All physical Sinulog 2021 festival events cancelled

Ryan Macasero

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SINULOG PARADE. Contingent dances the Sinulog in Cebu City

Alecs Ongcal/Rappler file photo

The dance competition will be done virtually this year on Sunday, January 17 with contingents pre-recording their dance numbers

All physical events of the Sinulog are canceled due to the pandemic, the Sinulog Foundation Inc’s steering committee announced earlier on Thursday, January 7. 

This is the first time in recent years that the Sinulog Festival Parade, held every third Sunday of January, had been cancelled for any reason.

While initially the committee wanted to push through with its dance competition at the South Road Properties (SRP) without an audience, the organizers opted for contingents – who come from different cities and towns from across the Philippines – to record their dance pieces at home instead.

Dance contingents compete for millions of pesos in cash prizes every year. 

The cancellation of physical events follows a recommendation from the Cebu City police not to hold the event in person.

On Monday, January 4, Cebu City police said they would not be providing security for any other events aside from the masses at the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu.

The capacity at the Basilica, where most of the religious activities related to the fiesta take place, will be limited to 1,000 attendees to ensure physical distancing. 

The cancellation comes after a spike in cases in Cebu City with at least 84 new cases this week. These new cases are attributed to the holiday spike, where residents were allowed to leave their homes for holiday novena masses without quarantine passes until Christmas Day, December 25, 2020.

The local government previously cancelled key events in November that are usually attended by thousands of devotees including: Penitential Walk with Jesus, Penitential Walk with Mary, the Traslacion, the Fluvial Procession, and the Reenactment of the first baptism, the planting of the cross and the first wedding, the Solemn Foot Procession and the proposed Cebu Provincial Pilgrimages

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Church, Cebu City gov’t cancel key events of Sinulog 2021

Church, Cebu City gov’t cancel key events of Sinulog 2021

You can watch the livestream of the opening mass on Rappler here. –  

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Ryan Macasero

Ryan covers social welfare for Rappler. He started at Rappler as social media producer in 2013, and later took on various roles for the company: editor for the #BalikBayan section, correspondent in Cebu, and general assignments reporter in the Visayas region. He graduated from California State University, East Bay, with a degree in international studies and a minor in political science. Outside of work, Ryan performs spoken word poetry and loves attending local music gigs. Follow him on Twitter @ryanmacasero or drop him leads for stories at