fiestas and festivals

Thousands witness 48th Sinulog de Kabankalan opening salvo

Reymund Titong

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Thousands witness 48th Sinulog de Kabankalan opening salvo

SADSAD. Sea of devotees of Santo Niu00f1o flock to the city public square of Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental, to join the religious sadsad on January 12, 2024

Reymund Titong

This year’s festival will run for 10 days, leading to the January 21 festivity

NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, Philippines – Around 6,000 people witnessed the opening salvo of the 48th Sinulog de Kabankalan festival at the city public square of Kabankalan City on Friday, January 12.

Captain Joeland Vinson, Kabankalan City deputy chief of police, said the numbers were based on their ground assessment after throngs flocked to the southern city to witness one of the most celebrated festivals in Negros Occidental.

Vinson said that the opening salvo of the festival was generally peaceful and assured all visitors that they were closely monitoring the peace and order situation to ensure the smooth celebration of the 48th edition of the Sinulog festival.

This year’s festival will run for 10 days, leading to the January 21 festivity.

Compared to previous years, there were changes in the schedule of events, including the pyro-musical competition where 10 participating groups from other cities and towns in the country are expected to join, said Kabankalan City tourism officer-designate Randy Siason.

Sinulog de Kabankalan has a counterpart celebration in Cebu City, and their schedules fall almost on the same dates.

“Sinulog” comes from the Cebuano word “Sulog,” which means movement like that of the river current. It is a nod to the dance steps used during rituals devoted to the Señor Santo Niño.

Kabankalan City Mayor Benjie Miranda formally opened the start of the 10-day festival, which was followed by a fireworks display. Various competitions and local bands gave a preview of what activities to expect for the entire duration of the festivity.

Celebrities Rayver Cruz, Martin del Rosario, Liezel Lopez, and Jenniffer Maravilla spiced up the opening salvo as they entertained the city’s residents and visitors.


The religious sadsad in Kabankalan is usually held on the opening day of the 10-day festivity at the city public square, just adjacent to the St. Francis Xavier Cathedral.

Sadsad is a Visayan term that means “stomping of the feet,” in which devotees dance and pray their intentions along Guanzon Street in the city while carrying images of the Holy Child.

St. Francis Xavier Cathedral’s Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) president Bernadette Ayala told Rappler that the tradition has been in existence for centuries. This stemmed from the botched assault of pirates on coastal residents, who believed that it was the Santo Niño who saved them.

Since then, residents held the Sinulog festival to honor the Holy Child. Villages form groups in colorful costumes and paint their bodies black while dancing on the streets, accompanied by drum beats, to thank their patron saint.

As participating groups dance, the community unites in a shared prayer for blessings of the Holy Child, Ayala said.

Ayala also invited the younger generation to delve into the history of the Sinulog in the southern city, as it is what makes the celebration more significant.

The first of the nine-day novena mass was led by Bishop Louie Galbines on Friday, leading to the feast of Santo Niño on January 21. A fluvial parade and procession of the image of the Holy Child will be held on that day, Ayala said.

One of the most anticipated events is the Sinulog street dance and arena competition, where 10 groups are expected to compete on January 21. Millions of pesos worth of prizes await the winners of this year’s Sinulog festival, Kabankalan city public information head Jake Gonzales told local reporters. –

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