It’s that time of the year again when the Queen City of the South rocks the nation with its yearly Sinulog Festival; easily the biggest, most colorful, most patronized, and most aped festival in the country, which has been running for the past three and a half decades.
The festival easily evokes images of multiple street dancing contingents, fanciful props, live concerts, interesting photo exhibits, cultural shows, and processions as the city erupts into nonstop merrymaking for a month-long celebration of the Child Jesus known locally as the Señor Santo Niño.
But more than just grandiose concerts, contests, and concoctions galore, the religious aspects cannot be over-emphasized as the very roots of the festival actually took place over five centuries ago when Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi gifted Filipino chieftain Rajah Humabon and Queen Juana with the Holy Image of the Child Jesus, thus setting the roots of Christianity all over the country.
From a simple dance routine consisting of a dozen or so school contingents parading around the Abellana National School Quadrangle in 1981, the festival has slowly evolved into an all-out extravaganza with as many as 70 dance contingents nationwide swaying throughout the city’s main thoroughfares nonstop in honor of the Señor Santo Nino every third Sunday of January.
Win or lose, the dance contingents seemingly couldn’t care less despite the millions of pesos and sacrifices for props, fees, costumes, transportation, and provisions as long as they represented their locality or entity with pride.
A vast majority of them always come back the following year, determined to slug it out again despite the escalating expenses. Diehard followers of the festival can’t help but marvel at the new costumes and gigantic props year after year as the choreographers somehow discover novel concepts to work on.
While Sinulog 2017 may just turn out to be the shortest and least crowded in years due to cutbacks in festival events and contingent participation, it remains to be seen whether crowd size is affected in general, or if the frenzy remains at a feverish pitch.
Whatever your fancy, there is sure to be a handful of events to your liking in the Sinulog schedule of activities. See you at the parties!
By RICHARD RAMOS