A ‘better’ Sinulog ‘24 promised

Carcar City was named winner in this year's One Cebu Island Sinulog sa Kabataan, which was held at the Cebu City Sports Center Sunday, January 8, 2023. (Amper Campana)
Carcar City was named winner in this year's One Cebu Island Sinulog sa Kabataan, which was held at the Cebu City Sports Center Sunday, January 8, 2023. (Amper Campana)

AFTER receiving backlash from the public for staging the 2023 Sinulog Festival last January at the South Road Properties (SRP), a festival executive has assured that they are now better prepared to hold the festival, at the SRP in 2024.

Elmer Labella, executive director of the Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI), said on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023, they have started work on venue preparations since October.

“This time, we are better prepared than last year, especially on what happened and what we experienced. We already identified the flaws as to the preparation and setup of the performance area,” he said in a news forum in Cebu City on Tuesday, Dec. 5.

Complaints

During the Sinulog Festival 2023 held at the SRP for the first time last January, several complaints from participants and spectators emerged ranging from insufficient shade during rainfall, the lack of restroom facilities, and muddy grounds, among many others.

In response to the complaints and upon seeing photos of drenched participants during the rehearsals, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia pulled out all of the province’s 10 Sinulog contingents from joining the Sinulog Grand Parade and Ritual Showdown on Jan. 15 including Lapu-Lapu City.

Only 12 out of the initial 22 groups were left to perform during the festival ironically dubbed “One Cebu Island Sinulog Festival 2023.”

Early preparations

Organizers seem to have learned their lesson. As early as October, Labella said they have focused on preparing the venue for the January 2024 festival.

He said they started with the beautification of roads that will be used for the grand parade.

Compared to Sinulog 2023 when the street dancing competition was done only in the main avenue of the SRP with contingents performing on opposite lanes, the route of the Sinulog 2024 grand parade will be longer, extending up to Pond A.

Labella said the SFI has installed bleachers that could seat 19,000 spectators along the street dancing route — a much bigger capacity than the 10,000 seats he first announced last month.

The route of the Sinulog Festival will be 4.1 kilometers long and 20 meters wide.

Gwen in Sinulog

Labella said he is optimistic about the participation of the Cebu Provincial Government in the upcoming Sinulog Festival. He said the governor has scheduled a meeting with festival organizers.

Earlier, Labella said contingents from the towns and cities of Cebu Province are always welcome to perform in Cebu City’s Sinulog Festival, extending an open invitation to the governor.

The SFI also distributed invitations to provincial contingents during the “Pasigarbo sa Sugbo” held in Carcar City last August.

In a separate interview, Cebu City Tourism Officer Neil Odchigue said there is no conflict between Mayor Michael Rama and Garcia.

Odchigue expressed confidence that the Provincial Government will actively participate in next year’s Sinulog Festival.

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