Few westerners are familiar with the Sinulog Festival.
Yet everyone in the Philippines knows when Cebu blocks off the streets and hangs the flags.
Two million residents, including overseas Filipinos, fly in for the nine-day festival.
Sinulog comes from the Cebuano word for “moving like the sea currents.” Indeed, some dancers in the grand parade do just that.
“Before the Spaniards came, before Ferdinand Magellan introduced Christianity to us, we were already doing, the natives before were doing the tribal dance, the Sinulog,” said resident Neri Patalinghub.
This homage to nature soon became reverence for Santo Nino, the baby Jesus.
“It’s like asking favors of Santo Nino, and in exchange for that, they will complete the nine-days mass,” Patalinghub explained.
“As a young girl, my parents, my grandparents take us every year,” said Hawaii resident Violeta Cabella Arnobit, who traveled to Cebu. “Sinulog means returning home for a pilgrimage. It’s a strong faith in us for the child Jesus, who provides really I would say refuge for all of us. He really is our source of faith, strength, guidance and wisdom, so I feel recharged every time I come home.”
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