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Performing before Pope Francis

By: Ador Vincent S. Mayol, Carine M. Asutilla December 11,2014 - 01:15 AM

Famed Cebu dance  troupe  to join  papal mass, teach ‘sinulog’ steps

The Sandiego Dance Troupe perform during the reenactment of the  first mass at the Pilgrim Center of Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño. (CDN FILE PHOTO)

The Sandiego Dance Troupe perform during the reenactment of the first mass at the Pilgrim Center of Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño. (CDN FILE PHOTO)

The renowned Sandiego Dance Troupe of Cebu will perform the Sinulog during the Mass to be celebrated by Pope Francis at Manila’s Rizal Park, popularly known as the Luneta, on Jan. 18.

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma yesterday said the multi-awarded dance troupe led by spouses Val and Ophelia Sandiego will be part of Cebu’s delegation in next year’s papal visit.

After winning successive top prizes in the annual Sinulog festival, the Sandiego Dance Troupe was elevated to the Hall of Fame in 1997, which eliminated them from joining the annual competition. The troupe however, continues to participate in the reenactment of the first Mass and baptism at the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño and grand parade every year.

The Sandiego Dance Troupe is mostly composed of professionals like teachers, businessmen, and even doctors who set aside time to practice and perform in the Sinulog. Sinulog, one of the most popular religious festivals in the country, is held in Cebu City in honor of the Holy Infant Jesus or the Sto. Niño and is celebrated every third Sunday of January.  Next year’s celebration will kick off on Jan. 9 and will culminate on Jan. 18, coinciding with Pope Francis’ visit in the country.

The Sandiego matriarch, Luz,  and former Cebu City Mayor Florentino S. Solon were credited for introducing the festive aspect into the Sinulog.

Val, a ballet instructor, was tapped by Mayor Solon to develop the Sinulog concept and is said to have borrowed the “one step forward, two steps backward” dance steps of the late Estelita “Nang Titang” Diola.

The dance step has since been adopted as part of the ritual of candle vendors at the Basilica who dance the steps before the image of the Sto. Niño as they pray for the petition of their customers.

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TAGS: Cebu, festival, Pope Francis, Sinulog Festival

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