Sinulog Film Festival | What Makes It Amusingly Creative

In Cebu City, there’s a festival known as Sinulog. It’s a citywide celebration that encompasses the right mix of partying and a little bit of religious fervour. There’s some debate about the true meaning of Sinulog. But what can’t be argued is the impact that the festival has on the city.

Dancers performing the Sinulog dance

The Sinulog Festival brings in over a million people every year.

HISTORY OF SINULOG

The Sinulog festival has its roots in Spanish colonialism, much like a good portion of the country’s religious tradition. The center of the celebration is the Santo Nino, a version of the Christ child that is dressed as a king, wielding a scepter and a globe.

For some historical context, when the Spaniards first arrived on the shores of an archipelago they would later christen the Philippines, they introduced the concept of Christianity. One of the more enduring concepts what the St. Nino, which became so appealing to Filipinos that many a household in the Philippines will have an altar in the living room and the St. Nino will be the centerpiece of said altar.

The thing about Sinulog in Cebu is that it’s a tradition in the city and for some, marks the official end of the holiday season that starts when malls start playing Christmas carols in late August/early September.

The festival is one of the main things that people think of when they think of what to do in Cebu and witnessing the Sinulog dance is something that both the locals and tourists from all over the Philippines and the wider world make a point of doing when they in the city when the festival is taking place, because it is the centerpiece of the whole celebration, the big dance in Sinulog festival costume that takes place on Cebu’s main thoroughfare, the road that leads to the provincial capitol.

But the dance is not all there is to Sinulog. The fact of the matter is, while the dance is the main course, the ancillary parties are the side dishes. Fried chicken is great, but fried chicken paired with mashed potatoes is even better.

So it’s the ancillary parties that people stay for. People come for the big dances on the streets, but once the dances are done, it’s the parties that the people stay for. In fact, for many guests, those parties are the only reason to show up.

But again, there are subsections of the populace that see the debauchery and think that maybe that’s not what the festival is about, that maybe there’s more to it than loud music and drinking early in the morning and then not stopping until well into the night.

Man holding a camera

The Film Festival brings in some of the best indie filmmakers in Cebu to showcase their artform.

SINULOG FILM FESTIVAL

Humans are a visual species. This means that one of the main ways their brains process information is through their eyes, through what they see. So films are a great way to convey information to an audience.

Which is why the Sinulog Film Festival is something that is currently extant out in the world. IT not only showcases what may very well be the true spirit of the event itself, but it also gives filmmakers an outlet for them to ply their trade and show off their skills.

The thing about the film festival is that it’s not about making long-form movies. It’s about short films and music videos. Nothing over fifteen minutes and nothing that’s been previously screened to the public.

There are two kinds of submissions that are allowed; music videos which are supposed to be between two to five minutes long because most music videos are that length on account of many songs between two to five minutes long, which is why the music videos themselves have to be around that length because music videos are usually visual storytelling for a particular song. Some music videos also take a short break from the music in the middle.

Of course, anyone who wants to submit a music video is going to have to make sure that they have the rights to the music so as to avoid any litigation for violating copyright law.

Now, on to short films and documentaries. These are markedly different from music videos, not just because they can be longer in terms of their runtime. The short film and documentary categories have markedly different criteria for their judging than their music video counterparts. They are also noticeably longer and have to be more thorough in the information that they regale their viewers with.

There’s also the issue of language. In order to be an immersive and realistic experience, the use of local dialects is encouraged. However, the motion pictures are meant to be shown to a global audience. As such, anything that’s not in English is going to have to be subtitled in the language.

When it comes to actually submitting the films for viewing, it’s not like sending an email with the file attached. It’s a bit more complicated than that. Submissions have to be made with one high-definition copy on a USB flash drive and two copies on separate DVD discs.

However, regardless of whether it’s a music video or a documentary or a short film, the central theme of the motion pictures has to be the same and that theme is that Sto. Nino is the cause of unity and charity or that faith is the foundation to building a good atmosphere.

Sure, the dancing and the partying are all good. In fact, they are essential elements of the festival because festivals are supposed to be festive and festivities would be pretty boring if no one was feasting. It’s a celebration, after all – they’re supposed to be fun and all that.

But the spiritual aspects of the Sinulog should not be forgotten. Yes, it’s the partying that brings in the money from tourists and partying on the street while blowing a whistle is a popular image for the festival. However, the spiritual roots should not be ignored because it’s that aspect that created the festival in the first place. Without that spect, the festival itself would not be around to be enjoyed by partiers both local and not local.

Other posts

Cebu Sinulog Festival

Generally, Filipinos never fail to observe festivals, and Cebu takes theirs to the next level. After celebrating New Year’s Eve, Cebuanos participate in a monthlong celebration in honor of Sto. Niño. This is the renowned Sinulog festival. Held every third Sunday of January, the Sinulog festival is celebrated by dancing,

Read More
Three colorful chairs at the shore of the Mactan Newtown Beach

Experience Mactan Newtown Beach and Its Soothing Waters

Lapu-Lapu City has many beautiful beaches. Its numerous resorts and island hopping activities have made waves all throughout Cebu. One of its most famous is located in the city’s premier business center. With a good location, budget friendly rates, and a ton of exciting activities, Mactan Newtown Beach is a

Read More
Charlie's Cup, the Newest Balamban Tourist Spot

Charlie’s Cup, the Newest Balamban Tourist Spot to Visit!

Charlie’s Cup is a cafe in Cebu that offers a cool and refreshing vibe thanks to its cliffside location. The Cebu Transcentral Highway (TCH) has become one of the island’s best spots to check out the newest and most interesting cafes and restaurants with breathtaking views. The long, winding road

Read More
SM Seaside shopping mall’s famous cube

Where to Go for the Ultimate Shopping Experience in Cebu

Enjoy shopping in Cebu on your next visit. Shopping in Cebu is at another level. Anywhere you are in the metropolis, make no mistake that a shopping mall is just around the corner. Whether you are looking to buy souvenirs, shirts, accessories, or food, shopping malls in Cebu have it

Read More
The Cebu City Hall, the venue for the celebration of the Cebu City Charter Day

Cebu City Charter Day

Cebu City Charter Day commemorates another year of Cebu being considered a city. While the world recognizes February for Valentine’s Day and different concepts of love, Cebu City, the Visayan region’s Queen City of the South, embraces its cityhood, heritage, people, and economic growth within the same month. The 24th

Read More
Sinigang, a popular Filipino comfort food

Discovering Filipino Comfort Food

Try any of these Filipino comfort food when you’re feeling under the weather. When you’re feeling down in the dumps or a little under the weather, there is always that one dish that your mother makes that would always perk you up. There are also those types of meals and

Read More

FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM

TO FIND YOUR TRAVEL DESTINATION

Cebu Insights Logo (Island)-03-03

Seeking to learn more about Cebuano culture, or wanting to know what to do once you arrive, Cebu Insights is the travel guide for you in Cebu!

Contact Us

See other Articles

Here’s Why Cebu Road Trips Are Always Fun and Memorable

Most Cebuanos love going on road trips all around Cebu. Cebu is a haven for road trips. Traveling to the many tourist spots in the countryside – whether north or south – includes getting to witness other breathtaking attractions that make the journey all the more worthwhile. Though road trips

Feast on Filipino Street Food at Carbon’s Sunday Market

The Sunday Market at Carbon offers a long list of scrumptious Filipino street food. A new Carbon Market has arrived, bringing a fun food park aesthetic that everyone in Cebu has come to love. This much anticipated revamp aims to make the oldest market in Cebu an even more stellar

Cebu Province Junks Face Masks for Both Locals and Tourists

Those traveling within Cebu province are no longer required to wear face masks when outdoors. You will begin to see fewer people wearing face masks in the towns within Cebu Province. The Cebu Provincial Government has removed face mask protocols in open and well-ventilated spaces in areas under different districts

Lantaw SRP Opens to the Public since Typhoon Odette

You can now visit the iconic restaurant known as Lantaw SRP at IL Corso. Typhoon Odette will go down in history as one of the worst storms to hit Cebu. Residents endured a scarcity of water and electricity for several weeks, and more than a few tourist spots and restaurants

How You Can Get Free Rides on Jeepneys and Buses in Cebu

The national government is letting passengers avail free rides on jeepneys and buses. Want to hitch a free ride to the city? Public transportation may be dirt cheap, but what if you don’t have to pay at all? What if you could get on modernized jeepneys or buses without worrying

Chateau de Busay | A Serene Ambiance for Social Gatherings

Chateau de Busay is a popular venue for social gatherings, especially weddings. Chateau de Busay hosts some of the most extravagant wedding receptions in Cebu. It uses its peaceful ambiance and high-end facilities to create a one-of-a-kind experience, which is made possible due to its location in the mountains of

Scroll to Top