Even with stricter policies in place to ensure public order and safety, Cebu’s Sinulog Festival continues to draw in a multitude of local and foreign tourists.
According to Hotels, Resorts, Restaurants Association of Cebu (HRRAC) president Carlo Suarez, most hotels in Metro Cebu are running at 60 to 70 percent booking this week.
“By January 18 to 21, most hotels will be fully booked,” said Suarez, adding that the hospitality sector understands the need for Sinulog organizers to enforce stringent rules especially during Sinulog weekend.
Among Sinulog policies set by the Cebu City government is a total liquor ban within 300 meters from the routes of the solemn foot procession on Saturday and the Sinulog Festival on Sunday.
City Hall also denied the permit for LifeDance, an annual pre-Sinulog event popular among young partygoers. Organizers of the outdoor party announced that instead of Cebu City, they will be holding the event at an open lot beside Bai Hotel in Mandaue City.
“Because we’re still not fully open, what we’re doing is we’re opening two more floors especially since LifeDance will be happening right beside,” Alfred Reyes, Bai Hotel general manager, told Cebu Daily News.
Bai Hotel opened 300 rooms so far, all of which had been booked as of yesterday.
With two more floors opening, another 100 rooms will be made available in time for Sinulog.
Meanwhile, Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino marketing communications manager Arnel Aparis told CDN that stricter regulations this year have failed to dampen their guests.
“Most of our regular guests are here because of their strong faith to Sto. Niño. The merry making just added the flair for the Sinulog Festival,” said Aparis, explaining that Waterfront is now fully booked just like previous years.
Bayfront Hotel bookings are also full for next week. CEO Charlton Cokaliong said this has also been the case in last year’s Sinulog.
“So far, everything is in order. We are hoping for peace and order during the Sinulog week,” he said.
Cenelyn Manguilimotan, general manager of Parklane International Hotel also said that the hotel is doing well and that they are fully booked for Sinulog weekend.
At the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA), GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation expects an average of 15 thousand inbound passengers daily for both domestic and international flights starting next week.
Avigael Maningo, of GMR’s corporate communications office said they also expect 500 to 800 balikbayans from the United States to arrive next week as part of the Balik Cebu 2018 program.
“We really wanted the moment when passengers set foot in the airport they can already feel Sinulog,” she said.
Altars with the image of Santo Niño are already in place around the terminal.
Starting Monday, 10 Lapu-Lapu City barangays will also participate in a Sinulog dance competition at the airport.