Sinulog 2023 contingents continue to wait for subsidies promised by Cebu City Hall

Most of the props that will be used by Tribu Mabolokon are still without paint. | Doris C. Bongcac

MANDAUE CITY, Cebu — Sinulog 2023 will formally kick off on Friday, Jan. 6.

The Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan and the Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Dakbayan competitions, respectively, are already scheduled this weekend. But as of Sunday night, Jan. 1, most of the props that performers of Tribu Mabolokon will be using for their performance on Sunday, Jan. 8, are still without paint.

Maximar Custodio, the group’s choreographer, said they no longer had funds to spend on paints.  He would need around P50,000 for the paints and the finishing touches for their props.

Custodio said that just like the other barangay-based choreographers, he was also waiting for the release of the Sinulog subsidy that was promised by the Cebu City government.

READ: SFI exec director: Sinulog sa Kabataan 2023 open for ‘barangay-based’ and ‘school-based’ contingents

In an earlier interview,  Jojo Labella, Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) executive director, said subsidies amounting to P500,000 and P600,000 respectively would be released to Cebu City-based and out of town contingents that would be participating in the Sinulog 2023.

CDN Digital tried to reach Labella and Mayor Michael Rama to ask about the schedule for the release of the subsidies but they had not responded to the query as of this posting.

As practiced in the past Sinulogs, Custodio said, subsidies were normally released in the month of December.

“Ug gi sayo pa ang release, wala na mi problema. Mao man gud na ang makadugay,” he said.

(If it was only released earlier, then we won’t have any problem. That is what that will cause it to be done at a later date.)

Since they started their practices in November 2022, Custodio said that he had been spending his personal funds to purchase the materials and supplies that they would need.

Budgetary Limitations

With their budgetary limitations, Custodio said that he even opted for the use of alfagina, that was sold for at least P35 per meter, on some of their props because it was the cheaper option.

Performers of Tribu Mabolokon continue to practice at the gymnasium in Barangay Mabolo, Cebu City even on New Year’s Day. | Doris C. Bongcac

They do not also serve dinner to their performers because they do no have funds for the purpose. Instead, they serve bread for snacks.

In at least three occasions, since they started their practices in November, kind-hearted Mabolo residents prepared ‘lugaw’ (congee)  for their performers.

Custodio said that he was now very tight on budget especially since he also would spend at least P5,000 daily for transportation, gasoline and the purchase of bread for the snacks of their performers.

So far, Custodio said he had already spent around P300,000 in personal funds, including the Christmas bonus that he received from his employer, to support the needs of their contingent.

If the subsidy from City Hall is not released by Friday, Custodio said, he would be forced to seek the help of a loan shark and pay interest of at least five percent.

“Ang choreographer kinahanglan naa gyoy kasandigan kay og wala, asa man ka manulis?” he said.

(The choreographer should have somebody to lean on because if you don’t have anyone, then where will you get the money?)

| Choreographer Maximar Custodio supervises the rehearsals of their contingent. | Doris C. Bongcac

Custodio said other choreographer also shared the same sentiments, a concern that they constantly discussed in their group chat.

Funding problems is not only limited to the Cebu-based contingents in the Sinulog 2023.


Members of the Omega de Salonera of Socorro town Surigao del Norte Province also needed at least a million pesos to send 500 to 600 people to Cebu for the Sinulog grand parade on Jan. 15.

These include their 100 dancers, 200 propsmen, 50 intrumentalists and about a hundred support staff.

But they have yet to raise the needed amount, a week before the Sinulog grand parade, said Jeyrence ‘Senior Agila’ Quilario, president of the Socorro Bayanihan Services Inc. that was behind the Omega de Salonera group.

“Ampo na lang mi sa Ginoo nga maraise namo ang kantidad,” said Quilario who prefers to be called by his screen name Senior Agila.

(We will just pray to God that we can raise the amount.)

Grabbed from the Youtube video of the Omega de Salonera’s winning performance in the Bonok-Bonok Maradjaw Karadjaw Festival in September 2022.

Since they did not receive any financial aid from their local government, Senior Agila said, they were working hard to raise the funds that they would need on their own.

He said they needed to charter a barge that would bring their performers, props, costumes and support staff to Cebu. Travel is expected to last 24 hours.

Chartering a barge is so much cheaper as compared to taking a commercial vessel that would bring them to Cebu in just eight hours.  Taking a commercial vessel would also mean that they would have to travel to Surigao City, where Cebu-bound sea vessels were available, which could result to damage of their props.

And when they would arrive here, Senior Agila said, he would also be looking forward to the P600,000 subsidy that the Cebu City government had promised for out of town contingents.

Senior Agila said they would rely on the amount for the meals and the other needs of their contingent during their travel and their stay in Cebu.


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TAGS: Cebu City, Cebu Daily News, cebu news, Cebu-based, Labella, SFI, Sinulog Festival
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