IT was generally peaceful and they had fun.
I did not go out to watch the street dancing last Sunday because I was exhausted from the fluvial procession the day before. Besides, having watched the Sinulog mardi gras so many times in the past, I decided to not burden the overcrowded Sinulog route with one more body.
But the friends who watched all agreed that this was so far the most peaceful of all fiesta celebrations in the city. They said that they had fun, safe from smearing of faces and groping of women, the bane of past Sinulogs particularly in the Juana Osmeña area.
Credit should go to Mayor Tommy Osmeña for strictly enforcing the liquor ban along the parade route. He may not have been the most admired by the drunkards but Tommy earned our respect for displaying political will.
Orderly is something that I cannot use to describe the fluvial procession on Saturday. The Navy and Coast Guard had their hands full containing the mad scramble among vessels to get near the navy vessel Agta that carried the image of the Santo Niño. We were on board another Navy boat that was supposed to escort the Santo Niño and at least five times, our boat was sideswiped by other seacrafts trying to overtake us.
The most dangerous situation was created by a tugboat that bore the name Seahorse. Whoever was the master of that ship should have his license canceled immediately for utter recklessness. If there was any agreed speed limit for participants in the procession, the captain of the Seahorse completely disregarded it, acting like he was king of the road. The Seahorse not only overtook our boat but cut our way so they could approach the Agta. I do not think the navy filed any marine protest but should the Coast Guard or the Marina decide to conduct an investigation on their own, I will gladly testify.
In contrast to Seahorse and at least three other tugboats, vessels owned by more established shipping companies strictly observed protocol. Without meaning to denigrate the others whose names I cannot recall but who stayed true to course literally and figuratively, I’d like to specially mention Roble Shipping and Gothong Southern Shipping Lines.
Like any other events of significance, the Sinulog brought out the best and the worst in us. The Basilica and the areas surrounding it were clean, meaning free of garbage. Churchgoers obviously heeded the appeal made at the end of the mass, before the final blessing and right after the weird “manglingkod ang naay kalingkuran” advice, for them to keep the church and the surroundings clean.
It was not so at the Cebu City Sports complex as I have pointed out in this space last week. The place was dirty and I did not hear anyone appealing to the contingents who were rehearsing their numbers to remember Good Manners and Right Conduct. (In fairness, it was relatively cleaner yesterday.)
Well, we can’t have it all, can we?