Briones: A special Sinulog year

On The Go
Publio J. Briones III
Publio J. Briones III

It was nice to see Catholic devotees come out in full force to attend the Walk with Jesus in the wee hours of Thursday morning, Jan. 11, 2024.

The procession served as the opening salvo of the 459th Fiesta Señor. It was followed by the first novena mass at the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño.

Okay, so I actually didn’t “see” the crowd since I was fast asleep. But I did see the many photos when I woke up and, boy, I think we can look forward to the return of the pre-pandemic celebrations.

This year is going to be special because the Cebu Provincial Government under Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia is helping the Cebu City Government organize the Sinulog sa Lalawigan on Sunday, Jan. 14.

I know what some of you are thinking, but hey, let’s be realistic for a second here.

We all know that Cebu City is under a lot of stress. You don’t have to take my word for it. Go out and see for yourself.

Chaotic traffic. Check. Uncollected garbage. Check. Roaming street children. Check. Rise in criminality. Check. Growing problem of homelessness. Check.

I mean, I can go on, but you get my drift.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

How about last year’s unrealized annual budget? That must have been a bummer, not being able to collect even half of what you had set your sights on to address the city’s many social ills.

Or the ongoing kerfuffle over the leadership at the Metropolitan Cebu Water District? Until now, I don’t know what to call Jose Daluz III and Melquiades Feliciano. They can’t both be chairman of the board, but apparently they are, depending on who you talk to.

Anyway, I digress. Yet again.

My point is, the mayor may not openly admit it, but he may have his hands full this time.

Overseeing Sinulog 2024 is no mean feat. Don’t forget, there’s also the Fiesta Señor.

Although the religious aspect of the celebration is managed by the Roman Catholic Church, there are other logistics that must be considered and that only the local government unit (LGU) can address. And these have to be addressed properly. Nothing can be left to chance. No “deus ex machina” to save the day. It’s all in mortal hands.

Last Thursday, I dropped by the Capitol. It just so happened that the governor was having a meeting at the Session Hall with different stakeholders to go over the plans for the Sinulog sa Lalawigan.

I decided to stay for a bit to listen to the discussion. And I was glad I did.

As expected, the governor was thorough. Down to the last detail. She also thanked the Cebu City Government several times for accommodating the Capitol’s requests.

City Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera and Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia were present. Obviously, they were there as representatives of Mayor Michael Rama.

I know what you’re thinking, but yes, this year the Sinulog will have two major parades for the very first time.

The Sinulog sa Lalawigan will be held at the Cebu City Sports Center, the traditional venue, while the Sinulog Grand Parade and Grand Ritual Showdown on Jan. 21 will be held at the South Road Properties.

I don’t see it as a contest between two chief executives, or between two LGUs.

Despite all the pros and cons, at the end of the day, Cebuanos can now celebrate their devotion and reverence for the Holy Child on two different occasions.

For me, that’s what’s important.

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