A LONGER and grander parade opened the 30th celebration of the Sinulog Festival yesterday afternoon.

After a mass celebrated by Msgr. Roberto Alesna in the pilgrimage center of the Basilica del Santo Niño, Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) overall chairman and Cebu City vice mayor Michael Rama formally opened the Sinulog festivities.

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With him were Cebu City first lady Margot Osmena, Cebu City councilors Augustus Pe and Richard Osmeña, members of SFI’s board of trustees and SFI executive director Ricky Ballesteros.

Rama led the officials and dancers in marching from the Basilica toward Fuente Osmeña, then toward the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC).

1981 route

Ballesteros said that for the 30th Sinulog festival opening yesterday, they decided on a longer parade route. He said they wanted to follow the 1981 Sinulog kickoff route, where the parade started from the Basilica and finished at the Fuente Osmeña circle.

More than 15 Cebu schools joined yesterday’s parade. The students wore traditional Filipino costumes such as the barong Tagalog for men and the traditional terno for women.

Each school also had a traditional andas, a miniature palanquin carrying the image of the Santo Niño.

Schools

Among the schools that joined yesterday were the University of San Jose- Recoletos, University of Cebu, University of the Visayas, University of San Carlos, Velez College, Cebu Normal University, Southwestern University, University of Southern Philippines Foundation, Cebu Doctors University, Cebu Technological University, Salazar College of Science and Institute of Technology, and the Cebu Institute of Technology.

The schools which joined the opening parade for the first time included St. Catherine’s College in Carcar City, Don Sergio Osmeña Memorial High School and Camp Lapu-lapu National High School.

Candidates for this year’s Miss Cebu pageant also attended the opening. The 12 finalists, along with last year’s Ms. Cebu winner Kris Tiffany Janson, wore designer Filipiniana gowns and rode on traditional tartanillas or horse-drawn carts during the parade yesterday.

Rama, in an interview, praised this year’s kick-off ceremonies as well-attended and well-prepared. He particularly praised the addition of the Ms. Cebu candidates.

Meanwhile, Sinulog dances will start today with the 2 p.m. opening of the Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan.

Participants for the elementary level include the Santa Filomena Elementary School in Alegria, Cogon Elementary School in Cordova, Pajo Elementary School in Lapu-lapu City, Cambanoy and DT Elementary Schools in Danao City, the Bogo City Delegation of Bogo City, North City Central School of Toledo City, and the Bulacao Elementary School in Talisay City.

In the secondary level, participants include the Silaw Cultural Arts of Carcar City, Pundok Laboganon and Arts in Mandaue City, the Naga City Department of Education Division, the Tayud National High School in Consolacion, Toledo City DepEd division, Maslog National High School in Danao City, Lungsud sa Liloan/ Liloan National High School contingent and the Talisay City National High School.