Only in the Philippines # 1: SINULOG!

Posted by aBEE M. on 2/12/2011 01:01:00 AM in
I have decided to add a new topic to my blog, and it is exactly what the title imposes. ONLY IN THE PHILIPPINES ... These are events, things, people, customs and everything else that you can find, only in the Philippines. There are many unique customs and events here in my country that may either leave you in awe or shock you to the very core and I want to share every single one with you starting with Sinulog. 

Sinulog is an event celebrated every third Sunday of January as the feast of  Sto. Niño (Child Jesus)  in Cebu. People all around the world, both Foreign and Balikbayans (Locals working/living abroad) flock the streets of Cebu to celebrate this fiesta and show their devotion to the Sto. Niño. As of the origin, Historians say that even before the conquest of Spain, natives have already danced the Sinulog in honor of their wooden idols and anitos. Then, Ferdinand Magellan came and introduced Christianity to the natives (of which a certain Rajah Humabon and his wife Amihan, later Queen Juana after her baptism, along with 800 of their subjects were all converted to Christians). Historians now say that during the 44 years between the coming of Magellan and Legaspi, the natives continued to dance the Sinulog. These time, however, they danced it no longer to worship their native idols but a sign of reverence to the Santo Niño, which is now enshrined at the San Agustin Church (renamed Basilica Minore del Santo Niño).

 The Altar at Basilica Minore del Santo Niño

An image of the Santo Niño

Although the event is often celebrated with blue skies and sunshine (thanks to the prayers of the  Carmelite Sisters and a handful donation of eggs) this year, was not as lucky (which people state: "the government forgot to donate the eggs") as evidenced by the sudden downpour of rain for the whole week. But, Rain or Shine, people donned their trusty umbrellas and celebrated anyway. 

Cebuanos and non-Cebuanos alike –pay tribute, give thanks and offer petitions to the Child Jesus, or Santo Niño. On January 15, 2011, Saturday, starting at 1:30 p.m., devotees will gather in the Basilica del Santo Niño and pray the rosary as they walk in solemn procession before the image ofthe Holy Child. This will end at 6:00 in the same place where it began. This is symbolic of the very essence of Sinulog – that everything that God has given us can only be offered to Him in return.

My Family and I started the celebration with the procession, which happened on Saturday (the day before Sinulog) The rain was horrible at that time. The streets were flooded and even though people were half-soaked, we eventually reached the end feeling light hearted (on my part, it felt like all my sins were lifted from my shoulder... Thank God) Sunday came, we started the day with Mass, and then strutted off to the main road to join in with the dancing. As always, the participants never fail to surprise me. Every year, they come up with the coolest costumes, floats and props. These are some of the pictures I took for Sinulog 2011.

I love the whole Beehive idea
Dancer Bees carrying their flower prop
a picture of one of the festival queens
One of the Contingents 

love the costumes: its like a cross between Spanish and the Natives
Winner of the Float Competition: IPI. They had the whole Avatar thing going on.

like I said, RAIN or shine...

Although the parade is only for one day, it doesn't mean, Sinulog is only celebrated on this particular day. It starts 2-3 weeks before this parade. I'm talking about Cebu Night Life parties with local bands performing, Mr. & Ms. Cebu Competitions, Barbecue in the streets, singing contests, Sinulog dance competitions and many more. Sinulog is definitely one of the events you shouldn't miss. It blends culture, tradition and beliefs. Truly, Only in the Philippines.

For more information about the history, events, participants and anything about Sinulog, visit

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