A widely celebrated festival like Sinulog may have already achieved international milestones, but it doesn’t mean it is perfect.
Although “generally successful,” there were areas in this year’s grand parade that still needed improvement, particularly in the street dancing contest.
The observation came from the five-man board of judges of the competition.
“I’ve been judging for almost 12 to 13 years. It seemed like this year was my worst experience because of management, crowd control and, of course, the weather was also a factor,” said Lordinio Vergara in Tagalog.
Vergara, head judge of the street dancing competition, is the director of the Philippine Normal University Institute of Physical Education, Health Recreation, Dance and Sports.
He said they observed a gap between performances due to poor management from organizers deployed along the route.
He said one of the judges was tasked to go around and assess the performance of the contingents, but because of the delay, some reportedly stopped dancing after they passed their designated areas.
“This year, the organizers made one judge a roving judge. That particular judge was roaming around the entire day and it was quite frustrating because there were three rounds for this judge. During the first round (9:30 to 11 a.m.), nobody was dancing,” Vergara said.
He said organizers and contingents could still improve and do better next year.
“Reorientation and revisiting the guidelines are needed. Parang (It looked like) they had taken for granted what they were doing and there was P1 million at stake. The audience outside didn’t deserve the mediocre performance. There were a lot more people outside than in the grandstand. It was like people were begging to see a performance,” he said in Tagalog.
Vergara lauded back-to-back champion and street dancing winner Carcar City Division for performing a routine that showcased veneration for the Señor Sto. Niño.
Sinulog-based head judge Larry Gabao also wanted to see performances that highlighted veneration instead of lavish props.
“Contingents with so much props took time. There was a lengthy gap in between performances so that it almost became boring due to the waiting game,” he said.
Gabao, vice head of the national committee on dance of the National Commission for the Culture and the Arts, stressed that while production added visual flavor, choreographers should stay true to the essence of Sinulog.
Nestor Jardin, free interpretation head judge, asked choreographers to strictly follow the guidelines set by the Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI).
He said contingents should go undertime rather than go overtime with their routines so they wouldn’t lose points.
“We had to deduct points from Kalivungan Festival of the Province of North Cotabato and Buyawanong Placer of the Municipality of Placer, Surigao del Norte for going overtime, and this led to changes in the ranking. Choreographers should take note of the time limit,” he added.
Jardin also advised choreographers to experiment with new techniques and movements for next year’s competition.
Meanwhile, Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak, SFI executive committee chairman, admitted they failed to address crowd control, particularly in Barangay Carreta and towards Fuente Osmeña, during the grand parade on Sunday.
He said there were just too many revelers.
According to police estimates, some 2.5 million people flocked around the parade route.
Another factor was the sudden downpour that forced the crowd to look for shelter, he added.
But Tumulak said the culminating event of the Sinulog celebration was generally peaceful due to the presence of so many police officers on the streets.
“Policemen were everywhere, which prevented crowds from becoming rowdy,” he said.
The councilor from the south district said compared to festivals in other parts of the country, the Sinulog was free from major distubance.
“We are lucky enough ug swerte kaayo ta i-compare sa other festivals sa tibuok Pilipinas nga daghan kaayong casualties, daghan panghitabo, compared sa ato. Kaluoy sa Ginoo, wala ra man (In other festivals nationwide, there have been many casualties, many incidents. Thank God, that hasn’t happened to us here),” he said.
Although some people were caught drinking within the 300-meter liquor ban area of the parade route, they were no threat to the spectators that lined the streets, Tumulak said. (WITH PAC OF SUPERBALITA CEBU/ JKV)