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The 2007 Sinulog Festival in the Queen City of the South


Sinulog Background

“Sinulog is a dance ritual in honor of the miraculous image of the Santo Niño. The dance moves two steps forward and one step backward to the sound of the drums.”

The word Sinulog is a Visayan term to the local dance that follows the rhythm of the river flow (Sulog). It has come down in history as the enduring native expression of prayer bridging the pagan years and Christian era today.

Historical accounts say that before Portuguese navigator came to Cebu on April 7,1521 to plant the cross on its shore and claim the country for the King of Spain, Sinulog was already danced by the natives in honor of their wooden idols and anitos. Then Magellan came, introduced Christianity and converted 800 natives in the island along with its rulers. He gave the Santo Niño (image of the Child Jesus ) as baptismal gift to Hara Amihan, wife of Rajah Humabon (Cebu’s chieftain), who was later named Queen Juana. Shortly after the conversion, Magellan fought the reigning ruler of Mactan, Rajah Lapu-lapu, with only a handful of men. He died in the encounter dating April 27, 1521.

The remnants of Magellan's men however were able to return to Spain to report the incident and the possibility of conquest. It took 44 years before a new group came and started the formal Christianization of the islands. Miguel Lopez de Legaspi arrived in Cebu on April 28, 1565. They bombarded the village and in one of the burning huts, one of his soldiers named Juan Camus found the image of the Santo Niño in a wooden box lying side by side with the native idols.
Historians say that in between years of the coming of Magellan and Legaspi, the natives continued to dance the Sinulog. By this time, they danced not to worship their native idols but to signify their reverence to the Santo Niño, now enshrined at the San Agustin Church (renamed Basilica Minore del Santo Niño).

Through the years since 1521, the dance was a small ritual danced by a few in front of the Santo Niño. At the Santo Niño Church where the image is consecrated, only the candle vendors could be seen dancing the Sinulog and making offerings. During the Santo Niño fiesta, which falls on the third Sunday of January, children dressed moro-moro costumes also dance the Sinulog. This was really no big event for Cebu City.

It was in 1980 when David S. Odilao, Jr., then Regional Director of the Ministry of Sports and Youth Development (MYSD), organized the first ever Sinulog parade. He gathered a group of students, dressed them up, and taught them how to dance the Sinulog to the beat of the drums. It was just a small parade which went just around the Basilica but it caught the imagination the City of Cebu, which then thought of making the Sinulog, a festival that would rival all other festivals being held yearly in the country.

Under the direction of the Cebu City Mayor Florentino S. Solon and through the help of lawyer Manuel S. Satorre, Jr., Juan B. Aquino Jr., Robert Grimalt and Antonio R. Aseniero, Jr.,Odilao turned over the Sinulog project to the Cebu City Historical Committee under Kagawad Jesus B. Garcia, Jr. Through Garcia's committee, the Sinulog organization came into being. The first task of the organizing committee was the conceptualization of the festival to make it a big event.

The committee came up with the idea of having a Sinulog logo that would identify the event yearly if it was to be institutionalized. The group decided not to use the Santo Niño image itself because it would be a sacrilege so the coat of arms of the Santo Niño was used instead.
The coat of arms of the Santo Niño bears a two- headed hawk, the mark of the House of Hapsburg ( Hapsburg ) in Europe, which then ruled most of the known worlds from the 15th century to 20th century. Spain was under the Hapsburg dynasty when it sent the expeditions across the globe to spread the “Faith” and expand the influence of the dynastic house to unknown lands beyond the oceans.

The royal origin of the Hapsburg started with the ruling family in Austria on 1276 and for centuries until the 20th century the house ruled most of the kingdoms in Europe. The Hapsburg established the Holy Roman Empire in 1452 and reached the height of their power under Charles 1 of Spain (also a Holy Roman Emperor known as Charles VI).The first expedition under Ferdinand Magellan which discovered the Philippines for Spain was sent initially to look for the Spice Island. The second expedition under Miguel Lopez de Legaspi was sent by his son, Philip II who ruled Spain for 42 years from 1556. The Hapsburg rulers continued to hold power until 1700 not only in Spain but also in the colonies under the Spanish regime while the Austrian line of the Hapsburg dynasty also ruled Central Europe until about the same time.

The Hapsburg emblem, now the coat of arms of the Santo Niño, was influential in many kingdoms during that time. Magellan had this emblem in his settlement in 1521, Legaspi carries the same and so do other expeditions by Loaisa, Saavedra and Villalobos. The emblem of the two-headed hawk at the peak of the power of the Hapsburg dynasty represented the twin purpose of the House, which was to stand as "Champion of Catholicism and Defender of the Faith."

With this background, the Sinulog committee used a native warrior's shield on whose face is imprinted the coat of arms of the House of Hapsburg that now represents the Sinulog logo as interpreted by Miss Olive Templa, who coincidentally is a Cebuana. The native shield figure symbolizes the country's continued resistance to colonization. It speaks of the Filipino's readiness to defend the country from all forms of foreign incursion and to resist any move that may endanger the country's self-determination. The coat of arms of the Santo Niño on the face of the shield on the other hand, traditionally symbolizes the country's acceptance of Christianity as it was brought to the settlements in 1521 by European rulers.

Sinulog '81 was then organized. Practically all sectors in the Cebuano community got involved. To distinguish the festival from the popular Ati-atihan Festival in Aklan, the organizers decided to use the parade to depict the history of the Sinulog which, as had been said, is the dance which links the country's pagan pasty and Christian present. Seven floats were created to depict seven different periods of history. Each float was followed by dancers wearing costumes depicting the periods. They all danced with the Sinulog beat. The parade started at 1 P.M. at the Cebu Provincial Capitol and ended about midnight at Fort San Pedro-Plaza Independencia area. The show continued until the wee hours of the morning.

This made Sinulog the country's biggest spectacle. So every year thereafter, the Sinulog parade and activities became bigger and better…

Religious Activities

Fluvial Parade
Wake up at dawn for a greater purpose. Watch the sun rise and silently say a prayer.

Solemn Procession
Thousands of devotee's one purpose: Pray to Senior Sto. Niño

Party and Fun

Grand Parade
The most awaited event of every Cebuano and every other Filipino out there. Get ready for some serious partying for one entire day. Dance to the rhythm of Sinulog and feel its addicting beat.

Sinulog sa Kabataan
Watch young kids dance to the beat of the Sinulog.

Sinulog Nightly Activities & Cultural Shows
Sinulog has a lot more in store for everybody. You think the party ends at night when in fact the party is just beginning. Watch for the nightly activities and cultural shows!


  • Tomas allows students to join Sinulog

    SPECTATORS can look forward to being entertained by young dancers during the grand parade next month after students were allowed to join the Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Dakbayan.

    Sinulog Foundation Inc. executive director Ricky Ballesteros said the mayor allowed public school students to join the festivities provided they do not practice during school hours.

    Sun.Star Network Online's 12th Asean Summit watch

    “I already cleared that with the mayor and he said that it’s okay as long as the students do not miss their classes because they have to practice dancing. We’re happy that they will join kay mas nindot man tanawn kung mga bata ang manayaw,” he told Sun.Star Cebu.

    As of yesterday, five elementary schools and nine high schools registered to join the Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Dakbayan on Jan. 15.

    Another three contingents have so far registered for the Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan on Jan. 14.

    The five winning contingents in both events will automatically be registered to compete in the grand parade on Jan. 21.

    In a separate interview, the mayor’s consultant on education, Joy Augustus Young, warned principals and teachers to simplify their props and costumes to keep down expenses for the Sinulog.

    “Mao ra man gyud na ang condition ni mayor, that there will be no practice during school hours and dili sad palabian ang gasto. Some spend P200,000 to P300,000 just to join and in that case, principals and teachers will no longer be in class because they will be busy raising funds,” Young said.

    Osmeña banned public schools in the city from joining the Sinulog in January 2005 after they got very low scores in the National Achievement Test that year.

    The children were allowed to dance again last year by joining the contingents of their barangays and practicing only on weekends.

    With only a month left before the grand parade, Ballesteros is optimistic they can have more out-of-town contingents this year, if not the same number as last year.

    He was happy to announce that Southwestern University (SWU), the contingent with the highest number of grand prize awards, will be joining the competition next month after skipping the grand parade for several years now.

    With nine grand prizes and 11 awards as runner-up, SWU is the most awarded contingent in the Sinulog’s 27-year history.

    Aside from SWU, the multi-awarded contingent from Tangub City also registered to join the grand parade.

    A contingent from Panglao, Bohol also registered to join the festivity. (LCR)
  • Credits: photos by adlaw
    Btw, here are the pictures of the Sinulog last year:

    Procession & Fluvial Parade

  • Credits: photos by adlaw

    Procession & Fluvial Parade

  • Credits: sugbuanon of Skyscrapercity forums

    General Maxilom Avenue
  • Credits: photos by Farl
  • Credits: slerz of Skyscrapercity forums

    Declaration for Cebu to host the 12th ASEAN Summit

  • Credits: slerz of Skyscrapercity forums

  • Credits: slerz of Skyscrapercity forums

  • Credits: slerz of Skyscrapercity forums

  • Credits: slerz of Skyscrapercity forums

  • Credits: slerz of Skyscrapercity forums

  • Bump for the most-celebrated Philippine festival, Sinulog!
  • Aerial images of the Cebu International Convention Center - 12th ASEAN Summit:

  • 12thASEANLogo.jpg

    12th ASEAN Summit - Cebu, Philippines

    Credits: sugbuanon of Skyscrapercity


  • 12thASEANLogo.jpg

    12th ASEAN Summit - Cebu, Philippines

    Credits: sugbuanon of Skyscrapercity

  • Sinulog ‘doesn’t compete, with the Asean’

    SINULOG 2007 will not be overshadowed by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit.

    This is what two Sinulog officials—Sinulog Foundation Inc. overall chairman Vice Mayor Michael Rama and Executive Director Ricky Ballesteros—promised.

    “Instead, there will be co-existence and complementing,” Rama told reporters yesterday.

    Ballesteros pointed out there were even more spectators during the launching held yesterday, than last year. He also said that balikbayans have started arriving since last December just for the Sinulog, and they are expecting four planeloads of balik-bayans next week, in time for the Jan. 21 fiesta and street-dancing parade.

    Rama also explained that since this year’s Sinulog was launched just as the summit officially commenced, the international meeting will be integrated in the Sinulog festivities.

    During the Cebu City Government’s launching of the 441st Fiesta Señor, groups from different Cebu schools danced the various dances of the Asean-member countries and dialogue partners.

    Ballesteros explained that last year’s launching was dubbed “Sinulog goes Asean” because of Cebu’s hosting of the Southeast Asian games late 2005 and the Asean summit originally scheduled last December.

    This time, the launching was dubbed “Sinulog goes global” and featured unfamiliar steps danced to the familiar Sinulog beat.

    But local festivals were also showcased, including Bantayan’s Palawod festival; Danao City’s Karansa; Argao’s Pitlagong; Alcoy’s Siloy; Minglanilla’s Kabanhawan; Sibonga’s Bonga; Cordova’s Dinagat/Bakasi; and Dumanjug’s Sinanggiyaw.

    Rama officially launched the Sinulog festivities after a mass at the Pilgrim Center of the Basilica del Sto. Niño, officiated by Msgr. Roberto Alesna.

    Immediately after the mass, Rama and the other Sinulog Foundation officials gave away tokens to the basilica candle dancers.
    Rama then led the Cebu City officials and the dancers to a walk towards the Cebu City Sports Complex.

    At the end of the presentation, true to the Sinulog theme of “One dance, one beat, once vision,” the dancers performed “Mabuhi ka Sugbuanon” and “Cebu.” (JGA)
  • sinulog_route.jpg

    Same Old Route for the Sinulog Festival
  • markpaulmarkpaul PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐
    gusto ko ma experience ang SINULOG! :D
  • Credits: Farl and adlaw from flickr.com.


    I am dismayed that pinoyexchange has been used in photo copyright infringement. Inasmuch as I appreciate this thread because it is promoting Sinulog, I would just like to correct the credits that =+cZaRiNa+=- gave to SUGBUANON as the legitimate sources of several pics.

    The pics are mine and adlaw. Both of us post our pics at flickr.com with the usernames Farl and adlaw.

    As proof you can take a look at the link here:

    (you can find the fluvial parade pics posted above in this set)

    - the priest taking a picture during the fluvial

    - the girl w/ a Sto Nino craning her beautiful neck

    - dancers jumping with balls.

    Czarina, kindly tell Sugbuanon to give proper credits to the pics he posted in the Skyscrapercity forum. Those are not his pictures as he just downloaded them from our flickr sets. We don’t have problems with people downloading our pics especially if they are used to promote Cebu, but he cannot assume credit for them.
  • Credits: adlaw from flickr.com.

    Btw, here are the pictures of the Sinulog last year:

    Procession & Fluvial Parade


    these are not SUGBUANON's pics, these are MY PICTURES.

    These pics were posted in my SINULOG 2006 set in flickr.com:

    i have no problem with people downloading my pictures from flickr.com, but they should give credit to me who took them. :bop:
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