CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama has invited the top five winners of the Sinulog sa Lalawigan to participate in the Sinulog Grand Parade and Grand Ritual Showdown which will be held at the South Road Properties (SRP) on Sunday, Jan. 21, 2024.
Rama, on Monday, Jan. 15, confirmed that the Cebu City Government and the Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) will welcome the presence of the Sinulog sa Lalawigan winners led by the Carcar City contingent, which bested 15 other contingents in the ritual showdown, best musical ensemble and best in costume.
Aside from Carcar City, the other winners in the ritual showdown were Tribu Talisaynon-Talisay City (second place), Tribu Dagitabnon-City of Naga (third place), Mandaue City (fouth place) and Tribu Masadyaon-Toledo City (fifth place).
The Sinulog sa Lalawigan was held at the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC) last Sunday, Jan. 14.
Mayor Rama, in a text message to SunStar Cebu on Monday, said he was open to the possibility of accommodating the winning contingents after the deadline. They only need to coordinate with SFI executive director Elmer “Jojo” Labella.
“If you ask me, no problem. The more, the merrier,” Rama said.
He said he will also invite Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia to watch the event.
The City of Naga, though, was non-committal.
“I don’t think so, since the kids (performers) will be resting,” City of Naga Mayor Valdemar Chiong told SunStar Cebu on Monday.
Toledo City Mayor Marjorie Perales turned down the invitation without providing
Waiting for governor
Talisay City Mayor Gerald Anthony Gullas Jr. said they await confirmation from the governor whether towns and cities in the province will participate in the Sinulog Festival.
Gullas reiterated his support for Garcia and Cebu City Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia to bring back the Sinulog to the CCSC.
As for the grand champion, Carcar City Mayor Mario Patricio Barcenas did not comment, but his creative adviser, Kathryn Estenzo, said they will join if the governor gives the go signal.
Mandaue City initially said no, only to say later on that it might change its mind.
The SFI set the deadline to register for the Sinulog Festival at the SRP on Jan. 15.
Last Jan. 3, Governor Garcia said the mayors and choreographers of the contingents that joined Sinulog sa Lalawigan were the ones who decided not to participate in the Sinulog Festival at the SRP.
Last Sunday, Mayor Rama invited the thousands of spectators that flocked to the CCSC to join the festivities on Jan. 21.
He said that even though he and the governor danced together on stage in the finale of the Sinulog sa Lalawigan, they have yet to discuss matters related to the Sinulog Festival at the SRP.
He said he and the other city officials were at the venue for the Señor Sto. Niño de Cebu.
The mayor did not see eye to eye with the governor regarding the venue of this year’s Sinulog Festival. Garcia wanted the event to return to the CCSC, but Rama stood pat on his decision to hold it at the SRP for the second straight year.
Meanwhile, Rama said the City Government and SFI continue to prepare the venue at the SRP, adding that they will announce later this week when it will be ready.
He said they are installing the roof of the amphitheater that will hold the spectators, and asphalting the road that will be used in the street
He said the Lapu-Lapu City Government also provided bleachers to accommodate more spectators.
The mayor said he already talked to representatives of the major telecommunication firms to boost the signal coverage in the area, considering that they are among the major sponsors of the event.
Rama said they also sent invitations to officials of the national government, but they have yet to receive any confirmation on who will
“(We) still never stop to prepare. It’s not over until it’s over, (as we) offer (this) to Señor Sto. Niño,” he said.
In an online commentary program of the Cebu City Government last Jan. 11, Labella revealed that five out-of-town contingents would be joining the Sinulog Festival at the SRP.
They are the Sandurot Festival of Dumaguete City, Pasayaw Festival of Canlaon City in Negros Oriental, Tribu Kamanting Performing Arts Guild from the town of San Jose town in Dinagat Island Province, Masskara Festival of Bacolod City, and Hwacheon Beomamgol Nongak Preservation Association from
Labella anticipated a minimum of 30 contingents to participate in the ritual showdown, with 23 of them from Cebu City.
SunStar Cebu tried to reach out to Labella for the final list of contingents, but he was not available for an interview as of this writing. / EHP / KJF With a report from HIC