Zamboanga’s Liloy contingent to make Sinulog comeback: Dancing for Sto. Niño is all that matters

By Doris C. Bongcac |January 12,2019 - 07:15 AM

Nothing will prevent students from the Liloy National High School in Zamboanga del Norte from joining this year’s Sinulog grand parade. /Liloy National High School Facebook page

CEBU CITY, Philippines – They have already signed up for the Sinulog grand parade on January 20, but the around 300 performers from the municipality of Liloy in Zamboanga del Norte still do not have boat tickets for their Cebu trip on Wednesday, January 16.

Choreographer Audie Fuentes said he planned to avail of a loan which they could use for their round trip ticket to Cebu, which they could pay after he could collect their P400,000 subsidy from the Cebu City government.

The amount would already be enough to take care of their travel expenses.

Fuentes said that they had to struggle and make a lot of sacrifices just to be able to join the 2019 Sinulog grand parade, but all of his performers were just as willing as he was to make all of these sacrifices for the Sto. Niño.

“Mga devotees man gud mi,” he said.

Fuentes said that more than 10 of the 37 barangays in Liloy town, a third class municipality in Zamboanga del Norte, had the Holy Child as their patron saint.

They also celebrate His feast every January with SInulog dance offerings.

Fuentes said that his personal devotion to the Sto. Niño started from his being a church volunteer and a member of the Singles for Christ.

There had been several instances in the past wherein he would also travel to Cebu during the Sto. Niño feast to pay homage to the miraculous image.

He would also help organize Sinulog activities in their town for their own fiesta celebrations.

But joining the SInulog is an even bigger feat.

Challenges

With their lack of resources, Fuentes said that members of his contingent agreed to chip in for their costumes and the meals served during their practices.

He also spent his personal funds to make sure that they would be able to produce a fiesta-themed Free Interpretation (FI) entry in this year’s grand parade.

When performers from the Liloy National High School first joined the Sinulog in 2012, they were lucky to have found a generous sponsor, a town native who now lives in Hawaii, who took care of their contingents’ needs then.

But after that they had to cease from joining the SInulog because of financial difficulties.

Fuentes said that this year, prodding from officials of the Liloy National High School made him decide that it was already time for them to make a comeback in the annual competition despite all the challenges that they would have to face.

Only 20 high school students came when he first called for a dance practice on January 3. Still, he went on to explain to the students who came the importance of their Sinulog entry and the need for them to make some sacrifices.

The number of performers tremendously increased during their second practice on January 7, Monday.

Since then, Fuentes said they had to double their efforts to make sure that they would be able to complete their FI routine in time for the January 20 grand parade.

Fuentes had to take a quick break from their carpentry works to produce their props, when he granted a phone interview with Cebu Daily News Digital on January 10.

“Dili mo matter sa amo ang premyo. Ang importante nga maka sayaw mi para sa Sto. Niño,” he said./dbs

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