Suspension of Disbelief

Sinulog: Cebu’s pride and honor

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VERA Files and Yahoo Philippines / 17 January 2011



Last Sunday morning in Cebu, the sun shone brightly complementing the high energy being felt on the ground.

A little rainfall served to cool the atmosphere a bit.

As early as six in the morning spectators started to gather along the route of the parade — the main streets of Cebu and in Fuente Osmeña Circle.

And as the day progressed, more and more spectators lined up along the streets for vantage position to watch  the  performances from about 50 contingents competing, 24 floats from media organizations, different products and services, 37 puppeteers from students, companies and individuals and the 24 higante (giant) models.

It was the grand event in Cebu’s Sinulog festival celebrated every third Sunday of  January.

Sinulog is a Cebuano word that means “like water current movement;” the term describes the forward and backward movement of the Sinulog dance. The dance consists of two steps forward and one step backward, done to the sound made by the accompanying band.

The highlight is the  grand parade and competition in the main streets of Cebu and in Fuente Osmeña Circle.

The main judging of each contingent took place at the Cebu City Sports Complex. For the street dance competition, judges were scattered along the path of the grand parade.  Contingents  stopped and performed their street dance routine along the way.

There were two different categories for the main Sinulog dance competition; the Sinulog-based, which is the traditional dance, and the free interpretation, which allows the participants their own interpretation of what was relevant to Sinulog.

One contingent performed a wedding- inspired number. Almost a hundred dancers swayed at each other portraying an image of provincial matrimonial ceremonies.

Another contigent danced  the Indonesian Papuan tribal war dance. They were a sight to behold and the performance breathtaking.

A teacher in Mambaling Elementary School of Mambaling, Cebu City, whose contingent participated in the free interpretation category, said that they have been rehearsing as early as November for this momentous event, and mid-December, they rehearsed from Friday until Sunday.

“We asked the students to come to the school as early as two in the morning to do one more run through of our performance and to finish their make-up, in time for the six in the morning call time of the contingents,”she said.

Their street performance was one of the most applauded as the students, grades four to six, danced in high energy, smiling widely.

The Tribu Sinanduloy of Tangub City, who has been winning the top spot for two years in the Sinulog-based category, was back, in a prayer dance. Almost half of their dancers were first timers consisting of high school and college students.

Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said Cebu deserves to be called Festival Island.

The festival has come a long way since the first Sinulog parade in 1980 when David Odilao, then Regional Director of Sports and Youth Development, assembled a group of students and dressed them as moromoro and learned the Sinulog dance with the beat of the drums.

The winners for this year’s event:

Sinulog-based category:
1st – Culturang Placereño of Placer, Masbate (P1 million)
2nd — Tribu Sinanduloy of Tangub City (P500,000)
3rd — Carcar City (P300,000)
4th — Sta. Catalina of Negros Oriental (P200,000)
5th — Abellana National High School (P100,000)

Free interpretation:
1st – Tribu Lingganay of Alang-alang, Leyte (P1 million)
2nd – Tribu Himag-ulaw of Placer, Masbate (P500,000)
3rd – Karatong Festival of Dulag, Leyte (P300,000)
4th – Lumad Basakanon of Barangay Basak San Nicolas (P200,000)
5th – Toledo National Vocational School (P100,000)

Best in street dance:
1st — Carcar City (P1 million)
2nd — Tribu Sinanduloy of tangub City (P500,000)
3rd — Culturang Placereño (P300,000)

Best in float:
1st — International Pharmaceuticals Inc.
2nd — M. Lhuillier
3rd — Rose Pharmacy

Puppeteer category:
1st — Angelique Mae Aranas
2nd — Giovanni Abos
3rd — University of Cebu Main Animation

Higante Category:
1st — Arnulfo Enjambre


(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”)


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