Sinulog-Cebu Trip

Posted: August 24, 2012 in Blog, Travel
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The Sinulog Festival is one of the grandest, most distinguished and most colorful festival in the Philippines. The major festival is held each year on the third Sunday of January to honor the Santo Nino, or the Child Jesus, who use to be the patron saint of the whole province of Cebu. It is fundamentally a dance ritual which remembers the Filipino People’s pagan past and their recognition of Christianity.

The festival features some of the country’s most colorful display of ceremony and pageantry: participants clothe in bright-colored costumes, dance to the rhythm of drums and native gongs. The streets are generally lined with vendors and pedestrians all wanting to witness the street dancing. Smaller versions of the festival are also held in different parts of the province, there is also a Sinulog Sa Kabataan, which is performed by the youths of Cebu a week before the Grand Parade.

“SINULOG” comes from the Cebuano adverb SULOG which is “like water current movement”, which proficiently describes the forward-backward movement of the Sinulog Dance. Traditionally, the dance consists of two steps forward and one step backward, done to the sound of drums. The dance is classified into Sinulog-Base, Free-Interpretation and recently a Latin category, which most people have argued that it had nothing to do with Sunulog tradition. Candle vendors at the Basilica continue to perform the traditional version of the dance when lighting a candle for the customers, usually accompanied by song in the native language.

I wanted to witness this festival ever since my parents went there and brought back a Pit Señor T-shirt and have read & seen lots of stories and pictures on how grand this festival is. The opportunity was given to us when Cebu Pacific Air had a promo more than six months ago and was excited to see the Sinulog Festival.

Waking up really early to catch our 0630hrs flight, with the sun shining we left the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and arriving at Mactan-Cebu International Airport at 0730hrs with a slight drizzle. Taking a cab and headed for Elicon House located at P. del Rosario Street & Gen. Junquera Street and left our bags there (our check in time was still at 1400hrs), and ask for directions to Crown Regency Hotel where we would try out the Skywalk Extreme Adventure and got their day tour promo package of P888 which includes: either the Skywalk Extreme Adventure or Sky Coaster Ride; a choice of body massage or a diamond peel at the Prana Medi Spa; Buffet Lunch at the Wang Shan Lo Chinese Cuisine Restaurant and a 4D movie. We were told to avail first the body massage because there would be a lot of people after lunch time so we booked ourselves and was scheduled at 1130hrs, so we headed out to the nearest McDonalds and ate breakfast by 0930hrs and waited there till 1100hrs just talking and checking the map. By 1130hrs we had our body massage at Prana Medi Spa and by 1245hrs had our lunch which I ate a lot of Burong Manga or Pickled Mango (which would hunt me for the next couple of days). After lunch headed for the 4D Movie at by 1330hrs was outside the top floors of The Crown Regency Hotel and walking along its sides where it was raining and windy. After the walk and haggling for a good price for the photos (which was expensive) went back to Elicon House and checked in our room and rested a bit, then by 1800hrs tried to go to Ayala Mall but it was raining hard and by the time we got there and ate dinner it was already late in the evening then took the jeepney back to Elicon and rested for the day.

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Woke up Saturday morning at 0700hrs and decided to go walking around Cebu City and see some tourist spots and by 0800hrs we were out walking the streets and headed for Cebu Cathedral.

Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral is the ecclesiastical seat of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Cebu in Cebu, Philippines. Cebu was established as a diocese in August 14, 1595 and was elevated as a metropolitan archdiocese in April 28, 1934 with the dioceses of Dumaguete, Maasin, Tagbilaran, and Talibon as suffragans.

Construction of the cathedral took long due to frequent interruptions brought about by lack of funds and other unexpected events. At one point in time, funds meant for the building of the cathedral were diverted to the moro wars. The death of an incumbent bishop who spearheaded the construction/reconstruction and vacancies in the office were also factors.

The architecture of the church is typical with baroque colonial churches in the country — squat, cruciform, and with thick walls to withstand typhoon and other natural calamities. The trefoil-shaped pediment is decorated with carved relieves of floral motifs, an IHS inscription and a pair of griffins. The Spanish Royal Coat of Arms is emblazoned in low relief above the main entrance owing perhaps to the contribution of the Spanish monarch to its construction. Much of the cathedral was destroyed by Allied bombings in World War II, with only the belfry (built in 1835), the facade, and the walls remaining. It was quickly rebuilt in the 1950s under the supervision of architect Jose Zaragosa, during the incumbency of Archbishop Gabriel Reyes .

In 1982, a mausoleum was built at the back of the sacristy of the cathedral by then Archbishop Julio Cardinal Rosales. It serves as a final resting place for the mortal remains of Cebu’s bishops and clergy. Cardinal Rosales himself, who died three months after the mausoleum was inaugurated, is buried there along with Archbishop Manuel Salvador, coadjutor Archbishop of Cebu, and Archbishop Mariano Gaviola, Archbishop of Lipa. The bones of Bishop Juan Bautista Gorordo, the first Filipino and Cebuano bishop of Cebu, are also interred in the mausoleum.

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Then crossing over and headed for the Basilica del Santo Nino.

The Basilica of Santo Niño or Basilica del Santo Niño is a 16th century church in Cebu City in the Philippines. It was built on the exact spot where the image of the Santo Niño, a sculpture depicting the Holy Child Jesus was founded by Spanish explorers in 1565 preserved in a burned wooden box which was left behind during the 1521 Magellan expedition.

The church of Santo Niño de Cebu was founded by an Augustinian priest, Andrés de Urdaneta on April 28, 1565. The first church structure was built out of earth, hard wood and nipa in 1566 ordered by Friar Diego de Herrera. In 1735, Fernando Valdés y Tamon, the Governor of Cebu, ordered the church to be constructed of hard stone, which was built in the same spot were the previous church stood. Construction was completed in 1739. In 1965, during the fourth centenary of the Christianization of the Philippines, Pope Paul VI elevated the church to the rank of minor basilica.

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Exiting the side door of the church we came upon a marker where lots of people would take its picture and this is the Magellan’s Cross Marker

As the story goes, in 1521 Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan with the Portuguese and Spanish fleet landed on one of the Philippine islands. The locals, having not yet been introduced to Catholicism were taken by the religion and the local king Humabon, his wife and 800 Filipinos were baptized on April 21st of 1521. In the name of Spain and the Catholic religion Magellan had a large cross staked up near the ocean.

After centuries of devoted visitors and being exposed to the elements the original cross degenerated. A new cross made of tindalo wood was erected to encase and preserve what was left of the ancient cross and allow tourists to continue to visit the monument. In recent history a small chapel was built around the site of Magellan’s cross to protect it and enhance the area.

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Heading for Fort San Pedro we witnessed the Fluvian Parade and since we still have not gotten out ID passes we could not go near the participants and dancers.

Fuerza de San Pedro is a military defense structure, built by Spanish and indigenous Cebuano labourers under the command of Spanish conquistador, Miguel López de Legazpi and the Spanish Government in Cebu. It is located in the area now called Plaza Indepedencia, in the Pier Area of Cebu City, Philippines.

The smallest, oldest triangular bastion fort in the country was built in 1738 to repel Muslim raiders. In turn, it served as a stronghold for Filipino revolutionaries near the end of the 19’th Century. This served as the nucleus of the first Spanish settlement in the Philippines.

The fort is triangular in shape, with two sides facing the sea and the third side fronting the land. The two sides facing the sea were defended with artillery and the front with a strong palisade made of wood. The three bastions were named La Concepción (SW); Ignacio de Loyola (SE), and San Miguel (NE). It has a total inside area of 2,025 sq. meters. The walls are 20 feet (6.1 m) high, 8 feet (2.4 m) thick and the towers are 30 feet (9.1 m) high from the ground level. The circumference is 1,248 feet (380 m). The sides are of unequal lengths and the one fronting the city is where one may find entry into the Fort. Fourteen cannons were mounted in their emplacements most of which are still there today. Work first started on May 8, 1565 with Miguel Lopéz de Legazpi breaking ground.

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Then at the back of the fort I saw which looks like a tent where people were living in containers for cargos.
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Going back to Basilica del Santo Nino and eating some chorizo and puso (cooked rice wrapped in nipa leaves) and by 1030hrs was headed to Ayala Mall where we ate lechon at CnT Lechon (they serve then with soy sauce and calamansi, not the usual mang tomas here in Manila), met up with friends and got our ID passes and then took the jeepney to Fuente Osmena and started walking back to Elicon and rested

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At 1600hrs went to Fuente Osmena and ate chorizo and chicken gizzards with puso, and while walking around we saw a stall selling deep fried intestines and tried it with a couple of beers. Walking back to Elicon and seeing a lot of people in the streets already and by 1900hrs we went out again to the Tiangge and bought some souvenirs at the street of Osmena.

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On Sunday (Day of the Grand Parade) we woke up at 0700hrs, and quickly changed and went out and took photos of the parade (which would be in another set here)

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After going around or walking the route and taking pictures at Cebu City Sports Center, we headed for Basilica del Santo Nino and was thinking of buying some souvenirs there but when we got there it was to crowded and could not enter the church so we decided instead to head for SM Cebu where we ate lunch and then went around to the Handicraft Expo where I saw furnitures made out of bamboo, which I really like. Took more pictures of the Parade till we were to tired and called it a day.

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Preparing for our trip back to Manila at 0400hrs and arriving in Manila international Airport at 0800hrs. we had a really great time at Cebu and experiencing the Sinulog Festival was really exciting and would like to be back again, hopefully next year.

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Till our next trip again! HAPPY TRAILS!!!

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