Only in Cebu! Yes, it is only in our beloved Cebu that a potential political power showdown turns into an amicable Sinulog sa Lalawigan project that can only be beneficial to both Cebu City and Cebu Province.
The commotion started when Gov. Gwen Garcia and Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama had a major difference of opinion on where to hold the Sinulog Ritual Dance Showdown. One wanted to hold it in the Cebu City Sports Center while the other wanted to move it to SRP.
As is usual with many differences of opinion, both parties have their own valid points. It could easily have turned sour with the two disagreeing factions breaking into two rivalrous and competing Sinulog extravaganzas.
Instead, what I saw at the Jan. 14 Sinulog sa Lalawigan was a one Cebu political love fest with Mayor Mike and charming wife Malou together with Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia and the ever-gracious Kate Garcia showing full support to Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia’s project.
And WHY NOT? The Cebu audience alone, coupled with a flourishing number of holidaying balikbayans, is big enough to support two weekends of ritual showdowns. Off the cuff, one can already think of a number of advantages:
1. Traffic, the ever-tangled bane of Cebu City, becomes more manageable. Instead of holding it all in one weekend and paralyzing Cebu City traffic, it can be eased over two weekends.
2. Think of the economic benefits! Two well-promoted Ritual Showdowns mean more tourist arrivals and more tourist receipts to hotels, shopping malls, transport companies, restaurants and related businesses. Gosh! While we’re at it, why not just make it a CEBU SINULOG MONTH! There ought to be enough people from cold countries seeking to escape the freezing January weather!
3. These so-called ritual showdowns can only be good for the multiple cities, municipalities, and barangays within Cebu. In preparing for their dance rituals, they are all given a chance to examine what they are thankful to God for in the past year. The LGUs are likewise encouraged to seek their own identity and pride of place.
4. Also, in the process of preparing for Sinulog, Cebu can develop homegrown talents in creativity, the performing arts and the overall entertainment industry which are now essential skills in today’s 21st-century digital era.
Going back to the Sinulog sa Lalawigan itself, we have a few observations.
1. We particularly enjoyed the creative use of the LED screens which complemented, if not enhanced the dance presentations. So perhaps next year, we can reduce the overly ubiquitous and repeated use of painted backdrops and backgrounds? Sometimes, less can be more.
2. May we ask our guest politicians to please reduce the number of minutes of their speeches by cutting out time in calling out fellow politicians (whether it be LGU, Congress or Senate) as a sign of respect or in sympathy with the thousands of viewers who have been out in the sun, waiting for hours, for the showdown to start? After all, the host of the event, in this case Gov. Gwen Garcia as well as the master of ceremonies of the occasion have acknowledged each and every politician as they arrive.
3. The participation of the inimitable Gov. Gwen Garcia in the final dance tribute to the Santo Niño was breathtaking and awe-inspiring. But more inspirational was the participation of Cebu City Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia and Cebu City Councilor Joy Pesquera in the dance itself. It signified that our leaders had willingly transcended their differing positions to jointly honor our beloved Santo Niño, setting aside differing opinions, all for God’s greater glory!
What a proud day it turned out to be for Cebu and the Cebuanos! Kudos Governor Gwen! Pit Senyor to one and all!