Sinulog Festival 2006 one of the biggest festival in the Philippines.
It was my first time this January. Its a whole day parade full of dances. It is far the best festival I’ve ever been.
â€œSinulogâ€œ For the Santo NiÃ±o
All over people to express joy, petition, penance and thanksgiving has performed the world, in the course of human history, the dance.
In the Santo NiÃ±o Church of Cebu City which is one of the oldest churches of the Philippines, an interesting dance ritual is performed by pilgrims from all parts of Cebu, the Visayas, and Mindanao, before the Image of the famous Santo NiÃ±o.
The pilgrims, as this dance is called by the Cebuanos, perform the “Sinulog”, in order to obtain the Santo NiÃ±o’s help in all their needs and to thank Him for Favors received.
The origin of the â€œSinulogâ€ has never been fully explained to the present day. As a religious dance patterned after the Muslim ceremonial dance, the â€œSinulogâ€ has a beauty all its own. The dancers are motley crowd, representing men and women of various ages from all walks of like. In the Sinulog, there is still something of the native Philippines, for it is a primitive practice to worship images for their own sake. However, there is nothing irreverent or unbecoming about the dance. It has become an integral part of the Fiesta SeÃ±or celebration, as the feast of the Santo NiÃ±o is called, held every year of the third Sunday of January.
The dance probably came into being as a means of invoking the Imageâ€™s protection and help against all kinds of disasters in the days of King Humabon. Later on, when the Image has been transferred to the care of the Augustinian priests, and the conversion of the Cebuanos to the Catholic faith was accomplished, the dance became more subdued and was made an optional part of the yearly fiesta SeÃ±or celebration.
Dancing begins in the patio in front of the church and shouts fill the air. A closer observation will reveal that the dancers are shouting their petitions and thanksgiving to the SeÃ±or. These pilgrims have to shout, for being simple folks; they want to be sure that the SeÃ±or hears them. If one is dancing by proxy, he has to let the SeÃ±or know about this. He introduces himself this way, â€œPit SeÃ±or! SeÃ±or Santo NiÃ±o, Manoy Kiloy says thank you so much for the baby boy born to his wife eight months ago! Before I forget, Manding Orang also told me to thank you for saving her daughter from malaria while she was in Mindanao.â€ In other cases, someone who wants to ask favors may say: â€œPit SeÃ±or! SeÃ±or Santo NiÃ±o, please make me walk again! I have been crippled since I felt from the coconut tree while gathering tuba.â€ â€œPit SeÃ±or Santo NiÃ±o, our cornfields are dying and the creeks have dried up. Please send us rain.â€
Any spectator of the Sinulog will be struck by the dancer unconcern for the people around them and the intense faith shown on their faces which leaves even the unbeliever in respectful silence and awe.