Top officials open Sinulog

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Saturday, January 11, 2014


CEBU CITY -- This year’s Sinulog celebration officially opened Friday, January 10, with church officials asking the public not to lose faith in Sto. Niño after experiencing two major calamities last year.

Friday's Sinulog launching started with a mass at the Basilica del Sto. Niño, followed by a parade that passed by Fuente Osmeña and ended at the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC).

Msgr. Roberto Alesna, the mass’ main celebrant, said in his homily that this year’s celebration will show the faith of the people, especially those victims of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake last October and Typhoon Yolanda last November.

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“The images of faith will be showcased to highlight the value of solidarity and cooperation of the people,” he said.

(Photos by Phoebe Antonio/Sunnex)

After the mass, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama formally declared this year’s Sinulog celebration open.

Cebu Government Hilario Davide III also attended the opening mass along with Cebu City Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella and some Cebu City councilors.

The 12 candidates for Ms. Cebu 2014 led the parade, riding on vintage Volkswagen cars. They were joined by winners of last year’s pageant.

Twelve schools sent their dance troupes for the opening salvo.

Last year’s Festival Queen winner and reigning Ms. Aliwan 2013 Jamie Herrell also danced during the parade.

Participating schools were University of San Carlos, Cebu Doctors University, University of Southern Philippines, South Western University, University of San Jose-Recoletos, Cebu Technological University, Cebu Institute of Technology-University, University of the Visayas, Mandaue City Science High School, Abellana National School, Visayas State University of Baybay, Leyte, and University of San Carlos High School-North Campus who danced the finale.

Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) Executive Director Ricky Ballesteros said he asked the USC-North Campus contingent to perform during the launching after he saw their dance in Facebook.

And even if they are affected by the typhoon, contingent from Baybay, Leyte still joined the parade.

“My prayers were answered. I was praying hard during the mass for this launching,” added Ballesteros.

He said Friday's launching was a success, as the weather and the people on the streets cooperated.

“It was the best launching so far,” Ballesteros said.

He was also glad everything went well, saying the event will set the mood for the rest of the celebration.

Rama also thanked the Sto. Niño for the good weather.

Police estimated the crowd to reach 65,000.

Police Chief Inspector Wildemar Tiu, who oversaw the event’s security, said the estimate was based on the crowd who attended the mass in Basilica and the people along the parade route.

A total of 431 policemen secured the event on Friday. (RVC/Sun.Star Cebu)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 11, 2014.

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