24 Jan2012

The parade was supposed to start at 9am on Sunday, January 15, 2012. Positioned in the streets along a probably 10+ kilometer “ferris wheel” were thousands of participants, many decked out in costumes, thousands of musicians, hangers on, cleebrities, commercial floats, contingents of this and that… the “ferris wheel” was to start its slow movement until they returned to their starting point… a process that took some 8-9 hours in total! But Sinulog 2012 didn’t seem to get any traction until well past 10am, and many participants who had been baking in the hot morning sun for over 2 hours looked wilted before the get go… Thankfully, the weather cooperated despite dire warnings of rain and for the most part, the parade went off beautifully… Each competing school or contingent seemed to have a beauty queen to lead the way…

…colorful, elaborate, hot and probably unbelievably cumbersome costumes to dance in all day long…

…this is no amateur street party… apparently schools hire professional choreographers, costume designers, etc. and spend upwards of a quarter of a million pesos to field their entry (and stand to win a million if victorious)…

…we have moved beyond the native materials to outlandish, garrish, non-breathable concoctions that are more evocative of some alien movie on drugs… No matter, it is a festive, colorful, joyous and over-the-top occasion that lures in millions of spectators…

The costumes were really something else… and the dancing was definitely worth seeing at least once in one’s lifetime. Whole contingents seemed to flow up and down on the street, to the wild drum beats and the classic two step forward, one step back move that epitomizes “sinulog” — the flow of water or tides…

Of course we can’t forget Lapu-Lapu…

…who did Magellan in… though I suspect the less glamorous explanation is that Magellan had to get off his galleon a long ways from shore (shallow reefs) and while wading to the beach stepped on numerous sea urchins, and his heavy armor contributed to his heat stroke and thus wasn’t a worthy adversary for the shorter, fierce native whose name now graces a family of groupers… I jest, of course. My grandmother use to tell us we were related to Lapu-Lapu, though hard proof was never provided at the time. :)

The Radisson Hotel rented the two-storey Sunburst Chicken Restaurant on Mango Avenue so that guests would have a wonderful base from which to experience the parade. They had a great breakfast and lunch buffet, drinks and airconditioning. Fantastic. If you are a guest in the hotel during Sinulog, you can sign up for this treat and it is well worth your stay in the hotel. We had invitations and used one of the tables here throughout most of the day, it was conveniently NEAR (as in 20 meters away) from the Zubuchon Mango outlet so we had a place to retreat to rest and cool off. :)

As the parade progresses, you can join the flow of people, walk a ways down to the Fuente Osmena, and when hot and thirsty, make your way back to “home base” for the day. With over 3 million participants and spectators along the route, it was a sea of humanity you don’t often get to experience…

And just as you thought that was enough stimulation for a day, hordes of folks ran out to the street whenever caravans of local actors/artistas made their way through the parade. The screeches and clapping increased the more beautiful, handsome, desirable or popular the personality. Mrs. MM took many of these snapshots despite not even knowing who she was photographing, based on the reactions of the crowd… Here, Olgie Alcasid, the endorser of a local pawnshop…

Several local boxers, some of them from neighboring provinces.

Iza Calzado, and another actress in front of her, and they were riding on a drugstore’s float together with Derek Ramsay, Venus Raj, etc.

Gerald Anderson, a television heart throb I gathered from the serious swooning from the ladies in the crowd. I recognized him because I have run into him at S&R on several occasions, but didn’t know he was a celebrity until one of the crew pointed him out. :)

But my favorite photo from Mrs. MM’s shots is this one of Melai? with her lip action. You gotta love it. Doesn’t doing that for extended periods of time screw up your facial features in the long run? Hahaha. The day was a blast. Let the partying begin…

Note: Some photos taken by Mrs. MM, and AT.



  1. Betchay says:

    Ha!ha!ha! The lips of Melai reminds me of fish lips or that of the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland! I watched the festivities on Channel 5’s extensive coverage.Maybe next year I should experience it personally!

    Jan 24, 2012 | 8:27 am


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  3. ami says:

    The fair skinned actress with Iza Calzado is Giselle Sanchez.

    Jan 24, 2012 | 8:32 am

  4. millet says:

    it’s obvious from your posts that you thoroughly enjoyed it, and your enthusiasm is infectious. i wouldn’t be surprised if more people come to sinulog next year because they saw from your posts how much fun it was.

    what a refreshing change from some snotty locals who leave the city at sinulog time because it’s too crowded and commercial. you’re a major marketing person for cebu, that’s for sure!

    Jan 24, 2012 | 8:59 am

  5. Dragon (Melbourne) says:

    Seemed like tons of fun (and peeps!)

    The actress in the Iza Calzado photo is Giselle Sanchez – an intelligent comedienne known for her raunchy takes…

    Jan 24, 2012 | 9:01 am

  6. louinsanfran says:

    quite right, millet. and i’ll be booking at the radisson!

    Jan 24, 2012 | 12:05 pm

  7. sally says:

    LOL! I am in 2 of your photos, MM! The ones with Lapu-lapu and Magellan! During lunch hour, I shepherded my group of 7 friends toward your resto on the other side of the street :)

    Jan 25, 2012 | 11:26 am

  8. Marketman says:

    sally, how amazing is that? :) I hope you got a decent meal before the guests just exploded in volume…

    Jan 25, 2012 | 1:23 pm

  9. netoy says:

    I made it!!! The festival was really something to see. You’re right, MM – this is one event that one needs to see in his/her lifetime. The parade was still ongoing even after we had a Zubuchon dinner and that was about past 8pm!

    But what really gave me goosebumps was the Sto Nino procession. The overwhelming emotion of the devotees was really palpable. I had tears in my eyes seeing thousands of hands waving in unison during the chorus version of a religious song. That was a sight to behold!!

    Congratulations, Cebu, you did it!

    Jan 28, 2012 | 9:23 am

  10. Farida says:

    Thanks for these pictures, MM. I have been dreaming of attending the Sinulog. I remember when it was just a procession attended by all the schools in the city. Viva Pit Senyor!!

    Feb 4, 2012 | 1:42 pm


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