Sinulog body: ‘We’re all set’

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014


CEBU -- Only a storm signal can stop organizers from holding the Sinulog grand parade this Sunday (January 19, 2014), which is expected to draw 35 dancing contingents and at least three million revelers.

Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) Executive Director Ricky Ballesteros said Tuesday the weather is their biggest challenge this year, with the low-pressure area bringing rains to the Visayas and Mindanao.

Rain alone will not stop the festivities, but the organizers will automatically postpone the street dancing and performances at the Cebu City Sports Center if the weather bureau raises storm signal number one, Ballesteros said.

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“We experience rains every year but as long as there is no storm, we have to go on with the Sinulog. But if there is a storm signal, we will automatically cancel it. We cannot compromise the safety of the participants, especially since we’re dealing with kids,” Ballesteros said.

During the Association of Government Information Officers forum on Tuesday, he disclosed that sponsorships and ticket sales are doing well despite the P200 increase in ticket prices.

Ticket prices were raised, he said, because the SFI will donate a portion of the proceeds to survivors of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

Another reason for the increase is that all grandstand tickets for the Sinulog will feature a QR or quick response code, which will direct ticket holders to the SFI’s official website if the code is viewed using a mobile device’s QR app. [Read: Sinulog Foundation to increase ticket prices]

It also has safety features that will prevent fraud or illegal reproduction of tickets.

Decongesting Fuente

The SFI is now in the final stage of their preparations, including fine-tuning of crowd control and security plans.

Ballesteros announced that starting dawn on Sunday, the site of the thanksgiving mass for the canonization of San Pedro Calungsod in the South Road Properties (SRP) will serve as a temporary bus station for buses coming from the south.

This is a way of decongesting N. Bacalso Avenue, which may be part of the parade route, depending on the final number of contingents participating.

On Sunday afternoon, when revelers usually flock to Fuente Osmena circle to watch live performances of bands and the fireworks display, a free concert and street party will be held also in the SRP. [Watch: Replays of Sinulog Idol Season 5 held at Fuente Osmena Circle]

A fireworks display will also be held there at midnight.

“Hopefully, with the concert and party in the SRP and fireworks display in four different locations on the same night, we can decongest Fuente Osmeña,” Ballesteros said.

As in previous Sinulog celebrations, parties, loud music and liquor drinking will not be allowed on the road where there will be dancing contingents.

Crowd control marshals will also be instructed to call the attention of revelers dressed in clothes that reveal too much skin.

Ready

Already, the out-of-town contingents have started arriving in Cebu City.

The Placer, Masbate contingent, composed of some 800 to 1,000 dancers and props men, arrived last Monday, a day after their advance party, Ballesteros revealed.

They are again joining both the Sinulog-based (SB) and free interpretation (FI) categories.

Placer used to join only the FI category, but in 2012, Mayor Joshur Lanete said he had a recurring dream that he was polishing the blocking of his contingents for the SB category. So Placer has joined both categories since then.

The advance party from Tribu Sinanduloy of Tangub City also arrived on Tuesday. All their dancers and props men are expected to arrive today.

Tangub is the defending champion in the SB category.

Seven out-of-town contingents are participating.

Aside from Tangub and the two contingents from Placer, also joining are Plaridel in Misamis Occidental, Cotabato City, Panglao in Bohol and Lanao del Norte.

Finale

The contingents will be housed in three different schools in Cebu City: City Central School (Placer), Zapatera Elementary School (Plaridel and Cotabato) and Abellana National High School (Bohol and Lanao). Tangub will be housed in the rooms in the sports center.

All the contingents are expected to move into the schools on Wednesday night. There will be no classes in the three schools tomorrow (January 15, 2014), said Ballesteros.

Among the contingents that decided to sit out this year’s competition are Alang-alang, Dulag, Abuyog and Tanauan towns from Leyte, all of which were badly hit by Yolanda last November 8.

Since there will be fewer participants, Ballesteros said the dance competition is expected to finish by 6 p.m. or an hour earlier than its usual end.

After competition, a grand finale that cost P2.5 million to prepare will then start.

The lead dancer for this year’s grand finale will be Sinulog Festival Queen 2013 Jamie Herell. She is also the Aliwan Festival Queen 2013 and Miss Mega Cebu 2013.

A 10- to 15-minute fireworks display, estimated to cost P300,000, will cap this year’s grand parade. (Sun.Star Cebu)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 15, 2014.

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