The Sinulog Legacy

The Sinulog festival was initiated by the government to pay homage to a pagan ritual being done by Cebuanos, then and now, as a way of worshiping and praying for the intercession of Santo Niño de Cebú. Yet where did the dance that sparked the largest festival in the country today started? Two steps forward and one step backward, imitating the sulog or waves while waving a candle or an image of the Santo Niño. An ancient pagan ritual merged with Catholic beliefs—a form of syncretic Filipino folk Catholicism.

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The Musicality, Choreography and Costume of Sinulog, Ati-Atihan and Dinagyang

Eversince I settled in the Visayas, I was exposed to these big festivals that the Visayans are very proud of. Reflecting its laid back yet devoted populace, the January festivities attract spectators by the millions…all in the name of Señor Santo Niño or the Holy Christ Child. Here’s the thing though on what I’ve observed on these big Santo Niño festivals when it comes to musicality, costumes and choreography. Each of them, unique in a way…well, in my observation.
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Experiencing Aliwan Fiesta!

Last Saturday was my first Aliwan experience. Yup, the festival of Philippine festivals showdown in our nation’s capital has put the bayside of Manila into a halt as country’s premiere festivals converge to bring out the best out of celebrating the Filipino culture. The country’s grandest festivities compete here for the one million pesos prize and prestige.

Together with Eric of, Marcos of, Alvin and the rest of my barkada, we’ve witnessed street dancing and power presentations in Manila setting. It made me think and feel that I was home. The beating of the drums and festive atmosphere despite the heat of the afternoon (that turned into a wet and wild party in the evening due to summer rain). Continue reading Experiencing Aliwan Fiesta!

1 Step Backward, 2 Steps Forward: The Sinulog of Cebu

Watching the previous Sinulog performances on Youtube, it makes me realize that time passes by so fast. Its been 2 years since I have my first taste of Cebu’s grandest festival in honor of the Holy Child or Santo Nino de Cebu.

I think I already discussed a short history on how the Santo Nino de Cebu came here in our country so I won’t get deep with it in this post.

Since the Spanish colonial era, as some historical accounts would say, Filipinos, particularly Cebuanos and the Visayans, flock to Cebu City every year paying homage to the miraculous image that was given by Magellan to the rulers of Cebu almost five centuries ago. As if Cebu is somewhat like a Mecca for the devotees of the Santo Nino.

The image is enshrined in the Basilica, but before you reach it, try observing some people outside the church…and all of a sudden a woman with candles will approach you and say “Pa-Sinulog ka dong/day?” Yes amigos y amigas, these women are the original Sinulog dancers.

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April 2011
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