FIESTAS have always been a coloful event, and they are never complete without the colorful bunting hanging from the skies whether it is just for a barangay fiesta or for a grand one like the Sinulog.

Bunting, or banderitas, however, are usually made of plastic, and with people becoming more and more environmentally conscious, social media is blowing up about how bunting can cause a great deal of destruction to the environment.

People went crazy over a hotel’s plan to greet the New Year with a balloon-drop event last December. The noise on social media forced the establishment to cancel the event. And then people screamed bloody murder when medical wastes were seen floating in Mactan waters and demanded the head of whoever was responsible.

Now as concerns about the environmental impact of banderitas are raised, we wonder if netizens will be as involved considering that banderitas are synonymous to the Sinulog, a beloved tradtion and a religious event practiced for decades.

Should we continue using banderitas during the Sinulog, or ban it the way plastic is banned in groceries or the way disposable straws are banned in some establishments? Without bunting, will we still be able to celebrate our faith while saving mother earth? Or will removing bunting from the Sinulog celebration ruin a lifelong tradition? Is there a middle ground to all this?

Here are some of our netizens’ thoughts on the matter.

"Kanang ilang katarungan ba sama ra sad na ug nagbuhi ta ug daghang balloon nga wala ta kahibalo kun asa na tugpa inig buto. Mao ra sad na sa ilang gipanulti nga makadaut na ang balloon sa kinaiyahan diin wa sad ta kahibalo nga kanang mga taohana hugawan ba na or dili sa ilahang lugar. 1) Religious activity ni. 2) Nagsaulog ta sa kapistahan sa balaanoon ug milagrosong bata (Sr. Sto. Niño). Itugyan nalang nato sa iya ang ilang kabalaka." --Dante Tanda

"Dili pista kung walay banderitas. Ug nganong maabot sa dagat pud. Nagka OA lang jud mga taw ron." --Chloé Suarez Abellanosa

"For me, the best way to solve this discourse is to meet halfway. Siguro one feasible way is to use paper banderitas or banderitas made of recycled materials. Siguro it’s a matter of how the LGU will act to solve the problem kay honestly, it would be totally hard to let go man jud of the banderitas given that they are already part of the Filipino tradition and culture, although at the same time we simply can’t retain something and compromise environmental sustainability. Pero if wa jud ma think na solution to appease both sides, then mas mupatigbabaw gihapon ang pagsalbar sa atong kinaiyahan. Maka adjust ra bitaw ta and maanad along the way kay it’s for our future and children’s future man sad. Just my two cents." --Louella Vanessa Quijano

"Ok ra mang banderitas. Tradition na man na sa fiesta. Basta tangtangon lang nas nagtaod for proper disposal." --King Moi

"Apil na na sa tradition. Kana basta naay banderitas pasabot nagsaulog ug kapistahan ang isa ka lugar. Tima-ilhan nga naay okasyon. Kung isa nga simbolo sa Pasko ang pagkab-it ug mga parol ug Christmas lights, sa pyesta ang mga banderitas naman." --Love Ko Ikaw

"There are a lot of ways to celebrate Sinulog or any other fiestas and still be festive. Even without banderitas. Karon nga problema na kaau ang basura. Let us celebrate it at least one-use-plastic free. Naa pa. Bring our own hydration bottle too. Keep our faith, Save our Earth." --Romeo-Cheril Andrino

"Retain lang uy. It’s part of our history and culture na man. Pero we switch to organic materials para madecompose after use." --Jan B. Dhee

"If Sinulog is meant to be a celebration of faith, would someone be any less faithful/devout if he were to do away with plastic buntings on the street?! It is one of those things that are only used once and will stay on to affect the environment long after its perceived use—merely as decor. In that way, it is no better than plastic bags or anything disposable—bottles, straws, cups, utensils. Will it really make the celebration less festive without them? I don’t think so. We need to shift our mindset about such things —why not use lights or other decor that won’t go to waste after the celebration is done? Even if we were to use paper or other biodegradable materials, at the end of the day, they are still valuable resources that will just go to waste." --Inah Stark

"After use asa man na paduong inyo gepang- botang bi? Ok ra unta if naa moy alternative way para di na mahimo ug basura... If naay plan, ok ko ana... pero pangita sad ug replacement para colorful gihapon ang Sinulog." --James Unay Donayre

"We use brand-new banderitas, take them down after the event (since it’s part of the contract), ship them to Iloilo for Dinagyang (which is a week after Sinulog). After Dinagyang festivities, we take them down again and keep them in our bodega. If the print has not yet faded, we give the banderitas to those barangays and towns that ask for them during fiestas. Kani wala na mi control pag-abot sa sitio/barangay/town level kay normally, it’s the LGU (local government unit) that installs and keeps or disposes of the used banderitas. Just so you know, our company has stopped producing water in plastic bottles." --Angel Labrusca, who works for a beer manufacturing company

"Kanus-a pa man tawn na OA ang concern sa environment oi? Mao nang di gyud moasenso ang Pilipinas tungod sa mga tradition nga di ma bya-an. Aw o, tradition na man ni ang banderitas. Parehas sa baha sa Cebu, tradition na sad." --Jose Edgardo Lorenzo Brillantes

"Selective sympathy kaayo. Ang uban lugar, plastic straw and plastic bags ray banned, pero naa gihapoy plastic bottles. Pwede ra jud walay banderitas. Awa the day after Sinulog, murag Zombie Apocalypse ang mga basura. Nagkatag mga plastic. People still choose to practice tradition even if it’s killing the environment." --Miko Alvarez

"Try cloth banderitas. They’re more eco-friendly and easy to recycle. Can be used as rugs after the festivities. Make the company who put up those banderitas accountable. It’s their marketing plan, right? There should be corresponding sanction if it was not properly managed or properly disposed of. Let them plant trees corresponding to the banderitas they put up." --Jhune Say

"Nothing hypes up the Sinulog spirit better than the bunting in major streets. Maybe we can choose not to ban them but use more eco-friendly materials instead. Mabasa man ang papel de hapon, so siguro recycled panapton (kun naa man) would be nice." --Cris Abayon

"E retain ang banderitas kay mao nay naandan. Usa na sa makapavibrant sa Sinulog. Or experiment on organic-based banderitas instead, but never remove them. Nganong pahimungtan uroy na ang banderitas nga tagsa ra man na magpakita sa dalan? Naay mga plastik nga nagpasad sa dalan. Asa man kaha na gikan? Kana maoy dapat hinuktokan. Viva pit Senyor, sa banderitas ko!" --Jippy Amance