There’s a party — a city-wide street party — unfolding this day in Cebu City. Not today, I mean, but during the time when I originally wrote this article in January 16, 2006, back when I discovered blogging. Looking back, it’s quite unfortunate that in more than four years of staying in Cebu, I imbibed the mardi gras spirit only once.
I thought it’s just absurd for Cebuanos and tourists — from other areas of the Philippines and all over the world, to sweat it out under the Cebu sun to catch a glimpse of the Sinulog parade. It was hot, too crowded and so physically draining, I thought. You have to walk to, around and from the city since vehicles are barred from entering the parade route — and that’s practically the entire city. Besides, you can have a better view of everything at the same time, on TV.
(Listen to the contagious Sinulog beat, see the colorful images and read about the celebration schedules at the official Sinulog Festival website, which also features the great video below.)
The annual Sinulog dance ritual, which is in honor of the miraculous Santo Niño, is held every third Sunday of January. I understand it wasn’t always that way, and it was celebrated to coincide with the enthronement of the Santo Niño image at its shrine on April 28, 1565. Since April corresponds to the Lenten season, the Pope moved it to the third Sunday of every January. I must say the transfer is perfect, to give everyone an opportunity to sweat out the Christmas pounds.
My brother once asked me to join him for the Sinulog mardi gras, something which he should have done during the first year of my stay in Cebu. Only then I realized that I missed out on the Sinulog fun (although one should not lose sight of the religious significance of the event). It was a blast. The sun was no match to the intensity of the crowd packing practically the entire city route. Now, I miss the uniquely Sinulog drumbeats, the sun, the sweat, the people, the dancing, the chanting, the party atmosphere and, most importantly, the booze. Or maybe it’s just the booze . . .
Pit Señor! Viva Sñr. Santo Niño!