AFTER every Sinulog celebration comes the occasion to assess and pick lessons on how to make the next one even better.

Although the 30th staging of the annual celebration last weekend showed how the festival has reached the age of maturity, there is still room for growth for anyone aged 30 and beyond.

Click here for stories and updates on the Sinulog 2010 Festival.

Organizers noted at the end of the celebration Sunday the need for a bigger venue after the police estimated the crowd at six to eight million people. Ricky Ballesteros, Sinulog Foundation Inc. executive director, pointed to the plan to establish a coliseum at the South Road Properties but there is no indication the structure would be there in time for the next Sinulog.

The venue will always be a major concern as more people come to Cebu to witness and participate in its biggest festival. There are other concerns, as well.

One area festival organizers could tap to the fullest is the use of technology. Live video streaming from multiple points of the procession and parade was introduced this year. (The Sun.Star streaming at www.sunstar.com.ph received hundreds of views from people in and outside Cebu who were treated to real-time video of the happenings. Viewers appreciated the opportunity to be part of the Sinulog, even if in a virtual sense.)

Live coverage of the festivities may be made available at different points of the city. Like in the live coverage of the fights of Filipino boxing hero Manny Pacquiao, the real-time video display of the Sinulog may be shown on wide screens in public places. This can be one way of dispersing the crowd.

Of course, nothing beats being on the ground and moving to the beat with fellow spectators but there are some who would prefer to avoid the crowds and enjoy the Sinulog from the comforts of a restaurant or a lounge.

Organizers also noted a decrease in the number of balikbayans or returning Filipinos, probably due to the financial crisis hurting the first world. Access to live streaming on the website can be made available to them by disseminating the ways through which they could join a virtual Sinulog.

Another area needing improvement is on the aspect of hotel accommodations. Some last-minute Cebu arrivals last weekend had a difficult time getting accommodations largely due to the lateness of their arrival but also to a lack of information on available options and where to get help.

Then there is the matter of traffic rerouting and parking spaces. A Sinulog fan noted how organizers were prompt to release the procession and parade routes. They could have completed the task by also giving out early the announcement on traffic rerouting with appropriate maps and by marking the areas to be designated for temporary parking during the Sinulog weekend.

Parking was allowed on the sides of some roads but not on others. Authorities could mark temporary parking spaces appropriately so car owners would know where to park their vehicles safely, at least for the duration of the Sinulog grand parade.

There are many lessons Sinulog organizers can glean from the successful and peaceful staging of the festival last weekend.

These are lessons that can make the celebration next year and beyond more interactive, inclusive, and enjoyable.

(ninicab@sunstar.com.ph)