Cebu City: Queen City of the South

I recently visited the City of Cebu and was able to witness this year’s Sinulog Festival celebration.

Sinulog – comes from the Cebuano word sulog which roughly means “current” or “like the flow of water”.

Sinulog Festival is an annual celebration of the culture and religious beliefs of Cebu City. Held every 3rd Sunday of January. History says that, Sinulog is the ritual prayer-dance honoring Señor Santo Niño. An image of Sto. Niño was given as a gift by a Portugese explorer named Ferdinand Magellan when he arrived in Cebu on April 1521.(Source: Wikipedia

Original image of the Sto. Niño that was given as a gift by Ferdinand Magellan. This is located inside the Basilica Menore del Sto. Niño.
View from outside the Basilica del Sto. Niño.
Magellan’s Cross – a significant landmark of Cebu located right next to the Basilica del Sto. Niño
Visitors who want to give their thanks or prayers to Sto. Niño can buy candles from these old ladies and they dance while saying the prayer in their local dialect, Cebuano.

One of the main highlights of the Sinulog Festival is the Grand Street parade, which according to some locals, that I have spoken with, may last for 9 up to 12 hours. The parade route is within the center of Cebu City proper going straight to the Cebu City Sports Complex where they will perform their final routines.

Hugpong Asturiasnon doing their interpretation routine

Tribal dance groups from different parts of Cebu City join in to show their own interpretations of the religious ritual that is the Sinulog dance. Several contingents joined this year’s Sinulog Festival from outside Metro Cebu; Lanao Del Norte, Dumaguete City, Tangub City, and Catbalogan City. There were a total of 23 contingents that joined this year’s grand parade, 19 of which came from Metro Cebu.

Pundok Nagahon – City of Naga
Festival Queen from Tribu Ginatilanon prepares herslef solemnly before starting their performance.
Tribu Buwad – Free Interpretation Category.
Sandukot Festival of Dumaguete City joins this year’s Sinulog Festival

After the grand parade, a series of street parties cover every corner, mostly in the center of the city. Local youths, local tourists, and even foreign tourists gather round walking towards every street corner of General Maxilom Avenue greeting each person you bump into with the words “Pit Senyor”  short for “Sangpit sa Senyor”  that means “to call, to ask, or plead to the king“. This is accompanied with a slap of paint on your face, arms, or your clothes, a hug, a bottle of beer, a high-five, or sometimes all of these. If you would want to remember this moment wear something white and everything will be reflected there.


All in all, it was definitely a fun-filled experience for me having it my first time to witness this festivity. It is really the Queen of all Festivals. I will definitely come back for more.


Viva Pit Senyor!!!




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