How Sinulog brought this couple from Tangub City together

Eiver Villegas
How Sinulog brought this couple from Tangub City together
A decade ago, Mabel and Roy meet while dancing the Sinulog. Now they're back as a couple.

CEBU CITY, PHILIPPINES – Sinulog brings millions of people together to show their devotion to the Santo Niño every year. 

But a decade ago, for Mabel Q. Julio, the Fiesta Señor not only brought her to Cebu to compete in the annual Sinulog Festival. It also was her way of finding true love.

She met her husband Roy Villariguez when they danced together with the same troupe around that time. 

The couple are from Tangub City in Misamis Occidental.

The Sinanduloy Dance Troupe was a  12-year Sinulog champion since it began competing in Sinulog Festivals in 2000.

The troupe had been on hiatus for 2 years, but is back this year and took the big stage during the Sinulog Festival Competition.

NIÑA. Mabel Julio brings her daughter to the Sinulog Festival. Photo by Eiver Villegas/Rappler

While Roy did not dance this year, he was back to support his wife, who competed with the legendary dance troupe. 

And this time around they brought their kids. Their 11-month-old girl is named Niña, after the Santo Niño, of course.

Performing for Sinulog is more than just dance for Mabel Julio.

“During our stage, [when it’s our time] and during every performance, we really feel the presence of Santo Niño dancing with us,” Julio said in Bisaya.

She said it was what all of the dancers of the champion troupe felt when preforming during the Sinulog.

Mabel said does not plan on stopping anytime soon. 

In fact, she hoped her kids would follow in their footsteps as dancers. But even if they come as spectators, Mabel would be happy.

This year, not only did Mabel’s family get to watch her dance, but they also witnessed her win. 

The Sinanduloy Dance Troupe bagged first place and collected the P1-million worth top prize in the street dancing competition and the Sinulog-based categories. –

Eiver Villegas is a student journalist based in Cebu City.

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