Are you ready for Cebu’s Sinulog?

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A dancer in her elaborate finery holding the image of the Sto. Nino
A dancer in her finest finery holding the image of the Sto. Nino

Are you ready for Cebu’s grandest festival, the Sinulog?

Just a few days after new year, the premier city of the south gets busy preparing for the Sinulog, the street dancing festival that happens every third Sunday of January. Although many have lamented the commercialization of the said event, it is still THE festival to visit because of its colors, dances and joyous revelry that this festival is known for.

What should you expect then?

1) Expect to have difficulty booking flights and hotels at this time. If ever you want to experience the Sinulog, you should book way ahead.

For flights, there’s a technique: if its too expensive or there are no more available seats, the only option is to book flights at nearby airports: Tagbilaran in Bohol, Dumaguete in Negros Oriental, or, if you don’t mind the long travel time, Bacolod City.

If you are left with these routes, better give a day for travel before Sinulog. These cities are well connected to Cebu and there are several bus/fastcraft companies that will bring you to where the action is.

2) Lest you forget, the Sinulog is celebrated in honor of the Child/God/King: the Sto. Nino. Nine days before the feast is the novena which starts with a procession from Fuente Osmena all the way to the Basilica del Sto. Nino. Expect lots of people during this and the succeeding novena days.

3) On Saturday, the eve of the third Sunday of January, there is the fluvial procession, the Translacion, which brings the image of the Sto. Nino from Mandaue City to the Basilica. Mactan Channel is where it all happens. A procession to the Basilica followed by a Sinulog presentation happens.

In the afternoon, the religious procession starts at the Basilica and winds its way around downtown Cebu City. The routes are widely published and publicized but if you want to attend, be ready for a long walk. Always have water and rain gear at hand.

The procession has lots of images but the main image, that of the Sto. Nino has the most people and, as it nears the Basilica, it gets chaotic and rowdy as people want to go near the carroza to get flowers. Just be mindful of your things and if you have a companion, agree on where and when to meet if ever you get lost.

4) Sinulog Day usually starts at noon but the assembly of dancers and participants starts early. As most roads are barricaded and closed to traffic, be ready to walk. Be mindful of your things especially your cameras.

Speaking of cameras, if you want to get the best images, a photographer’s pass is important. I just pay for the pass but I don’t submit the images for the photo contest. Be ready to pay.

5) Whatever day you want to experience, from the religious aspect to the revely on Sinulog Day, always enjoy, savor the moment and don’t forget to be mindful of your things too, from cellphones, cameras, bags and money.

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I help businesses get qualified leads and more sales thru better FB Ads. I'm also a Travel and Architecture/Interiors photographer, blogger and writer based in Cebu, the Philippines.

A true blue Cebuano, I make stunning images and meaningful stories. My work has been published in various coffee table books as well as local and international publications Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and has frequently done photo assignments for Mabuhay, an inflight magazine.

My personal Photography work has been exhibited around Asia and Europe including Paris in France, Germany, The Netherlands, South Korea, China and around the ASEAN regional capitals.

I am a peripatetic traveler and have been to all 81 Philippine provinces and abroad.

Check out my portfolio site at StanCabigas.

5 thoughts on “Are you ready for Cebu’s Sinulog?

  1. if only i could simply pack my bags and go! the last time i witnessed Sinulog was in 2011. but no matter, i’ll be in kalibo for the Ati-atihan. 🙂

  2. estancabigas says:

    that’s also a good festival that i still haven’t gone to 🙂

  3. Do you know when is the Panagbenga? I want the cool weather up north.
    wow gold

  4. estancabigas says:

    Alwin, its every February.

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