Visiting Cebu in January is more fun with this list of what to do during Sinulog, an important religious and the largest cultural festival in the Philippines.
6 Things to Do When You’re Joining the Sinulog Cultural Festival in Cebu
Every year, Cebu City comes alive with shouts of “Pit Señor!” during the Sinulog Festival. When you join in the festivities and visit Cebu, make the best of this time of the year with the following activities:
1) Participate in the Solemn Procession of the Image of the Santo Niño
The very heart of the Sinulog Festival lies in the honor given to the image of the Santo Niño de Cebu, which was first given to the Cebuanos in 1521 during the voyage of Ferdinand Magellan. Today, the original statue is kept safely at the Minor Basilica del Santo Niño, while a replica is brought out yearly for the Sinulog festivities, the religious highlight of which is the Solemn Procession.
This is always held the day before the Sinulog Grand Festival. The procession always culminates in a High Mass concelebrated by leading members of the Archdiocese.
2) Watch the Fluvial Procession
The fluvial procession is another unique hallmark of this religious and cultural festival in Cebu. During this event, the replica image of the Santo Niño is returned to Cebu City. During the Sinulog, the replica image is brought to St. Joseph Parish in Mandaue City as part of honoring the Holy Family, specifically Saint Joseph.
After an overnight stay, the image of the Santo Niño is returned to Cebu City in the early morning fluvial procession. Accompanying the Santo Niño are dozens of decorated barges, yachts, and other watercraft, thus making the fluvial procession a spectacular sight to kick off a festive day!
3) Join in the Sinulog Grand Parade
The Sinulog Grand Parade is a parade, pageant, and dance party all rolled into one. A trademark of this event is the dance performed each year mimicking the movements of water, which gave the Sinulog Festival its name. This parade held throughout the streets of Cebu also features floats and presentations from different schools and areas in the city and is always set to music fit for dancing. Alongside the parade are the street parties that have made Sinulog so popular for visitors from all over the country.
4) Join a Tour of Cebu City
To make the best of the influx of tourists to Cebu City, many groups offer guided tours of Cebu City as part of Sinulog Festival passes. This is a great opportunity to see other historical sights in Cebu City proper such as its ancestral homes, as well as its open spaces including the Capitol and the Fuente Osmena Circle. Although Cebu City is already “Instagram Worthy” on its own, having additional insight from a tour guide gives more depth and complexity to the different beautiful tourist attractions in the area.
ALSO READ: 5 Quick Islands Getaways in Cebu
5) Go Island Hopping
Need to take a break from the crowds flocking to the Sinulog? Taking a day trip to the different islands and beaches surrounding Cebu is an excellent way to relax and get some air. It is best to book with a reputable tour company that can provide “all-in” packages that include transportation, packed lunch, and other amenities while away from the city. The island of Mactan is an excellent jump-off point for a short trip to the best of sun, sand, and surf in the province!
6) Indulge in a Food Trip
No visit for the Sinulog, the country’s biggest cultural festival, or to Cebu for that matter, would be complete without partaking of the place’s delicious cuisine. Different people will have varying recommendations on which places serve the best mainstays such as Lechon Cebu, barbeque, and of course different local sweets and pastries. It is best to start food tripping at main hubs such as Larsian, or malls such as Ayala Center Cebu, to be able to sample different flavors and dishes more conveniently.
The only thing better than visiting Cebu for the Sinulog is living there amidst all the action. Avida Land Corporation offers an affordable residential option for would-be Cebu City residents with the Avida Towers Riala. Located in the trendy area of Lahug, Cebu City, this development is very accessible to commercial centers and other important sites all throughout Metro Cebu.