DESPITE the challenges they faced this year, organizers of Devotee City will officially open the facility to out-of-town visitors who do not have a place to stay during this year’s Sinulog celebration on Friday, January 18.

The City and Cebu Provincial Government will also deploy house parents to supervise the facility.

Former Cebu City councilor Roberto Cabarrubias, who chairs the Devotee City Committee, said they rented the containers from a private shipping company.

“There was a sudden change from our partner. Supposedly, they allowed us to use the containers for free and we will just pay for the hauling but this year, they told us we need to rent,” he said.

The Devotee City is a sleeping quarter where pilgrims who are not from Cebu City and cannot afford a hotel or pension house accommodation can stay for free.

Free accommodation will be up to three days.

Capitol shouldered the P600,000 worth of rental for the containers.

Councilor Eugenio Gabuya Jr., who chairs the Devotee City Committee, said that Capitol is renting each container at P560 per day.

From 120 containers in the previous years, there will only be 58 containers that will house at least 50 devotees per container.

Despite having a smaller facility, Gabuya said all will be accommodated inside the Devotee City.

The City expects around 3,000 devotees who will avail themselves of the Devotee City.

The City set aside P1.3 million for the Devotee City this year. But because of the financial help from the Capitol, City was only able to spend P500,000 to put up the facility.

Cebu Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office chief Baltazar Tribunalo said the payment of rental is Capitol’s way of helping the City.

On the house parents, Tribunalo said they will serve as managers who will look into all aspects of the stay of the devotees, including order and safety, cleanliness, and discipline, among others.

The house parents are social workers from Capitol.

Devotees coming from areas beyond Danao City in the north of Cebu, Carcar City in the south, Toledo City in the southwest, and other nearby provinces will just have to present their bus and boat tickets if they want to avail themselves of the sleeping quarters of the Devotee City.