Sinulog Mardi Gras in Cebu is considered one of the grandest festivals in the country held every third Sunday of January. This annual cultural usually attracts around 1 to 2 million festival-goers who want to witness and pay homage to the patron saint of Cebu, Señor Santo Niño.
Aside from the festival, the celebration is also famed for its street parties. The festivity highlights the grand street parade, which often lasts for 12 hours, with different contingents coming from different places of the country. This is a very big event and the Cebu City government is adamant in imposing regulations and restrictions during the celebration. Cebu City Mayor Tommy Osmeña keeps reminding everyone to maintain an orderly conduct during the celebration proper.
There will be a longer parade come Sinulog 2018 as the government is expecting more contingents to join. Councilor Dave Tumulak, the executive chairman of next year’s Sinulog, said there are more than 30 contingents in their initial list, less than 10 of which are from out of town, such as Panglao, Kidapawan, Catbalogan, Samar, Dumaguete, Abuyog, Bais City Negros, and Pamplona Negros. The city government planned the parade to start early in order to finish the presentation in the afternoon. The government also set a deadline date, December 15, 2017, for accepting participants in the Sinulog parade. The devotees will expect Sinulog 2018 parade to be longer than last year, Tumulak said.
The city government promised no compromise once they start activating their policies to ensure a safe and orderly celebration of Sinulog next year. Tumulak even reminded business owners how they would have to renew their business permits in January, adding that observing Sinulog rules would be one of the factors to consider during the renewal process.
Mayor Osmeña drafted an executive order about the regulation of business establishments and vendors operating during Sinulog 2018. The EO requires that shows, performances, concerts, events, gigs, recitals, parties on the street, as well as placing big and loud speakers on the street and other devices not be allowed within the 300-meter radius from the parade and procession routes from January 19 to 21, 2018.
The city mayor also stressed that the vendors must apply for registration with city hall for proper identification and regulation. Councilor Tumulak also added the city hall will be issuing identification cards with security code to all qualified vendors. The regulation will be implemented during the start of novena masses on January 11, 2018 until the grand parade on January 21, 2018.
Under the executive order, there is also a liquor ban from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on January 21, the day of the Sinulog festivity. This will be a different scenario compared to the past years, when thousands of partygoers are flooding the streets. In this upcoming Sinulog celebration, major parties will be transferred to the South Road Properties, as per the city council resolution.
Those who would be caught violating these prohibitions would be taken to the detention cells in Kaohsiung buses along Gen. Maxilom Ave. and Juana Osmeña St., among other areas all over the city.
SRP is a place far from the route of the parade route so there will be no interference or obstruction when the grand parade will start. Mayor Osmeña said that vendors selling alcoholic beverages and business establishments during the festivity can do so at SRP, which is roughly 8km away from the Sinulog parade route. It will be a designated area for other events and major parties as well in an effort to divert the crown from downtown to the SRP area. This policy for next year is being supported by the Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) director Ricky Ballesteros. He said this well enable protection and safety for the contingents and guests during the Sinulog celebration.
On the other hand, Councilor Tumulak said there will be no more major parties within the perimeter of Fuente Osmeña Circle during the festival. This place will be totally a selfe spot, according to him, or a tourist spot for visitors and guests. The circle will be well-decorated to create the ultimate Sinulog atmosphere and spirit. For the past years, Fuente Osmeña Circle has been the usual place for Pasko sa Sugbo event every December, but lately it has been moved to the Plaza Independencia, too.
Do’s and Don’ts
There are pertinent reminders to note during the celebration.
- Do wear comfortable apparels and footwear. Never wear heels as the celebration entails a lot of walking.
- Do wear light colored clothes and loose-fitting tops. Avoid wearing dark colored clothes and jeans because it absorbs more heat.
- Don’t forget to hydrate yourself with water and not drink too much alcohol.
- Do enjoy the festivities within groups or at least with a buddy at all times.
- Don’t forget to agree on a safe meeting spot when one of you get lost or in case of network shutdown.
- For parents, do keep an eye on your kids at all times. For precaution, let then wear an ID with your contact details in case they get lost.
- Don’t bring valuables. Leave unnecessary things at home and bring what is only essential.
Do be ready for an entire day of wandering around the city.