MANDAUE CITY, Cebu — The Sinulog grand parade is making a comeback this year after a two year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Aside from having a new venue, which is the South Road Properties (SRP), the Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) has also listed fewer contingents for this year’s grand parade.
Data released by SFI show that only 70 participants will be joining this year’s Sinulog as compared to the 105 participants that joined in 2020 or shortly before lockdowns were implemented due to COVID-19.
Of this year’s participants, only 16 are dancing contingents. Five of them have signed up for the Sinulog Based (SB) category while 11 are joining the Free Interpretation (FI) category.
FI participants include Cebu’s Lumad Basakanons and two out of town contingents: Omega de Salonera of Bucas Grande Island in Surigao del Norte province and Bailes de Luces of La Castellana, Negros Occidental.
Fewer higantes and puppets will also be seen in today’s grand parade.
A total of 10 contingents from Cebu province earlier backed out from this year’s grand parade after they expressed their concern on the safety of their performance due to the very bad state of the grand parade’s venue at the SRP.
The area did not have any shade, power and a dedicated holding area for performers when the contingent from Talisay City did their blocking at the venue at dawn on Thursday, Jan. 12. It was also very muddy due to continuous rains that were experienced in Cebu earlier this week as a result of the low pressure area (LPA).
Governor Gwendolyn Garcia had announced that they would not be joining the Sinulog in Cebu City if its venue would not be returned to the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC.)
READ: Cebu governor on Sinulog at SRP: I wish, pray for event’s success
Garcia said they would instead be joining the Sinulog sa Carmen that was scheduled on Jan. 22.
But Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama insisted that the grand parade would push through at the SRP.
READ: Despite 10 contingents backing out, Rama says we’ll celebrate Sinulog 2023 at SRP
Workers of a private construction firm have been working overtime to make sure that the venue is ready for the grand parade.
Filling materials were poured near the stage before this was asphalted. Work was done while contingents also rehearsed their Sinulog dances the late night on Friday, Jan. 13.
READ: Non-stop work at Sinulog 2023 venue at SRP
As of 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 14, workers were still installing the roof of the grandstand that would be occupied by Sinulog spectators.
But Mayor Rama expressed confidence that everything would be ready by Sunday.
SFI has also been aggressively selling grandstand tickets worth P500 each to those who wanted to watch the Sinulog ritual showdown at the SRP stage.
Today’s Sinulog will start with a Mass at 9 a.m. at the SRP grandstand. The grand parade is scheduled to follow after the Mass.
Sinulog 2023’s grand finale and fireworks display is at 7 p.m.
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