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, music, and prayers. A roster of different everyday activities are prepared for the whole month.
The Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño schedules a series of masses leading up to the big day. A day before the grand parade, there is a fluvial procession wherein the Holy Child is transferred from the Basilica to a sister church in Mandaue. A lot of devotees wake up early in the morning to take part in the journey.
A week before the grand parade, a pageant is held to choose a festival queen. The ladies from different neighboring islands and provinces show off their talents, wit, and beauty. The crowned festival queen should be present at the grand parade to perform as the lead dancer of the festival.
There is also a separate parade and contest for the participating schools. It is known as Sinulog sa Kabataan, and the competition is held a week before the grand parade.
The anticipated grand parade starts early on Sunday morning and ends in the afternoon. During the parade, different dance groups that compete for the best dance interpretation perform the Sinulog festival dance through the streets of Cebu City. Their grand showdown can be witnessed at Abellana Sports Complex. The winners bring home cash prizes that range from Php 100,000 to Php 1 million. A grandiose fireworks display signals the end of the event. At night, the streets remain alive until dawn on Monday because of street parties—and nightlife in Cebu never disappoints.