Despite loss of Dancers, Catbalogan decides to join Cebu Sinulog Extravaganza

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Samar contingent to push through

The contingent with 94 dancers and close to a hundred instrumentalists and props men from Catbalogan City is scheduled to arrive in Cebu next week to participate in the annual Sinulog Grand Parade, Street Dancing and Contest. For the first time, Catbalogan, premier city of Samar, decides to join Cebu City well-known colourful Sinulog Festival, and despite the nightmarish loss of some of its dancers to Typhoon Seniang’s spawned Barangay Mercedes December 30th landslide, the contingent is still eager to represent Samar Province, as reported by Razel V. Cuizon in
Source: Cebu SINULOG FESTIVAL 2015 Schedule of Activities. As a religious celebration, it is also the time of the year where millions of local and foreign visitors, tourists and devotees flock to the Queen City of

Loss of performers

Indeed, it’s lamentable the fact that, after almost three months of rigorous practice, three of the contingent dancers and one instrumentalist will not make it to Cebu on Jan. 18. Rico Carcellar, Cayl Jigs del Rosario and Rafael Tafalla died during a landslide in Barangay Mercedes in Catbalogan City last Dec. 30, in the midst of rains brought by tropical storm Seniang.
“Kuwang na gyod akong mga dancers pero kinahanglan gihapon mi nga mopadayon sa among performance (We will miss some dancers but we have to continue with our performance),” choreographer Janel Maynar told Sun.Star Cebu.
One of their instrumentalists, Alaiza Lozada, likewise perished during the same catastrophy.
Source: Dec. 30, 2014 landslide victims of Brgy. Mercedes (Burak), Catbalogan City, Samar, Philippines, being offered mass, prayers and flowers; heavy and continuous downpour brought about by TS Seniang spawned this landslide and other places as well /

Empty spaces

But instead of recruiting fresh dancers in lieu of the three, Maynar said the group has decided not to fill their spaces up but to leave them blank.
“Tungod kay kalit-kalit man ilang pagka-wala ug way nagdahom sa ilang kamatayon kahibaw ko nga naglantaw ra gyod sila namo maong gipadayon ni namo. (Because of their sudden death which nobody could foretell, I know they’ll be watching over us. This is why we must perform and the show must go on as a fitting tribute for them, Maynar said.)
Maynar said that on the night before the landslide, the three captured the team’s attention by telling amusing stories to them.. They were supposed to practice that night, but Maynar cancelled it because of the heavy downpour. Instead of rehearsing, they gathered in the Catbalogan City Hall, where they had dinner. On their way home, Maynar said, Cayl Jigs and Rafael decided to sleep over in Rico’s house, which was in Barangay Mercedes.
“Didto sila natoog pero kung ni-uli pa unta to ang duha wa hibaw-i nga buhi pa unta sila.” (There they slept, who knows, if the two had decided to go home, they might still be alive today), Maynar said.
Despite their loss, the group resumed rehearsals immediately after the New Year holidays.
Source: / The Sinulog Festival is celebrated every 3rd week of January in Cebu City, in honor Sto.Nino (Child Christ).

11 out-of-town contingents

Eleven out-of-town contingents are expected to join the festival, which include Catbalogan City in Samar, Alang-alang in Leyte, Ormoc City, Abuyog in Leyte, Tangub City, Sultan Kudarat in North Cotabato, Lanao del Norte, Province of Masbate, Placer in Masbate, Panglao in Bohol and Sibulan in Negros Oriental.
Source: Sinulog Festival Queen 2014 Winners, Cebu Festivals: Ms. Luvina Joy Bullanday - Panglao, Bohol /

Sinulog organizers ready

Organizers of Sinulog 2015 said they are now ready for the contingents’ arrival and the week-long festivities.
Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) Executive Director Ricky Ballesteros said they are targeting January 9 to finish preparations, including the stage, the largest ever built for the Sinulog, with a space of 17.6 by 64 meters.
Bad weather, including three typhoons since November, hindered some preparations, but Ballesteros is hopeful they will accomplish their target on time.
The Sinulog is on its 35th year, and grander performances are expected during the parade and its grand finale, Ballesteros said.
About 1,000 dancers from different colleges and universities will perform during the finale, against a backdrop akin to the altar in the Basilica del Sto. Niño
Source: Official Website of Basilica Del Sto Niño Cebu/ Sinulog Organizer/

From the website, here’s a glimpse of what the festival is all about:

Sinulog Festival is a cultural and religious practice held annually on the 3rd Sunday of January in honor of St.Nino in Cebu City, Philippines. It’s one of the most colorful festivals in the Philippines. Fundamentally, it’s a dance ritual which depicts the Filipino people's pagan past and their recognition of Christianity.
The festival features some of the country's most colorful displays of ceremony and pageantry; participants clothe in varicolored costumes dance to the rhythm of drums and native gongs. The streets are generally lined with visitors, tourists, pedestrians and vendors all wanting to get a glimpse of the street-dancing.
The Festival starts at dawn with a fluvial parade from Madaue wharf to Cebu City wharf with the Sto. Nino borne on a pump boat decorated pompously with flowers and candles, ending at the Basilica where a re-enactment of the Christianization of Cebu follows. In the afternoon, a more formal procession takes place along the major streets of the city, which last for hours due to large crowd participating in the religious event.
On the feast day, at the Basilica, a Pontifical Mass is held, given by the Cardinal with the assistance of several bishops of Cebu. The majority of the city’s population and devotees would flock to the Basilica to attend the mass before heading out to the streets to watch the Parade.
Candle vendors at the Basilica continue to perform the traditional version of the dance when lighting a candle for the customer, usually accompanied by songs in the native language.
Sinulog comes from the Visayan word “sulog” which means “water current” which describes the forward-backward movement of the Sinulog dance. Traditionally, the dance consists of two steps forward and one step backward, done to the sound of the drums.
Source: Cebu City Sinulog Fluvial Procession/

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
6th Jan 2015 (#)

Great share N C Radomes, Filipinos enjoy the many festivals with relish and deep faith. Sorry to hear that few central figures lost their lives. Happy New Year - siva

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author avatar Utah Jay
10th Jan 2015 (#)

Yes indeed, a great share for a man of faith like myself...Thank you.

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author avatar n.c.radomes
11th Jan 2015 (#)

MARK, as usual your help is greatly appreciated.
SIVA, happy new year in return and wishing you more success in your endeavors.
UTAH, happy to see you drop by and wishing you more success in the days to come.

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