Fiesta Señor, Sinulog 2024 preparations underway

John Sitchon

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Fiesta Señor, Sinulog 2024 preparations underway

Devotees gather outside the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu to witness the Traslacion on January 13, 2023.

Jacqueline Hernandez/Rappler

Cebu’s biggest religious and secular celebrations are coming back this January 2024 and are expected to attract a record number of people to the province

CEBU, Philippines – Preparations for the 459th Fiesta Señor and the 2024 Sinulog Festival have started as the Augustinian friars of the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño de Cebu and Cebu officials set out plans and schedules for these events.

Both celebrations will be held on January 21. 

“The theme of the 459th Fiesta Señor is Santo Niño: Magnet of Love in the Synodal Church. The attribute given to the Holy Child reflects our Lord as the center of our faith,” Fr. John Ion Miranda, the secretariat of the 2024 Fiesta Señor, said in a press conference on Wednesday, November 15.

Meanwhile, Sinulog Foundation Incorporated (SFI) executive director Elmer “Jojo” Labella said in a media forum on Tuesday, November 14, that the Sinulog celebration will be called “Sinulog sa Sugbo Philippines 2024”.

Labella said the Sinulog festival activities would still be held in the South Road Properties (SRP), a decision that drew negative feedback from the previous year’s attendees due to the area’s the lack of proper facilities and protection from the sun’s heat.

A majority of the religious activities for the Fiesta Señor will be held within the cities of Talisay, Mandaue, Cebu, and Lapu-Lapu. The activities include the Penitential Walk with Jesus, the Traslaciones, and theatrical reenactments of historical events in Cebu. 

Big changes 

Both processions of the Fiesta Señor and the parade route for the Sinulog festival are expected to change due to ongoing developments in the areas where these are traditionally held.

Miranda said that with the current construction work for the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit Project along Osmeña Boulevard, the traditional route of the solemn foot procession would have to be adjusted to ensure the safety of the devotees.

As for the Sinulog festival route, the SFI plans to use a 3.7-kilometer route in the SRP. This is longer than last year’s 2-kilometer route.

Labella said that they will also add more bleachers and facilities for better protection from the heat for festival-goers and performers in the SRP.

Celebration safety 

The announcements for the celebrations have also pushed the regional heads of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Philippine Coast Guard, and other security agencies to also review their security mechanisms and protocols.

According to Lieutenant Colonel Gerard Ace Pelare, spokesperson for the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO 7), around 19,000 security personnel, which include force multipliers, were utilized in the solemn processions the previous year.

For other activities, Pelare said, only 5,000 to 6,000 security forces were deployed.

“As of now, we are still going to conduct a threat assessment for each activity so we can identify the appropriate number [of personnel],” Pelare added in a mix of English and Cebuano. –

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