MANILA, Philippines - Cries of “Pit Señor!” reverberated through the streets of Cebu City last January 19 to 20 as Cebuanos and visitors from all over the country and abroad celebrated the Sinulog Festival.
These same streets transformed themselves overnight from a vehicle thoroughfare to the scene of a very, very big party. Establishments put up their own sound systems blaring the “Sinulog song,” hip-hop tunes and the ubiquitous “Gangnam Style.”
Stalls sold feathered masks and headdresses, meandering vendors carried an arm-load of bottled water and woven fans, crowds of thousands pushed their way to the side of the road, awaiting the parade of floats and costumed dancers under the glare of the sun.
In the meantime, street parties were already cooking up in some parts of the city. Youths clad in a variety of Sinulog shirts smeared each other with paint, sprayed the crowd with beer (while the rest chugged them down), whistled to their hearts’ content, and held each other’s hands lest the seething, churning crowd swallows them whole.
A legion of photographers invaded the parade route, eager to capture the best of the street dancers dressed in glittering costumes, bearing painted shields, following their resplendent Reyna Juana cradling the Santo Niño, for whom the city cries “Pit Señor!” short for “Sangpit señor,” a call of praise, thanksgiving, and supplication.
Fuente Circle in Cebu City the night before the parade
Zubuchon's lechon was a must-try for visitors
The parade, held on January 20, begins to the beat of drums
The parade is celebrated from all heights 05-
Reyna Juana in the form of a u0022higanteu0022 bears an image of the Santo Nino in her arms, a gift from Ferdinand Magellan after her baptism into the Catholic faith
A photographer walks through the parade perhaps thinking of the great shots in his camera and the pictures still waiting to be taken
These kids can't wait to begin
One of the many masks sold in stalls along the streets
Festival-goers did not shy away from sweat, paint and festive mayhem
During Sinulog, the party was everywhere and for everyone
Crowds of thousands rushed to Baseline, an events place where Sinulog parties are usually held
Photo by Karen Ceballos
Photo by Karen Ceballos
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.