Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Sinulog Festival Street Party, Cebu - Philippines 2010

I didn't expect to have such a blast during the Sinulog Festival. Sinulog is a celebration of the Sto. Nino or the Baby Jesus. It's an annual street parade that started many, many years ago in Cebu City, Philippines. It commemorates the city's patron and the celebration of Christianity's birth in the Philippines during the time of the Spanish Conquistadors. The entire experience was amazing! The Celebration starts at midnight where millions of people begin to gather and wait for the dawn mass at the Sto. Nino Cathedral. The drums, the trumpets, the dancing and the excitement can be heard, felt and seen everywhere. The entire City of Cebu comes to a halt to celebrate this festival. It's bigger than Christmas. The city closes down major street routes to accommodate the slew  of performers. The streets of the entire city is blocked off so the parade performers have a clear path to dance and showcase their floats and costumes. The parade itself starts after the 4 am mass. You wake up to the sounds of thundering drums, music and singing, shouts, cheers, and the stomping of thousands of feet. If that doesn't get you out of your bed in a hurry, I don't know what would. It was amazing how energetic all the performances were. The participants were tireless. They danced and performed all day. In the very early morning hours, through the blazing noon time sun, all throughout the rainy afternoon and finally during the humid evening. I found out that they train for a year so their performance become second nature. And it starts all over again for the following Festival. I was also informed that all true-blooded Cebuanos, perform at least once in their lives in the street parade. Tourists from all over the world, even as far as Russia flock to Cebu to participate in this event. You could tell the performers spared no expense in their costumes and props. Overall it was a class A performance.



Even Photojournalists took time to have a photo-op with the cute munchkins 
performing in the parade.

As the excitement of the day wore down, the street party was just beginning. Alcoholic Drinks and street-food stalls started popping up all around. You could mix your own cocktail for a cheap price, eat traditional street foods like fried fish balls (not what you're thinking), kwek-kwek (hard boiled eggs dipped in an orange-colored batter, fried and served with seaweed and spicy vinegar. Sounds weird? Maybe...but it tastes good), Balut (the infamous Filipino aphrodisiac or better known as duck egg w/ embryo -now this one is nasty) and other such goodies lined the streets. And of course, you couldn't have a party without good old San Miguel Beer. My friends and I started running down the streets joining the winding parade, dancing and drinking like lunatics and having a grand old time. The best part about this event was, everyone was very respectful of each other. There were no riots nor fistfights. Most of the revelry was done in a mannerly fashion. The performers were so happy to have their pictures taken. It was good vibes all the way. They even encouraged people on the sidelines to come join the parade toward the finale. 

Ryan getting some lipstick on him. Kissy-kissy!

Love your shirt, Sabine!

While everyone ran amok (others in their bare feet) in the streets harassing the performers, Orange organized a dinner buffet for everyone. And there I thought, she was trying to pick-up one of the tourists with her suggestive note. Hahaha...kidding, Orange. She patiently waited for everyone to get the munchies before gathering all the peeps into a Japanese style-tour; waving her umbrella up toward the sky while weaving through the crowded and now littered streets of Cebu. Make sure you keep an eye out for that girl with the huge umbrella. Follow where she goes, and you'll reach the cheapest buffet in Cebu City. Her suggestion didn't disappoint. Everyone was so hungry from the day's festivities, that we tore through that buffet selection like wild animals. Some even washed their feet in the hand washing stations...(for shame, nasty bunch!). Neither that disgusting move nor the sweaty, smelly tourists deterred us from acquiring our dinner. Once everyone settled on the table, we literally gulped down the foods on our plate (shame on us for eating like savages). But we were really, really hungry! Especially me. By that point, I was so hungry and cranky, I growled at Dutch-boy for taking my seat, drinking my juice, and picking a piece of chicken off my plate. Hello???!!! Seriously dude, you don't mess with a hungry, cranky Filipina like that. No, no, no! That just ain't right. You could get your balls fried and fed to you for pulling a stunt like that. But after having our dinner safely settled in our bellies, it was all good vibes again. I even forgave Dutch-boy.

The girls.

The boys.

The Gang

After a long day of excitement. The night finally came to a close. And just as it started with the thunderous sound of drums, it ended with a bang of fireworks.


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