My first Sinulog Fiesta 2019 experience

If you travel in the Philippines and you have the opportunity to attend a Filipino Fiesta in the area you’re visiting, just GO & CELEBRATE! It is an unique and immersive experience that you won’t regret. 

Across the Philippines, cities and regions organise many festivals to celebrate their culture and believes. For example, the Coconut Festival in Laguna, the Panagbenga Flower Festival in Baguio City etc They arevery festive and colourful with parades, music, dance and colourful Filipino costumes!

Last January 2019 I finally had the opportunity to go to Cebu City and attend the Sinulog Festival!

When? It is celebrated every year during the third week of January.

Where? in Cebu City

What? The biggest religious fiestival of the Philippines where thousands of people coming from the Philippines and the world gather to celebrate the Little Jesus and party!

The Philippines is a very religious country – the majority of the Filipinos are catholic christians. The Sinulog is one of the many religious festivals as it celebrates Santo Niño – the little Jesus – to honour him, locals shout Viva Pit Señor! 


For a week, Cebuanos (people from Cebu) pray and worship the little Jesus. On Saturday, they go on a pilgrimage that starts from the center of Cebu City to the Basilico of Santo Niño. During the march, you will see hundreds of people praying and holding a statue of their little Jesus.

On the week-end and especially on the last day, on Sunday, the festival take a whole different turn, people party on the streets, there are different kind of music festivals – rave parties, hip hop, electro – organised on parking lots, parties & safe drinking. People are very friendly to each other, they sing and shout “Viva Pit Señor!”, you’ll be hugged and painted in the face – that is the tradition!

© LostJuan ft HeyoLeah & VlogbyBlair

SO THE QUESTION IS, IS IT REALLY DANGEROUS..?

The first time I’ve heard of the Sinulog festival was when my friend Akiko mentioned it to me back in 2016. Since it stucked to my head and I knew I had to go there one day! Then I asked my family and the first thing they said was:

« ahh ang gulo duon! Madaming tao tapos lasing na lasing- mga botte lumilipad! » 

is a chaos there! It is very crowded, people are drunk and bottles fly in the air! 

Well… it really sounds like any other music festival… HA-HA

So, on 2019, I got to finally go to the Sinulog festival. My mission was to get content of the parade and live the celebration to the fullest!


Here are some information & tips on how YOU can enjoy the Sinulog Festival

  • If you are afraid of the crowd or claustrophobic, don’t bother to go to the Sinulog Festival. It is very crowded. You will have a hard time to enjoy and blend in to the fullest.

 

  • Budget & Hostels – Expect price ticket fares to be higher and the price of hostels tripled up! I got super lucky as I booked our nights super last minute at Bunks Hostel. And feeling ko meant to be because this hostel has the BEST LOCATION EVER in cebu especially during the sinology because it is literally in the center of everything! Plus, I got to meet the owner, his family and make some new friends! 
  • Be open-minded and friendly! This Sinulog was perfect as we met local people, amongst them the blogger Blair, who toured us around Cebu. Super friendly people!They gave us tips, taught us some cebuano words and grabe really welcomed us as king and queen. Guys, if you go to Manila or Paris, just hit me up
  • Get dirty & Blend in – In order to enjoy a festival, you need to feel part of the whole thing! So we bought some t-shirts and accessories to be comfy and ready to get dirty painted!

  • No signal for 3 days – On the week-end, major telecoms will cut their networks for the day. If you are with friends, make sure to pick a meet up point.
  • Secure bag – Bring a fanny pack or water bag that you can keep close to you. Make sure to wear it in front of you because some people can cut the fabric from the back and steal from you.
  • Drugs & Alcohol – During those crowded party events, alcohol is all over the place. But since 2018, the mayor has put strict measures to avoid any major incidents : liquor ban for 24 hours: all convenience stores within 100 meters of the center are not allowed to sell alcohol; And people are not allowed to bring bottles and drink publicly. However, you can still have some drinks in private bars or at your hostels on the parking lots. Now, Like anywhere else, dangers are still around.  So always have a look on your glass, be well accompanied with people you trust and can take of you, drink with modernity and don’t accept anything from a stranger.

Special thanks to Reggie and Blaire Tumalak @VlogbyBlair and his whole squad for welcoming us in Cebu! Thanks to Pierre and the Bunks hostel squad where we had an awesome time! Best location ever during the Sinulog Festival!

 

For more tips, please read Thetravellingfoxes’s article named ‘How to experience Sinulog like a local‘ as one of the Nats who is from Cebu, gives you more information and tips about the Sinulog Festival!

 

Watch my  videos vlog for more insights of the Sinulog Festival!

 

Written by Léah with an H

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