THE shutting down of selected cell sites in Cebu over the weekend drew mixed reactions from the crowd and contingents.

A few of them saw this as an opportunity to focus on the celebration, while others were anxious that something might happen to the members of their families without them knowing about it.

Telecommunication companies agreed to shut down the cell sites as part of the Sinulog security measures implemented by the Police Regional Office 7.

Jean Ann Iway, 29, a teacher of the Badian National High School in Badian town, said she appreciated the measure, which she described as beneficial to everyone, and added that it was a different experience.

Lianne Llesol, 23, Cebu Provincial Information Office staff, said that the signal shutdown did not affect her personally as she already planned where she will meet her family.

However, Llesol, who is assigned to handle the Provincial Government’s social media sites, admitted that it was hard because she cannot post updates through mobile data.

Llesol, however, said that everyone’s security must always be considered.

“Sharing posts on Facebook is just to satisfy your social media friends. I am satisfied even without social media because I was able to see the real meaning of the Sinulog celebration,” she said.

Cebu City Hall staff Heart Rizzari said that the absence of cellphone signals confirmed that there was something to be feared.

“Not all tindahan naay landline baya kay ang mga tawo shift na baya og cellphone. Ang manghitabo lisod sa uban (has landline because everyone has been using cellphones. What happened is it caused incovenience to the people),” said Rizarri.

The absence of cellular phone signal also made it difficult for an out-of-town contingent to bring their more than 100 propsmen and dancers together.

Katherine Therese Aguilar, tourism operations officer 1 of the Dumaguete City Tourism Office, said that they adopted a plan to ensure that participants will be easier to find.

Denz Juanico, 17, a propsman from the contingent of Dumanjug, said that he immediately texted his parents when the signal was restored.

“Nabalaka kay wa sad ta kahibaw unsay nahitabo sa nahabilin sa Dumanjug (I am worried because I don’t know what happened to my family in Dumanjug),” said Juanico.

Nido Gador, a peanut vendor, complained that he had difficulty contacting his brother because there was no signal. They were supposed to meet for lunch last Saturday.

Marlyn Teves, 52, a Sto. Niño devotee who joined last Saturday’s solemn procession, said that her family came up with last-minute preparations. She said that if it weren’t for her family’s contingency plan, it would have been difficult for her to meet with her children and grandchildren during the solemn procession.

Mardonia Gelle, Susan Aliño, 40 and Justine Suerte, on the other hand, are all supportive of the shut down.

A candle vendor, 63-year-old Gelle said the multitudes who joined the procession is proof that faith can overcome anything, even the absence of working communication devices.

Suerte, 20, shared the sentiment, saying that apart from being a security measure, the shut down was also a “catalyst” that helped intensify the solemnity of the Sinulog.