All eyes are on Cebu once more as the city is in the thick of preparations for the biggest religious festival in the Philippines.
If you ask Cebuanos what January means to them, they will say that it’s not just the start of the year but also the month of the renowned Sinulog Festival.
This year, the festival is even more exciting as the cultural celebration aims to return to its pre-pandemic form. Cebuanos will see the return of in-person festivities, attracting a mammoth crowd from all over the world to celebrate the marriage of local culture and religion.
For those who haven’t experienced Sinulog yet, the word means “graceful dance,” and is done to honor the Sto. Niño—the Holy Child Jesus. This cultural event has been passed down from generation to generation and is observed annually on the third Sunday of January.
The festival traces its historical roots to 1521, when Portuguese-born Spanish explorer Ferdinand Magellan presented the Sto. Niño relic to Rajah Humabon, the chief of Cebu.
This marked the start of Christian evangelization in the region, thus, earning Cebu its nickname: “Asia’s Cradle of Christianity.”
This commemoration of history and faith has become the focus of month-long festivities heavily attended by locals and tourists alike.
The activities include street dancing, Holy Masses, processions, parades, street parties, and music festivals that make up the vibrant and vivacious culture in Cebu.
These bombastic displays were toned down during the pandemic, but thankfully, Cebu City plans that the lively events will resume this year—albeit, with a few, minor changes to the usual venues.
For the first time, the Sinulog Grand Parade and ritual showdown will be held at the South Road Properties (SRP) on Jan. 15.
This unfolds another historic move in the grand celebration of the Sinulog Festival.
Another change to anticipate is that the dancing youth contingents from Cebu City and Cebu province will not be competing separately.
Accordingly, “Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Dakbayan” and “Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan” have been combined into a single event this year, the “One Cebu Sinulog sa Kabataan Open Competition,” which will take place at the Cebu City Sports Center beginning at 1 p.m. Jan. 8, Sunday.
With all the modifications to expect for the 2023 Sinulog Festival, this just demonstrates how hard the Cebuanos have worked to prepare for the best celebration two years after it was put on hold.
Gear up for the most-awaited comeback of the Sinulog Festival which is both a feast for the eyes and the hearts of locals.
Witness the rich heritage and unique culture of the Cebuanos, where spirits are high and faith is celebrated.
See you on the streets!