A lot have criticized Christianity here in Cebu because of our festivities in honor of the Child Jesus because they claim it is a form of idolatry. I know. Everyone has their opinions. But I’m pretty much sure that people don’t put all of their faith on the image itself but the more we worship it the more it affirms their convictions. Let us just treat the image as an image and not God because the line is very much thinning.
But we all have God to thank that Cebu has been spared from a lot of disaster that has ravaged our neighbors: no typhoons and floods, no earthquakes and not much fires and most definitely not that affected by the financial crisis that has kept the world barely breathing. Economy here is pretty much alive and everyone can attest to that. So I think this celebration of ours makes sense as we have a lot to gratify and most of which are not merely protections but as well as blessings we have received all year round.
Sinulog happens every year and this is the third time I actually get to be a part of it because our school has made the initiative to gather resources for us to be part of the Grand Parade as contingents for the Street Dancing and Festival Dances. This years theme was Sinulog-based and surrounded on a short narrative that we are dancing to thank him for healing the religious lame. We dressed as Spanish-era people which is pretty much in contrast with what we do in the past. Boys wore these salakot hats which pretty much spared us from the moody weather conditions. Our first year, we were robots then a year after that, we became these tribal nomads.
This year was different.
We didn’t practice for long hours as we normally do and to note we finished our entire act within the span of two weeks. Even our dog is amazed by that. But anyway, it wasn’t easy. We had squabbles and fights while practicing as boiling points of people shoot up and different personalities clash to some extent and that’s the last thing we wanna entertain. We didn’t have much props and we couldn’t even make it to the required number of dancers. We came to challenge the idea of joining but when the school decides, we follow.
Then we ask ourselves why do we do this?
Some say it’s for marketing the school and some say it is an offering. Whatever it is, there wasn’t an official statement regarding that. But if it is for marketing reasons then we joined wrongly big time. For popularity, there are the higantes and the floats. Festival dancing is a totally different thing. It is a sacred. A form of art. A prayer. It is never a commercial.
But the biggest difference was that I was sick the whole 5.2KM ceremonial route. We have to dance these miles and maintain grace and coordination as the whole town came to the city to watch us. I was burning from fever and my head was spinning right round, as the song goes. But I have to do what I have to do and just put on my poker face when the beat starts and give this people a run for their money.
The only time that saves me are the break time. Not only are we served a lot of food and water by our school mates and teachers, which is something I thank for, but is also in these times I rest and literally I lay on the street. I put my props down and lie on top of it barely thinking of the mud that rain has caused. I took my meds but they couldn’t do any good. But one endorphin-inducer for me was when a lot of people, tourists or locales alike, came to us to ask to have their pictures taken with us during our lunch break. For some reason, it felt good.
The weather was moody. It started late because it rained and all of us had to retreat somewhere. But at noon it was blistering and I swear we were not as clothed, our skin could’ve boiled out. In the afternoon, rain clouds came back and this time meaner than ever. Now tell me, how could I not develop flu from that? (which I had even days after)
But what’s great about being part of all this is how close you can get to the local celebrities on their floats or merely just passing by. We saw Bong Revilla and Cesar Montano pass us by and here I am wondering how they just walk through the crowd and make a scene. What amazes me the most is that I never am a fan of local stars only when I actually get to see them. Star struck if you must know.
But anyway, Valerie Concepcion was the hardest to photograph as she was moving constantly when her float stopped beside us. Grrr. Belo Med Group’s float was beautiful like the stars they put on it namely: Lucy Torres(her complexion can be seen from space), Derek Ramsey, Claudine Barretto(very demure and surprisingly very beautiful and I didn’t expect she was gonna be there, so when she turned at me, she was the one I was referring to when I mentioned star struck earlier), Mateo Guidicelli (I know he’s older but he looked he was trapped in a baby’s skin). And oh, there was Belo’s daughter Crystal standing, maybe to gain more attention as the rest of them were sitting or she has offered her seat to that old guy I did not recognize. What is it with stars that make you cry for envy? Is it because you couldn’t buy what they’re wearing or they look so flawless you have to urge to find something wrong? Anyway, it pleases my eyes to stare at them and I’m pretty much sure no one would have a problem with that too.
What’s also different this year is that fireworks from the two major malls can be seen from where our new school building stands in Mabolo. We were able to enjoy the longest fireworks from the fireworks competition in SM Northwing Saturday night and the Ayala Mall Sinulog Sunday night, but missed it.
What’s also different is that I had the time and the courage to have my first henna tattoo. And you are lucky if you know what it stands for.
We don’t mind if we have the longest Christmas in the world, spanning as early the ‘Ber months up to the third Sunday of January. Baby Jesus have a special place in our hearts. Cebu has the most colorful history and to be part of some thing this culture enriching experience is such an honor and all this in part of professing our love for Jesus the best way we know how.
My Ultimate Sinulog Experience and Different Reflections
My Ultimate Sinulog Experience and Different Reflections
Jaysee John R. Pingkian
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