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No Sinulog after 41 years

For the first time in 41 years, Cebu is not celebrating Sinulog due to the existing dangers of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sinulog cover photo from Facebook

Sinulog is a hallmark of Cebuano culture, and its festivities have been the subject of national prominence for decades. It is hard to imagine the third Sunday of January without the grand parade, the usual floats, throngs of churchgoers and party people in the streets, booming music in all corners, and the general festive entropy.

But who would have imagined such a sweeping pandemic, in this modern time and age, to put a standstill on a global scale either? For the first time in 41 years, in the interest of protecting the lives of Cebuanos and the tourists that would have filled every hotel vacancies, Cebu did not celebrate Sinulog – not in the traditional way anyway.

Postponed Sinulog 2021

Cebu City was under MGCQ (still is), and because of safety concerns, there were already suggestions made by the Cebu City Police office of postponing the physical activities in early December.

This recommendation was enacted by the Sinulog committee on January 9, and despite scaling down the physicality of the event, all in-person activities were eventually cancelled.

One major physical activity that was stopped was the series of physical Novena masses at the Basílica Menor del Santo Niño de Cebú which transitioned to virtual streaming on January 12.

Subsequently, the floats, the grand parade, and the awaited dance competition which was supposed to be available for public viewing via television and online broadcast only were all postponed too. All business establishments were in strict compliance of Covid-19 restrictions, so there were no public gatherings and celebrations either.

Sinulog Idol 2021

The Sinulog Idol All Stars was held on January 10, and previous winners were invited to covet this year’s title. The announced grand champion was Melody Hodgson.

Sinulog Festival Queen 2021

The Sinulog yearly pageant was still pushed through. It was held on January 15, and among the ten contestants the crowned winner was Dixie Oca of Barangay Sapangdako.

Maria Angelica Pantaliano was hailed first runner-up, and Krisha Andrea Pekitpekit second runner-up.

Virtual Sinulog: Sinulog Rewind 2021

The Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) announced the inauguration of Sinulog Rewind 2021 on January 17 in lieu of the traditional Sinulog celebration.

This virtual Sinulog was aired on SFI’s official webpage, Youtube channel, and Facebook page as well as on local television channels like MyTV, CCTN, and regional channels in Mindanao.

Sinulog Rewind 2021 was a 10-hour virtual affair showcasing

  • Sinulog ritual performances taken in 1982 onwards
  • Entries from Filipinos abroad for the “Halad” category
  • “Halad” performance of Gwen Garcia
  • Best of Cebu showcasing Cebuano musical talents, fashion, and other performing arts
  • SInulog Idol held on January 10 featuring previous winners
  • See Cebu in Carousel
  • Sinulog virtual workshops

The event kickstarted with a Holy Mass at 9AM and ended at 7PM with clips of firework displays from past years.

Vice Mayor Mike Rama’s announcement

Cebu City Vice Mayor Michael Rama was this year’s chair of Sinulog 2021 committee. Due to numerous calls to postpone Sinulog in light of the dangers from the pandemic, he announced the postponement of the major physical activities.

Reimbursement of Sinulog Grand Parade contingents and the Quincentennial celebration

The 20 dance contingents will be receiving Php150,000 as reimbursement for their incurred expenses in preparation for the competition that was postponed.

Vice Mayor Rama said that they will receive another reimbursement of the same amount after they will perform at the 500th year of Philippine Christianization which will be held in April 2021.

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