Memos from Asia

Sinulog Festival: A Religious Party in Cebu, Philippines

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If you are a Christian looking for a fun religious celebration, or just a person who enjoys week-long festivities, then Cebu City in January is the right place for you.

Cebu City is the capital of Visayas, one of the three major regions in the Philippines.

Every third Sunday of January, the city celebrates the Santo Niño (Baby Jesus) Festival or commonly known as the Sinulog Festival.

During this time, the streets of Cebu are filled with decorations, music, dancing, and over a million tourists from all over the country and around the world.

History of the Sinulog Festival

The Sinulog Festival is a celebration to remember the Santo Nino being handed to Rajah Humabon by Ferdinand Magellan in 1521. Magellan was a Portuguese explorer who discovered the Philippines and introduced Christianity to the country.

Cebu City , The Philippines – January 20, 2019: Street dancers in vivid colorful costumes participate in the parade at the Sinulog Festival.

Highlights of the Sinulog Festival

On the Sunday of Sinulog, devotee Christians wake up early to join the fluvial parade.

This parade starts from the Basilica Minore de Sto. Niño. It then travels the waters by boat to reach the St. Joseph Parish in Mandaue City.

It is a joyful gathering to recall how the Spaniards reached and introduced Christianity to the country. But even if you are not a Christian or a Filipino, this momentous reenactment will still be a joy to watch.

Cebu City, Philippines – January 16, 2016: Solemn Procession in the streets of Cebu City with the parade float of the Santo Niño during Sinulog Festival.
Every January boats abound the Mactan straight relishing in the festivities of the young Jesus

After the celebration in the waters, the streets light up next, as the Sinulog Grand Parade begins.

The city streets are temporarily closed to give way to dynamic dances paired with colorful costumes prepared by the locals.

Its flamboyant artistry is comparable to Rio Carnival.

Cebu City , The Philippines – January 20, 2019: Street dancers in vivid colorful costumes participate in the parade at the Sinulog Festival.

After the grand parade ends, the memorable night parties begin.

Cebu City is known to host exciting night parties on a normal weekend. Imagine how much fun it gets during the city’s biggest festival.

There are more things to do in Cebu during the festival week. You can spend a few days sightseeing and food-tripping.

So, start packing up and prepare to join merriments on the 3rd week of January!

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