In January 2019, the Sinulog festival gathered 3.5 million people. A year later, with news of the coronavirus first breaking out in Wuhan, China a month prior, the festival gathered fewer people—about two million—who went out to celebrate on the streets, according to police estimates.
Two million people is still a lot of people.
Then in March 2020, the pandemic was officially declared by the World Health Organization. The financial markets crashed to unprecedented lows, travel and tourism were badly hit with regulations, and the education sector sustained a heavy blow as education delivery moved from campuses to online.
Worst of all, millions of people died from complications brought about Covid-19—and the fight against the coronavirus is still ongoing a couple years later.
January 2021 marked the first virtual-only celebration of the Sinulog to help prevent the virus from spreading and a resurgence of cases.
This year, the trend continues. Sinulog 2022 will still maintain a virtual program.
Whether one prefers observing the feast day of the Holy Child from the comforts of one’s home or misses the revelry and merrymaking on the streets of Cebu, this year presents yet another opportunity for Cebuanos to offer their trials—most especially coming off a devastating super typhoon—in sacrifice and prayer.
Here are some intentions one can pray to the Señor Sto. Niño.
For the pandemic to end
First off, the coronavirus and all its variants need to be in control. Many have lost their lives already and millions more are struggling with the complications the pandemic is causing, health-wise and lifestyle-wise.
For students to experience quality education
The education sector was one of the hardest hit during the pandemic. It’s hard on institutions, having to shoulder costs with leaner revenue streams. It’s harder on students, as they’ve already missed about two years of schooling. Online education may work as an alternate solution but time will tell if it can truly be a replacement for classroom interaction.
For local tourism to rebound
Our country in particular leans on travel and tourism as major drivers of the national economy. With travel restrictions up because of health guidelines, key stakeholders are bleeding red and no one knows how long these companies can hold out.
For the upcoming national elections to be a fair and peaceful one
Five months from now, the country will once again come together and exercise the right to vote. Elections in the Philippines are always a dramatic one, however, how much more when held during a pandemic? One can only hope that the road to national healing and progress is a smooth one.
For the speedy recovery of those affected by typhoon Odette
Metro Cebu is one of a handful of locations that experienced the wrath of super typhoon Odette (International name: Rai). With infrastructure sustaining losses of up to billions in pesos—power, water, telecommunications and the internet out for weeks, up until now in several areas—Christmas, New Year’s and Sinulog have not been the same. One can only hope Valentine’s Day is a lot different.
Photo by Alex Badayos
January 15, 2022
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