DESPITE challenging times, Cebu’s annual Sinulog, dubbed as the country’s biggest festival, will push through as scheduled in January 2021, but without the mammoth crowds.

Organizers of the 2021 Sinulog Festival announced that in lieu of the grand parade attended by hundreds of thousands of spectators and fiesta goers, an “online celebration” will be

held to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 in Cebu City and a resurgence of cases.

Elmer “Jojo” Labella, Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) executive director, made the disclosure during a press conference on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020.

Labella, brother of Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella, explained that there will still be on site dance rituals and performances by the Cebu City-based contingents at the venue which will be broadcast on the internet.

Out-of-town performers, including those from Cebu province will have to pre-record their performance.

According to Vice Mayor Michael Rama, who has been tasked by Mayor Labella to lead the preparations for Sinulog 2021, another change that they will implement in next year’s festival is limit the number of dancers per contingent to only 50.

Sinulog organizers will also prohibit the use of backdrops and rolling props during performances.

Officials have yet to announce other details including the number of contingents that will participate in next year’s Sinulog festival.

There will be no floats and higantes but pre-Sinulog activities such as Sinulog Idol, Balik Cebu, Sinulog Photography Contest, and Sinulog Festival Queen pageant will push through.

Cebu City has allocated around P40 million for Sinulog 2021.

Mayor Labella said the budget will be taken from the City’s Sponsored Activities fund.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Mayor Labella expected the crowd in next year’s Sinulog to surpass the estimated three million people who attended this year’s festival. /