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Sinulog Information, Guide, and Activities

Updated on January 7, 2015

Sinulog 2015

This year, the Sinulog festival will be held on January 18, 2015. The Sinulog Parade / festival (also known as Sto. Niño fiesta) is usually held on the 3rd Sunday of January but preparations and celebrations may start as early as December.

Though each Sinulog festival is grand and memorable, Sinulog 2015 is extra special because the current Pope (Pope Francis) will be visiting the Philippines.

The official itinerary of Pope Francis does not include visiting Cebu and attending the Sinulog Festival – however, the local municipality of Cebu and the Sinulog foundation mentioned that they will be prepared and ready to adjust just in case the Pope will be attending the festival.

Dancing is a major part of the Sto. Niño festival. Reports said that prizes for Sinulog Dance 2015 is also significantly higher compared to previous years. This obviously spells good news for both participants and spectators as the latter would surely see shows worthy of the high prize.

Sinulog 2015 location

Photos cannot be used without permission of Hub Author
Photos cannot be used without permission of Hub Author

A shorty history of Sinulog

Even though Sinulog is commemorated with joyous dancing and fun activities, the celebration has actually deep religious and historical significance.

The first ever Sinulog activity parade started in 1980 but the festival has been observed even before the arrival of Ferdinand Magellan on 1521.

For those who are not aware, Ferdinand Magellan is a Portuguese explorer who headed the Spanish expedition that brought them to the waters of Cebu. Magellan is the one who introduced Christianity to the “Cebuano” (Cebu inhabitants) natives and gave them a “Sto. Niño “idol – a small statue replica of the child Jesus.

Before the arrival of Magellan, the Sinulog dance was already observed by the natives for their pagan beliefs. However, with the introduction of Christianity, the festival is now done to pay homage to the Sto. Niño together with the native’s other wooden idols.

However, through the years of Spanish colonization, Christianity was spread widely by the Spanish colonizers making it the main religion in the island province. Because of this, Sinulog came to be generally accepted as a dance celebration to remember the transition from pagan belief to the Cebuano’s acceptance of the Christian faith – hence it is also being called as the Sto. Niño fiesta.

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Sinulog in the modern day

Nowadays, Sinulog is now a largely commercialized activity and is one of the top tourist attractions from the island-province. It is no longer a one day jamboree but a series of celebrations culminating to the main event – which is on January 18, 2015 (the third Sunday of January).

This year, the main Sinulog parade / event will be held at the Cebu City Sports center – though smaller dance activities can be found at streets from various locations.

The Sinulog parade is normally started by an early morning mass and concluded with dazzling fireworks at midnight – and of course, beautiful dancing in between.

The label "Pit Señor (sometimes spelled as senyor) is a shortened term for "Sangpit Senyor" - a cebuano saying that translates to "to call, ask, and plead to the king"
The label "Pit Señor (sometimes spelled as senyor) is a shortened term for "Sangpit Senyor" - a cebuano saying that translates to "to call, ask, and plead to the king"

Sinulog 2015 schedule of activities

Below is a gist of scheduled events for Sinulog 2015 grand parade:

January 8 – opening Salvo: Walk with Jesus

January 9 – official kickoff of Sinulog 2015

January 10 – celebration of “Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan”

January 11 – celebration of “Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Dakbayan”

January 12 and 13 – cultural shows, concerts, and street parties

January 14 – coronation of Ms. Cebu 2015 (and of course more fun, street parties, and concerts)

January 15 – aside from the usual street party and concerts, the night will celebrate Sinulog Idol grand finals and

Sinulog Festival Queen Runway Competition and Photoshoot

January 16 – Sinulog Festival Queen Coronation night, Sinulog Dance Crew finals, visual merchandising contest, etc…

January 17

The day will start with the Fluvial Procession of the Miraculous Image of the Sto. Niño at 6 am.

At 9 am, a show re-enacting the Baptism of Rajah Humabon and Hara Amihan (renamed with a Christian name of Queen Juana) will be held.

In the afternoon, procession of the Miraculous Image of Sto. Niño (2pm) will be held followed by fireworks competition in the evening (7pm)

January 18 – Sinulog Grand Parade

The Sinulog Dance

Sinulog is mostly comprised by dancing – from local street dancing to official competitions.

However, the first ever Sinulog dance was said to have come from Baladhay – who is Rajah Humabon’s adviser. It is said that he woke up or got up from a terribly sickness because a small child was waking him up by tickling him with a midrib of a coconut. He woke up by playfully shouting the child and dancing with him in the motion of a river flow.

This is the reason why Sinulog is referred to as a solemn dance ritual to miraculous Sto. Niño (widely accepted as the patron of Cebu)

Research shows that Sinulog actually originated from the Cebuano term “Sulog” which means like water current movement.

The original Sinulog dance consists of two steps forward followed by one step backward. This was down in rhythm with the sound of drums. Through the years, other percussion instruments were introduced and modern day dance competitions are done.

That’s just about it. Sinulog is one of the most celebrated and colorful events in the country. If you are a tourist or is in Cebu, don’t miss Sinulog 2015 for a grand and memorable experience.

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