TWO things that motivate balikbayans to come during Sinulog are to pay homage to the Sto Niño and reunite with family and friends they haven’t seen for years.

Flora Mangubat, a balikbayan from Chicago, is excited to watch the Sinulog activities this weekend.

“It’s the Sinulog rhythm, the sound, the sight that is very elegant that makes me come home. When Cebu celebrates Sinulog, they go all the way,” said Mangubat, who comes home to Cebu every other year.

Mangubat arrived last Jan. 7. She is staying for five weeks. It was her first time to attend the homecoming dinner organized by the Balik Cebu Committee last Thursday at the Ayala Terraces.

“It is good to come home. I see new developments here, a sign of progress for Cebu,” said the retired balikbayan, who’s been living in Chicago for 35 years.

Like Mangubat, Edsel Remedio, who lives in Australia, is also excited to catch up with loved ones.

Remedio was one of those balikbayans welcomed by the Balik Cebu Committee at the airport last Wednesday. He said it was one of those memorable arrivals being warmly welcomed by fellow Cebuanos. He was joined by his aunt and brother.

Remedio left Cebu in 2008. Although he comes home every year, this is the fourth time he is home for the Sinulog.

“The primary reason of coming home is to catch up with my family. I will also take this opportunity to pay a visit to Señor Sto. Niño to thank Him for all the blessings I received,” he said.

While Remedio is excited to witness what the Sinulog Festival has to offer this year, he is worried about security threats this weekend.

He heeded the advice of his family to cancel the plan to watch the Sinulog Grand Parade inside the Cebu City Sports Complex.

“The Turkey bombing incident was the determining factor. We were advised not to push through watching Sinulog performances inside (the Cebu City Sports Complex). We’ll probably just stay on the streets and watch the dance performances. We pray and hope nothing bad would happen,” said Remedio.

Meanwhile, balikbayans were treated to a night of entertainment at the homecoming dinner.

Officials of the Balik Committee thanked the balikbayans for their continued support for the Balik Cebu program.

Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale said that after the Sinulog festivities, Cebu’s southern corridor is ready to welcome them, especially those who will join the Suroy-Suroy Sugbo next week.