Savoring the Sights and Sounds of Cebu’s Sinulog Festival

Wow!!! What can I say? Cebuanos really know how to party! With a capital P! No wonder lots of foreigners converge in Cebu City every end of the Christmas season. They go there to extend the holidays, party like there’s no tomorrow, before finally going home – all bushed, broke and bleary-eyed – to their more sedate and proper worlds.

(Courtesy of

This year’s Sinulog Festival had to compete with the bigger headline which was Pope Francis’ historic visit to the Philippines. This, coupled with the threat of an incoming storm named ‘Amang’, would have affected attendance in the festivities. But no, there was no shortage of crowds; no lack of color, noise and excitement, as Cebu’s Sinulog reaffirmed its position as the premiere festival in the country today. “This is definitely much, much larger than the Mardi Gras in New Orleans”, quipped a wild and woozy Californian I befriended in the streets.

(Courtesy of

Sinulog is a week-long cultural and religious extravaganza that culminates on the 3rd Sunday of January. It is a commemoration of Cebu’s – and the Philippines’ – acceptance of the Christian faith, with the Santo Nino as the focal point in the people’s baptism to Catholicism. It is said that the festival’s basic dance steps were taken from Queen Juana in the olden times, who danced with the image of the Santo Nino in her arms to ward off evil spirits and all forms of sickness among her people.

(Courtesy of

This year’s celebrations had a lot of glitzy events – from the procession to the fluvial parade to the re-enactment, even a Sinulog for Kids, etc – but the highlight of it all would have to be the grand street parade last Sunday which lasted practically the entire day. Participants dressed in dazzling, colorful costumes, coming from all over the Philippines, tried to outdance each other to the frenzied beat of native gongs, drums, trumpets and anything else noisy.

(Courtesy of

And with good reason. The Sinulog Dance Contest, which culminated in the Cebu City Sports Complex, had 3 categories – the Street Dancing Category, the Free Interpretation and the Base Category, with each offering a prize money worth P1 million!

(courtesy of cbholganza)

Towards the evening, the much-awaited street dancing followed. As the night sky lit brightly with dazzling fireworks, the streets were covered with a merry combination of booze, good food and great company. Indeed, it was a wild and wonderful way to meet new friends.

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Kudos to the Sinulog organizers for a job well done. Way to go, Cebu!!!

(Pictures courtesy of,,,,,,,,,,,, francis macatulad and cbholganza)


    1. Yup, some of the areas got really wild! Well, you just have to choose which crowd you want to be with. For the young, there’s the wild party-till-the-daybreak stuff. For those of us who are not into that kind of activity, there certainly are other areas that suit us.


  1. Reblogged this on Color My World and commented:

    In 2015, my wife and I had the opportunity to watch the Sinulog Festival in Cebu. This year, I was fortunate to get a glimpse of the Fluvial Procession which took the Senor Sto Nino across the Mactan Channel. Here is a reblog of the festivities for those who may want to savor the sights and sounds of the Sinulog in the years ahead.


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