Ballesteros: SRP not ready to accommodate Sinulog grand parade

An aerial photo of the Sinulog grand showdown venue at the South Road Properties. Photo was taken on Jan. 4. | Cebu City PIO

MANDAUE CITY, Cebu — With just a few more days left, the venue of the Sinulog grand parade at the South Road Properties (SRP) is not yet ready to accommodate the big event on January 15.

Ricky Ballestoros, former executive director of the Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI), said that organizers should reconsider using the area as a venue for the grand showdown.

“But if the organizers are already fixed in deciding to hold the Sinulog in SRP, why not consider Cebu City Sports Center as a plan B. If the venue is not yet ready and if if the need arises, theres a ready fallback venue,” he said in an “unsolicited advice” which he posted on his social media page on Saturday, Jan. 7.

“After all Sinulog is for the people to enjoy… it’s owned by the people…,” he added.

Ballesteros said he visited the proposed venue of the grand showdown at the SRP on Saturday to personally “see for myself the progress of works.”

“With a very little time left , so many things to be done plus the unpredictable weather,” he said.

With his observations, Ballesteros urged organizers to return the Sinulog grand parade to the streets of Cebu City and the grand showdown at the Cebu City Sports Center stage.

In planning an event as big as the Sinulog, Ballesteros said that health and safety should remain a priority.

Ballesteros, who is also an event organizer, said that the proposed venue at the SRP, is very hot from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. since its an open space.

He said that the area was close to the sea and it did not have trees, shade, even nearby buildings that could provide shelter to the participants and the spectators.

“…even sports organizers are discouraged to hold marathons to pass by that area after 7 a.m. to avoid participants suffering from heat strokes, a condition caused by continuous exposure to high temperature and humidity for several hours. It’s more difficult for Sinulog spectators, participants especially dancers since the parade starts at 9 a.m. where it’s (the) hottest time of the day. Even seasoned festival street dancers complained about the new route…,” he said.

If events would be held at the SRP, he said this would require the presence of more ambulances and medical personnel, who were trained to handle cases of heat stroke, and they should be visible along the parade route and the performance area.

“If it rains the venue where the stage performance area is located is MUDDY, and the wind or sea breeze would also affect the performance of the dancers and (the) management of props especially 3D backdrops would be difficult to manipulate during presentation of the contingents,” he said.

Another concern is the presence of amenities and infrastructure like clean toilets, restaurants, refreshment areas, tents and event bleachers that could accommodate thousands of spectators.

Organizers, according to Ballesteros, must also be able to provide a parking that is within walking distance from the venue.

“SRP is still the best alternative venue for future Sinulog activities, but not this time. Maybe, in the future, where all necessities in holding big events and festivals like (the) Sinulog are already in place,” he said.


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TAGS: Cebu City, Cebu Daily News, cebu news, Grand Parade, SFI, Sinulog Festival, SRP, venue
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