After cancellation of physical events, virtual Sinulog postponed too

Ryan Macasero
After cancellation of physical events, virtual Sinulog postponed too

SINULOG. Dancers compete in the 2020 Sinulog

Gelo Litonjua/Rappler file photo

The Cebu City government cites the post-holiday spike in COVID-19 cases

The Cebu City government and the Sinulog Foundation Incorporated have decided to postpone the virtual ritual showdown, the highlight of the Sinulog Festival, which was scheduled for Sunday, January 17.

“With the latest data of COVID-19, there is a spike and we don’t want to add to that anymore,” Cebu City Vice Mayor Mike Rama told Rappler in a phone interview on Saturday, January 9.

“With the postponement, the city can focus on the contact tracing of the new cases,” he added.

The postponement comes amid a post-holiday spike in COVID-19 cases in Cebu City, with 104 cases in a single week, numbers not seen since the city was placed on modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) – the least restrictive quarantine status – in September.

The city hopes to reschedule the dance competition in April during the quincentennial celebration of Christianity in the Philippines, according to Rama. This would depend on whether the pandemic situation would allow physical events at the time, the vice mayor added. 

All physical Sinulog 2021 festival events cancelled

Earlier on Saturday, the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño announced that only Cebu City residents with quarantine passes would be allowed to enter the Church grounds. Its capacity is also limited to only 1,000 churchgoers. 

Live streams were also set up around Cebu for residents who are unable to view the masses from home.

There are no plans to cancel the fiesta’s Masses, although all major festival events were already canceled 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.

The Emergency Operations Center of the local government said they would recommend the strict enforcement of quarantine passes, curfew, increasing the number of checkpoints around the city, and the arrest of and imposition of fines on health protocol violators. 

From 101 cases on Christmas Day, December 25, 2020, the city is back to over 331 active cases as of this posting. –

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Ryan Macasero

Ryan covers Cebu and the Visayas for Rappler. He covers all news in the region, but is particularly interested in people stories, development issues and local policy making.