My first Sinulog – Cebu City
What can I say about my first Sinulog experience in 2016? Uhm… Hot, actually VERY HOT (it was 38 degrees centigrade on the day), extremely crowded BUT definitely worth seeing.
Sinulog is an annual cultural and religious festival held throughout Cebu where it is tradition to pay homage to Santo Niño. Filipinos from far and wide travel to Cebu to take part in the festivities, dancing, drinking and prayers.
What struck me first was just how many people there were… I am not exaggerating when I say, “millions” of people turned up and flooded the streets. In all honesty, it was absolute chaos taking hours to walk from one side of the celebrations to another. There is a 12 hour parade that marches through the city centre, however I did not get anywhere near the front to see it and in the midday sun. Even if I did make it to the front, I do not think I would have lasted a long time.
Sinulog Santo Niño Dancers
However, I did manage to get a glimpse at some of the traditional dancing and performances as I made my way through the street. In particular the ritual dance in honour of Santo Niño was quite enthralling.
I decided to retreat from the front line and head towards the Ayala Mall area, which is where most of the bars, restaurants and shops are found within close proximity to the festival. This, I have to say, was much more fun…
Hundreds of people had taken to the bars to enjoy the selection of entertainers around Ayala, drink the cool beer and listen to music.
In the evening things really start to liven up. Any open area quickly turns into an impromptu party with sound systems and dance music ringing out from every direction. City streets become flooded with beer tents, street vendors, food, dancing and people enjoying themselves.
Sinulog 2016 was definitely an experience… Watching the masses work their way through the crowded streets from the top of our condominium block was in itself, something I will never forget.
If you’re in the Philippines, would I recommend going, absolutely! Will I be rushing back to go next year, probably not.