FOR THOSE who have just been initiated into the phenomenon that is the Sinulog, the entire celebration is marked by Traslacion Friday (when the Holy Family is completed in a ritual that removed the real Patron Saint of Cebu, the Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe from her church and the Sto. Niño from the Basilica to join St. Joseph at his namesake National Shrine in Mandaue); Procession Saturday (the solemn foot parade when the original Balaang Bata is paraded once a year on the streets), Sinulog Sunday (the mardi gras-style celebration now infamous for its bacchanalia and slew of street parties), Hangover Monday and, well, Back-To-Reality Tuesday.
After covering the celebrations live for around five years on live television (with the 7 a.m. call time and 9 p.m. wrap), I now keep my schedule free on Sinulog weekends so I can play the perfect host for friends and family who fly in.
This year, my Manila-based goddaughter Mariah and her friends experienced the Sinulog for the first time, including a most random night of partying with the FOX TV Crew (thank you for letting us tag along, Charo Espedido and Stanz Catalan!), where the younglings got to experience Ibiza Beach Club’s OH SHIP! beachfront EDM scene, lounging on the club’s hammocks suspended over the water.
“And you get to do this all the time?” the bright young things asked. Yes, I could only reply, sipping my Manny O white wine, sent over by Manman Osmeña.
After pre-game in Movenpick, we made our way to CICC for Plus63 featuring Steve Angello of Swedish House Mafia.
We were all raving about the chic air-conditioned portalets complete with scented oils and a mirror to check if your eyebrow game was still strong at 2 a.m., right when the VIP rafters were filling up quick for the celebrity DJ’s set.
On Sunday, I joined the IPI float for the fourth year in a row. Although I generally kept to the vicinity of the backup float where the party music was at (it really does help you forget the heat and the kilometers to go, as would fervent prayer a day before in the foot parade, but that’s another story altogether), I ogled at this year’s piece de resistance: a giant octopus with mechanical arms that flayed on cue as it sprawled in front of the main float. The marine life-themed float, always one to look out for every year, and closely guarded in the IPI clubhouse where it is constructed and kept from prying eyes, won for IPI the first place this year, which called for more jubilation.
Meanwhile, I am happy to note that this year’s Hermano and Hermana Mayor, traditionally the hosts of the fiesta, are a couple I have always loved. Congratulations to tito Mario and tita Haydee King of, as their daughter Golda puts it, the Banawa Kings for this singular honor.
I was privy to their hectic schedule that began at the crack of dawn on most days because their glam squad, Team Vanessa Gamus, lives right next door to me. Those were such inventive outfits for each day, with my favorites being the modern ternos for the first one, and the nautical dresses for the Fluvial Parade. Proudly Filipino with a world-class outlook, my kind of swag, really.
As we trawl the social networks for the consequences of decadence for this year’s celebration, we also look forward to next year. And, yes, a special thank you to the men and women of Cebu City who were put to work right when everyone was crawling back home to keep the city spic and span on Monday morning.
No dame cleans up like you do, Cebu.