Viva Pit Señor! — The cry that echoes festivity in the heart of Filipino people. From explosions of vivid colors, aesthetic feasts from the fleet of floats, stellar choreographies, to the chants hollering in unison — these are just a few of Sinulog’s festive offerings!

Through the years, Sinulog plays an integral role in the culture of Filipino art of merrymaking — especially for Cebuanos. This joyful celebration takes place in the city streets of Cebu, held on the third Sunday every January. Sinulog, as a divine creed of Christianity, is glorified to express devotion and reverence to the Child King (baby Jesus)  — the Señor Santo Niño.

Historically, the festival personifies the story of how pagan people embraced the Christian religion, which solemnly depicted through the dance rituals and colorful parades. Since then on, Sinulog became an annum hallmark that celebrates Cebuanos’ collective success of a fruitful year and provincial progression. With this, Sinulog has become the biggest and grandest festival in the country.

Sinulog – By Roots and Origin

In the local terms of Cebuano dialect, the word “Sinulog” is translated as “graceful dance.” Etymologically, the word is derived from the Cebuano adverb “sulog” which roughly means “water current” of the Pahina river in Cebu province. Interestingly, the sulog is metaphorically mimicked through the rippling dynamic movements of the Sinulog worship dance choreography.

Through the Eyes of People

Sinulog is heeded as the most prestigious festival in the entire Philippine archipelago. The kaleidoscopic spectacle is widespread and acclaimed not only by the local communities but as well as the foreign travelers across the globe.

As we see, millions of people are clustering together in anticipation to partake in the lively celebration. Fun-filled activities are manifested throughout the metropolitan areas as part of the annual festivity.

In the hype of the culmination, various Sinulog keepsakes such as key-chains and printed shirts are sold around the city corners by various enterprising groups. Dazzling smiles from spectators — locales, tourists, media practitioners, and bloggers — aglow upon the streets as they buzz around to witness the grandeur.

Sinulog is a full-scale celebration — a spectrum of fun-filled activities such as concerts, cultural shows, and street parades also come about throughout the month-long celebration.

“Sinulog is the time for colorful costumes, fireworks, street fairs and rings with cries of Viva Pit Señor! Sinulog is all about keeping the faith of the Holy Child, the time to give thanks to the abundance of blessings and seek for guidance.” — Luigie Dedel, a local devotee of Sinulog Festival.

The prismatic Sinulog event never ceases to amaze the general public. The bird’s eye view of a Sinulog performance is bleeding with charming visuals and perpetual enthusiasm. Grandiose colorful costumes are cosplayed by the flamboyant performers. While whirling their vibrant props, dancers are seen syncing in a unique and dynamic choreography, which reenacts the tradition of Sinulog ritual. Lulling cheers of “Viva Pit Señor” are heard in conjunction while they groove as a pledge of adoration.

Flashing a blissful smile, a jubilant woman in front of the troupe of dancers wave the icon of the Santo Niño. This specific element of the choreography is a reenactment of Queen Amihan (the spouse of Rajah, the former king of Cebu) who had obtained the figure of Sto. Nino. These concerted details are all drawn over the rhythm of the drums, trumpets and overall musical ensemble as an auditory treat to match the visual presentation.

“Sinulog is a celebration which makes me proud as a Cebuano! It’s a culture ingrained in my blood. This cultural and religious festival is a time where we give honor to Santo Niño.”Emmanuel Rosani

For some, huge crowds can trigger anxiety, but the devotees’ smiles on their faces speak otherwise. Despite the uncertain weather condition — of raining or shining — these people take time in joining the novena masses and long processions. Standing in the middle of the packed crowd can be a daunting thing to do, but for these folks, foot pains are nothing as long as they stand stalwart to offer worship.

photo by @orangetang –

These people, from different walks of life, have stories to tell. Stories of sheer gratitude and wisdom confined to hearts and dedicate their commitment to patronage after all the benediction received. Sinulog is a testimony of strong faith to the holy icon of the Santo Niño.

As time goes by, Sinulog festival has solidified its legacy as a timeless religious celebration. Despite the secularity exhibit by the contemporary advances, the festival’s religious roots will forever resound and upheld.

Sinulog – for Enterprising Minds

With undisputed tourism following, Sinulog contributes a tremendous impact on the country’s tourism. As a commercial public spectacle, Sinulog has helped various entrepreneurial establishments and organizations boom their business while promoting the country’s rich culture.

Sinulog has proven its virtue in putting the people together — not only for its religious heritage but also for its inherent symbolism of patriotism.