Sinulog off to a good start
Launching parade draws 10,000 spectators
The sun was out and the parade proceeded without a hitch.
Police said no untoward incidents were reported despite the large crowd of 10,000 spectators who came to watch the opening salvo of Sinulog 2016 yesterday.
“It’s a very good start. It is indicative of a more joyful, more jubilant Sinulog in the days to come,” said acting Mayor Edgardo Labella.
“As you can see, we have good weather. I expect people to behave and focus more on the religious side of Sinulog, but we should also have fun. After all, it’s still a festival,” he added.
Suspended mayor Michael Rama, as chairman of festival organizer Sinulog Foundation, Inc., declared the festival open after the 2:30 p.m. Mass at the Basilica del Sto. Niño.
The launching parade, held immediately after the Mass, started outside the basilica and proceeded to make its way around Fuente Osmeña before finally reaching the Cebu City Sports Complex.
Fourteen schools in colorful international costumes participated in the parade.
“This is in line with the International Eucharistic Congress (IEC). Sinulog is already global (and) very popular in other countries,” Sinulog Foundation executive director Ricky Ballesteros said.
Police Inspector Jose Gesto, overall commander of the kick-off security force, said 320 policemen were deployed in the streets and inside the sports complex. Some 85 traffic enforcers were also deployed.
Gesto said the parade was “generally peaceful,” although traffic was bumper-to-bumper and slow-moving in affected areas. Osmeña Blvd., from the basilica to Fuente Osmeña, was closed for the parade.
In his homily during the Mass, Msgr. Roberto Alesna encouraged the devotees to emulate the leper who was not afraid of being healed by Jesus.
He also said the declaration of the Jubilee Year of Mercy until November this year is a challenge for everyone to show mercy and compassion to the marginalized sectors of society.
Aside from Rama and Labella, others who attended the Mass were city councilors and members of the Sinulog Foundation.
Boy scouts and girl scouts carrying Philippine flags led the parade. This year’s Miss Cebu candidates together with last year’s winners joined the parade on board a Rubicon Wrangler Jeep.
The participating schools were Abellana National High School, University of the Visayas, Cebu Institute of Technology University, Cebu Normal University, Mandaue City Science High School, University of San Carlos, Cebu Doctors’ University, University of Cebu, University of Southern Philippines Foundation, Indiana Aerospace University, Mandaue City College, University of San Jose- Recoletos, Salazar College of Science and Institute and Cebu Technological University.
The highlight of the event was the Unity Dance, where everybody danced to the new Sinulog song “Celebrate Sinulog.”
A 30-second fireworks display capped the kick-off ceremonies.
Meanwhile, the Sinulog sa Kabataan – Lalawigan street dancing competition will be held today.
Nine schools will participate in the competition (please see table), which will start at the Capitol and go down to the Cebu City Sports Complex.
The Sinulog sa Kabataan – Dakbayan will be held tomorrow, with 10 contingents.
“Although gamay ra atong contingents pero quality contingents ni sila tanan (There are few contingents, but they are quality contingents),” Ballesteros said.
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