By Lesley Caminade Vestil and Minerva BC Newman
CEBU CITY – “All systems go for Sinulog 2018!” This is going to be a very big production even compared to Hollywood movies,” Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña proudly informed the spectators during the grand opening of Sinulog 2018 Friday afternoon at the Cebu City Sports Center.
Osmeña as the chairman of the Sinulog Foundation asked Cebuanos and spectators to be more vigilant in throwing their garbage and maintaining the cleanliness of the city.
“On behalf of the Sinulog Foundation of which I’m the chairman and as your mayor of Cebu City, we have officially announced the opening so please cooperate and tell your friends let’s keep the city clean, aside from being peaceful, let’s keep the city clean,” Osmeña said.
The mayor said he is the most nervous person in Cebu City now. “Because if anything happens, I will accept the responsibility.” He then praised all volunteers, dancers and the people behind the Sinulog Foundation who helped him in making this Sinulog celebration a success.
Osmeña in his Facebook post said it is his goal to make this year’s Sinulog so safe and orderly that people will feel secure enough to bring their children next year.
“The Sinulog is about the Sto. Niño. The Sto. Niño is a child. I want our children to grow up with this embedded in their culture, just as we did. The Sinulog is Cebu. The Sto. Niño is Cebu,” the mayor stated.
Changes in this year’s Sinulog program
Stephanie Villarica, chief marketing and promotions officer of the Sinulog Foundation told the media in an earlier presscon that all activities and events for the Sinulog 2018 are held at the Plaza Independencia while the Fuente Osmeña Circle is an open picnic area for the public to set up tents, stalls and the like.
According to her, there are farmers’ market, food bazaar, Tartanilla ride, nightly concerts with performers and artists coming from Manila and other places such as Parokya ni Edgar and many more. All cultural shows from schools and universities are also held at the Plaza, Villarica added.
“We made changes to this year’s Sinulog activities. For one, the Plaza Independencia is now the venue of all programs/activities, it used to be at the Fuente Osmeña Circle,” she said.
To cater to the millennials and to Filipinos all over the world, we strengthen the presence of online content in our website at www. Sinulog.ph, in Facebook and in all other social media platforms. All announcements, activities, programs, photos and videos are posted online, Villarica added.
“We also made some slight twist to the Sinulog Theme Song to bring back the essence of the Santo Niño in the Sinulog. It is for all generation from the grandparents to the children and the millennials, too. The theme song video is posted online,” Villarica shared.
Jess de la Cruz, Sinulog 2018 program head, on the other hand also told the media that this year the organizers are introducing the use of digital and LED technology in all stage production numbers to minimize the use of props that occupy so much spaces in the parade route and on the stage.
De la Cruz went on that the Sinulog sa Kabataan is now incorporated in the Sinulog sa Lalawigan where all youth groups in towns can participate and no more school-based category. The Sinulog parade route on January 21 (Sinulog Day) is no longer a carousel but a serial parade hence it is a shorter route and we hope to finish by 5 p.m.
According to de la Cruz there are 32 dancing contingents, 40 floats and five contingents from out-of-town–from Panglao, Catbalogan, Abuyog, Cotabato and Daanbantayan. There are also 20 contingents from Cebu City barangays and those that competed in the Sinulog sa Lalawigan that included Naga City, Ginatilan, Talisay-Carcar and Daanbantayan.
“Basura Watch 2018” Cleanliness campaign during Sinulog
As Osmeña asked spectators, locals and foreign to maintain cleanliness in the City during Sinulog, Cebu City Environmental and Natural Resources (CCENRO) created a campaign that would help and educate everyone to dispose their garbage properly.
“Basura Watch 2018” is a cleanliness campaign during the Sinulog. It is a way of helping and teaching spectators local or tourist on the proper disposal of their garbage in the right locations.
CCENRO head Nida Cabrera told the media there are 221 barangay environmental officers and volunteers who will be issuing citation tickets to spectators, locals or any person who would throw their garbage anywhere.
Cabrera said when you are caught throwing wastes anywhere, the violators have to pay P500 fine and if they cannot pay they will do community service.
According to Cabrera, there will be seven sectors where Eco-stations are set up. Sector 1 is in the areas from Central Bank to Osmeña Boulevard; Sector 2 is from Bradford to Crown Regency; Sector 3 is from Metro Bank to Rajah Park; Sector 4 is from Robinsons to Fooda; Sector 5 is from USC Boys High to VECO; Sector 6 is from Carreta Cemetery to Day-as Barangay Hall and Sector 7 is from D. Jakosalem Street to ACT.
Cabrera is positive that with the “Basura Watch” there will be less garbage this year because in 2017 Sinulog, they collected more than 155 tons of garbage from the Sinulog festivities.
Meanwhile, about 100 container vans arrived in Compania Maritima, Cebu City to accommodate devotees from other areas in the Philippines.
Though it’s a smaller space but the Department of Public Services manages to find ways to accommodate the transient devotees which they expected the numbers to increase this year but they always manage to accommodate them all.