Cebu Sinulog goes on amid dispute over venue

Cebu City—Mayor Michael Rama said all is ready for the celebration of Sinulog 2023 today despite the bad weather caused by the low-pressure area and the shear line—and despite a conflict with Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia, who followed through on her word to withdraw 10 contingents of performers from across the province for the event.

FOR THE SANTO NINO. Hundreds of sea vessels join the fluvial procession for the feast of Sto. Niño de Cebu or Sinulog at the Mactan Channel on Saturday. The Santo Niño was placed onboard Coast Guard District Central Visayas BRP CABRA . Meanwhile, devotees join the Sto. Niño de Tondo motorcade in Manila as part of the religious activities for the upcoming fiesta honoring the Child Jesus (below). CCLEX/Island Nomad photo with Norman Cruz

Rama also announced that the final venue for the One Cebu Island Sinulog 2023 grand parade will be held at South Road Properties, the capital city’s new business district.

“All is set, and we will celebrate One Cebu Island Sinulog 2023 at SRP, with the grand parade in a carousel to move between City de Mare and SM Seaside City,” Rama said in a statement.

The grounds, he said, are ready and everything is set for this year’s celebration whether the city will have rain or fair weather.

But Garcia said the contingents from Carmen, Carcar City, Mandaue City, Moalboal, Naga City, Talisay City, Tuburan, Toledo City and the Consolacion guest contingent—which the governor had been slated to dance with—would still perform at the Sinulog’s traditional venue, the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC).

The new festival site at the SRP had been described as “woefully unready” by the performers, according to local reports.

A total of 22 groups had been slated to perform at the culminatingactivity of the One Cebu Island Sinulog Festival 2023, with the governor saying Lapu-Lapu City would also pull out of the competition if the SRP were to remain the site of the event. Jimbo Gulle

In an announcement made at 9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023, Garcia cited the concerns of contingents that had conducted rehearsals in the SRP earlier in the day and those of Talisay City Mayor Gerald Anthony Gullas Jr. for her decision.

Rama said no rain could stop the celebration since they had Sinulog street dance competitions under bad weather in the past.

“We have faith in our patron, the Holy Child Jesus, Señor Santo Niño, that all is well when we celebrate His feast, from the fluvial and street procession to our annual cultural event, now at SRP,” Rama said.

He also extended his appreciation to the participants, choreographers and dancers, the costume, backdrop and props designers, the float builders, giant-makers and puppeteers, drummers, and contingent marshals for standing by the city’s decision to change the venue from the usual route at the CCSC.

“We would not have attained the recognition of Sinulog as an Asian festival without your tireless creativity that continuously improves year after year,” he said.

caption:Devotees join the Sto. Niño de Tondo motorcade in Tondo, Manila, on Saturday, January 14, 2023, as part of the religious activities for the upcoming Feast of the Sto. Niño.(photo by Norman Cruz)

Talisay Mayor Gullas, in a statement on social media, had appealed to Rama to reconsider the holding of Sinulog at the SRP.

Their decision to back out came after photos of the new venue posted on social media showed a sea of mud that affected the rehearsals of a few contingents on Thursday because of rains due to bad weather brought by the shear line and LPA, which drew criticisms from netizens.

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