After several years of being on a subdued scale, the world-famous Sinulog Festival will be roaring back in a very grand way on the 15th of January 2023. Cities and towns in Cebu province that will be participating in the dance parade will have a hefty subsidy up for grabs that totals PHP 1.6 million. With this additional help, local officials are committing to having the Sinulog Festival on a grander scale.
Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia already highlighted that the participating municipalities and cities under her jurisdiction will receive a total of Php 800,000 from the province. She acknowledges that the Cebu City government also promised to give Php 800,000 to each participating contingent — a huge jump from the Php 150,000 that City Hall used to provide to each contingent in the last staging of the Sinulog Festival. Garcia was the one who announced the province’s subsidy on the 29th of December via Sugbo News — the online news portal of the Cebu provincial government.
Cebu: All for one, one for all
The theme for 2023’s Sinulog Festival was also announced in a memorandum sent by Garcia addressed to all local chief executives in the province. Thus inviting them to join in on the “One Cebu Island” Sinulog festivity. The organizers have expressed their commitment to making this year’s celebration grander in scale as it is now freed from being subdued and mainly online like the past years under COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
The deadline to submit intent to join in was set on the 2nd of January wherein local governments must decide if they are sending a contingent to the Mardi Gras-like event for the week-long Sinulog Festival The participants will be the secular counterpart of the Catholic Church’s Feast of Señor Sto. Niño (Child Jesus), which is celebrated every third Sunday of January. There have always been millions of religious pilgrims and revellers that swoop into the venue since the Sinulog Festival began.
Chair of the Sinulog Foundation, Incorporated (SFI), Elmer Labella met with Garcia on the 27th of December to discuss the details of the upcoming festival in honour of the Sto. Nino or the Child Jesus.
Details were made known during the meeting that Labella that Cebu City government will be able to give subsidies to the contingents joining the festivities. Garcia then responded to this generosity with an equal offer to contribute subsidies as well to the participating localities within the Cebu province. Garcia added that the province will also extend additional financial assistance to SFI for the staging of the Sinulog — where it was acknowledged that it was one of the grandest festivals held in the country.
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Change of venue for the 2023’s festival
Back in 2020, the province provided Php 3 million to SFI and Php 5 million in 2021. This year, Garcia said that the province will extend another Php 12 million as assistance to SFI.
The grand parade of The One Cebu Island Sinulog 2023 will be changing its venue for the first time. This will be at the South Road Properties, Cebu City’s newest commercial hub which is built out of a city-developed 300-hectare reclamation area.
In the past, the festival was held at the city’s main thoroughfares — mainly along Osmeña Boulevard, with the final staging held at the midtown’s Cebu City Sports Center.
Indeed, despite the change of venue, the festival still successfully highlights some of the most creative, innovative and colourful displays of pomp and pageantry — definitely a welcome burst of optimism, hope and joy with the participants in bright costumes dancing to the rhythm of drums, trumpets and native gongs. This has brought Cebu’s Sinulog among the top three festivals as well in Asia.
Mark your calendar, everyone! This will truly be one of the year’s events that will be one of the most remarkable to keep in your family’s memories. After all, experiencing the spirit of Sinulog is refreshing to the sense and the soul. Comment down below if this is also one of your favourite Philippine festivals. Simply pipe in if you have another festival in mind, too.