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The Sights and Sounds of Cebu's Sinulog

Jan 13 - 19 | Cebu City

Sinulog is a dance ritual in honor of the miraculous image of the Santo Niņo. The dance moves two steps forward and one step backward to the sound of the drums. This movement resembles the current (Sulog) of what was known as Cebu's Pahina River. Thus, in Cebuano, they say it's Sinulog.

Cebu's "Sinulog" is a cornucopia of movement, sound, color, and pageantry. This festival traces its roots to a fervent attachment to the image by many of Cebu's inhabitants; the ritual dance evolved from the elders' rhytmic movements while praying at the image's sanctuary, a beautiful church edifice near Cebu's waterfront.

The merrymaking draws believers and unbelievers alike. Thus, there is something for everyone: a pilgrimmage that is joined by thousands of faithful, and earthly entertainment for many more. Perhaps the outpouring of humanity will convince doubters and the fencesitters to see the light. On the other hand, the most ardent of believers can abandon the faith: the crass commercialism, the reckless abandon, and acts of vandalism.

The sinulog is the most visible and most attended of the fiesta performing expressions. This street drama performance showcases in dance and mime the battle between San Miguel and Lusbel (Lucifer), as narrated in catechetical legend.

The sinulog is performed along the overcrowded avenues and side-streets of Iligan andin all sense presents the triumph of the good over evil.

Sinulog dance is based on the movement of the river current, hence the dancers move with wave-like movement. People converge along the route of a grand procession and partake in the gaiety amidst a Mardi Gras parade and immersed in wild colors and the constant beating of drums to the yells of "Pit Senor!"

In 1981, when the Sinulog Project was started by the Cebu City government, the sinulog dance became the pervading theme of teh cultural celebration and has remained so to this day.

The preparations for the Sinulog have spawned other activities which in themselves have become yearly events. An example of this is the putting up of decors on the faacades of stores and buildings where the parade passes by and has become a symbol of the advent feast.

Photos courtesy of Anton Sheker
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The Philippine Basketball Association is Asia's premier and the world's second oldest professional league.
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The kalesa or karitela is a horse-driven carriage that was introduced during the 18th century. It was used by Spanish officials and the nobles as a means of transportation. [more]
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