Celebrations of faith, dancing, bounty

By: Doris C. Bongcac, Jose Santino S. Bunachita January 18,2015 - 10:35 AM


The carroza of the Sto. Nino passes M.J. Cuenco Avenue in Saturday's foot procession. The feast of the Child Jesus is celebrated today coinciding with the Sinulog Grand Parade and street dancing competition. (CDN PHOTO/ CHRISTIAN MANINGO)

The carroza of the Sto. Nino passes M.J. Cuenco Avenue in Saturday’s foot procession. The feast of the Child Jesus is celebrated today coinciding with the Sinulog Grand Parade and street dancing competition. (CDN PHOTO/ CHRISTIAN MANINGO)

Don’t forget to bring umbrellas today –- and extra energy.

Rainshowers won’t stop the Sinulog grand parade in Cebu City which kicks off at 9 a.m.with  44 dance contingents, 40 floats and 33 ”higantes” competing for cash prizes and public acclaim.

For the 35th year of Cebu’s biggest festival, the dance competition is expected to be a “battle of champions” with out-of-town contingents from Leyte and Masbate prepared to defend  or recover their titles.

No vehicles are allowed along the entire carousel route of the parade which leads to the Cebu City Sports Complex for the main performances.

That means people have to walk for the most part in the heart of Cebu City : Fuente Osmeña, Osmeña Boulevard, P. del Rosario Street, New Imus Road, Gen. Maxilom Avenue.

Storm signal number 1 was raised in far north Cebu yesterday due to tropcial storm Amang, with light to moderate rain forecast in the morning but this doesn’t bother organizers.

It has typically been rainy during Sinulog parades with on and off drizzles that keep the day cool for dancers and thousands of spectators who will crowd the streets to get a good look as the parade.

“The weather remains okay.  In Palo, Leyte it was signal number 2 but Pope Francis still officiated Mass. Let’s wait and see.

Unless there’s major weather developments,  the Sinulog parade will go on,” said Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) executive director Ricky Ballesteros said.

This year’s parade has 44 dance contingents compared to 36 last year, a number affected by supertyphoon Yolanda in November 2013.

The struggle to get back on their feet after Yolanda will be a central theme in  performances of  Abuyog and Alangalang towns in Leyte province.
Thanksgiving and praise to the Creator for blessings received will be another key theme of dance contingents competing for a P1 million cash prize and the honor of being declared champion of the Cebu Sinulog festival.



By 7 p.m.  fireworks will cap a grand finale that will have seven Cebuana beauty queens on stage joining a cast of 1,000 dancers.

A poignant performance will be the participation of Rizzini Gomez, Mutya ng Pilipinas International 2012.

Rizzini, who has lung cancer, flew in from the United States to join her fellow pageant winners, said Ballesteros.

Being able to dance the sinulog in honor of the Senor Sto. Nino is considered by Catholic faithful to be a form of prayer and thanksgiving.

Also expected to join the finale are Kris Tiffany Janson, Miss Intercontinental second runner up.

Seven Reynas ng Aliwan, who won national awards for their beauty, skill and grace as lead sinulog dancers from 2009 to 2014 will be dancing, said Ballesteros.

Rizzini was Reyna ng Aliwan in 2010 .

Others are Elizabeth Maynard (Reyna ng Aliwan 2009), Rogelie Catacutan (2011) and Angeli Dione Gomez (2012), who was also crowned Miss Tourism International in 2013.

Miss Earth 2014 Jamie Herrell, who was crowned Reyna ng Aliwan in 2013 and also won Sinulog Festival Queen 2013, will be part of the event.

Also dancing are Reyna ng Aliwan 2014 Stefi Rose Aberasturi, who also won as Sinulog Festival Queen in 2011, and Kris Tiffany Janson, who was crowned Binibining Pilipinas Intercontinental 2014 and won Miss Cebu in 2009.

“They dance gracefully, they are beautiful and they are a role models,” Ballesteros said.

They were chosen for having brought pride to the city over the past years, he said.


The main event is the dance showdown, with crowds looking forward to the presentations of out-of-town “tribes” or dance troupes.

Towns of Abuyog and Alangalang towns in Leyte province will mark their comeback by recounting how they survived supertyphoon Yolanda.

Alangalang won the championship in the 2012 and 2013 Free Interpretation (FI) category while Abuyog town’s “dancing bees” won the Free Interpretation category in 2009.

Kent Jefflord Guillermo, Alangalang town coordinator, said they st Two entries from Masbate province – Tribu Himag-ulaw and Kulturang Placereño –  joined the grand parade despite damage incurred from typhoon Ruby which hit  last month.

Placer Mayor Joshur Judd Lanete II said they will be showing their “most ambitious” presentation.

“We are taking a lot of risks because I want to push them (the troupe)  further,” he said.

Kulturang Placereño was named champion in the Sinulog Based (SB) category of the 2014 Sinulog parade while Tribu Himag-ulaw was first runner up to Tribu Lumad Basakanon in last year’s Free Interpretation (FI) category.

High public interest will be focused on nine out-of-town contingents.

They come from Panglao town in Bohol province, Tangub City in Misamis Occidental, Lanao del Norte, North Cotabato and Catbalogan town in Samar province.

Ballesteros said the Tribu Sinanduloy contingent of Tangub City that placed second place in 2014 is returning with a “totally different concept.”

“It’s going to be an exciting Sinulog,” he told Cebu Daily News.

The pressure is on Lumad Basakanon of barangay Basak San Nicolas in Cebu City, title holder for the Free Interpretation category.

Cash prizes this year were increased for second and third placers.

First prize remains P1 million each category.

Second place winners will now receive P500,000 while the third placer will get P300,000.

Sinulog Foundation organizers are raising P40 million to P45 million to fund this year’s parade competition. About P25 million will be subsidized by the Cebu city government.

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