking about parties within Cebu City. Mandaue City was one hell of a party place during the long sleepless Sinulog weekend. One of the well-organized ones (and of course with permits from the Mandaue City Hall) was Nation Fest.
A Sinulog 2018 app sponsor, we were ecstatic to see the jam-packed parking lot of City Time Square 1 and garden at the City Time Square 2.
Parokya ni Edgar concert
After the prayers and the grand parade, a Philippine fiesta is never complete without the food and the fun. Thus, Kalingawan sa Plaza (thanks to TM and Globe Telecom) offered one blast of a concert– with front acts by Missing Filemon and Aggressive Audio, among others, that climaxed at 1 am on January 22 with the Parokya ni Edgar!
Over 150,000 devotees with their kids as well as young and old revelers spilled to the streets surrounding the packed 20,000-square meter Plaza Independencia.
The monster concert nearly did not push through. The size of the crowd frightened the police. But Mayor Tomas Osmeña instead allowed the concert to continue after ordering more police units to maintain peace and order at Plaza Independencia.
— 🍑 (@siarabee) January 23, 2018
— Beb Olanga-Ty (@EngrBae) January 21, 2018
Looking forward to #Sinulog2019
Even as #Sinulog2018 winds up, plans are now being hatched for #Sinulog2019. The PRworks team looks forward to being part of a better Sinulog fair especially Kalingawan sa Plaza.
“We will push the use of a digital ticketing system using RFID, which will be integrated with other online payment systems using the mobile app and the website. The improved #Sinulog2019 mobile app shall provide better experiences for both users and sponsors. We have some ideas for the App User’s Choice of the Festival Queen – a search that should start early like September or October this year, for instance,” said PRworks founder and CEO Doris Mongaya.
You can be part of the early preparations. Send us your suggestions, even proposals. Or you can make early grandstand reservations, which hopefully we can integrate with your arrangements for travel, accommodation, and other things you might want to do when in Cebu. Post your comment below. Email us at [email protected].
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