Sinulog 2014 Diary: Bright lights, big city
For the youth and for years now, the Sinulog Festival in Cebu held third week of January is as much about honoring the patron Sto. Niño as it is about revelry on the streets for days on end.
Last week, GlobeTelecom had Bulletin Entertainment join its activities amid the festivities in the Queen City of the South. We ended up painting the town red with shouts of “Pit Senyor!” at every stop and from every corner, singing at the top of our lungs and dancing to music served up by renowned DJs, and seeing double with dead ringers of Marian Rivera, Sam Pinto and Nicki Minaj leading the crowd into merry mayhem.
Jan. 16, Cebu I.T. Park, Globe Neon Carnival
A village-like attraction built on a vacant lot featuring food carts, drink stations, interactive game booths and topnotch entertainment highlighted by a “Kalokalike” contest, this opening salvo was a roaring event, with Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama and Globe Retail Transformation and Management Head Joe Caliro leading the ribbon cutting ceremony.
By sun down, many of the visitors (mostly students and yuppies) had food and cup of drink in hand (free for Globe subscriber) and they were milling about like bees in a flower field. Pulsating dance music that can be heard a block away and intelligent lights that zapped the skyline beckoned to people in droves most of whom when they come, would whip out their phones and text family and friends to come and check out the scene with them – and fast!
Or the early birds took pictures of the proceedings and posted these on social media which seemed to be de rigueur mode of subtle invitation. It seems to work because by the time dinner was over, the place was packed. It is said that the four-day carnival chalked up 31,000 plus attendees.
Then again, who can resist the hourly raffles (Tattoo Swatch Watches and Cloudfone handset lang naman) and seeing the roving Globe Store a.k.a. Globe Mobility Store-On-The-Go? Where there’s prizes and the latest roster of gadgets, expect a mob. An Instagram contest was announced and past midnight, DJ Eric Capili took the wheel and had the partygoers gyrating to the beat as if pants were on fire.
Spotted dancing booty off were the invited “Kalokalike” finalists themselves who had rendered numbers prior. As they say, work hard, party harder. Pit Senyor!
Jan. 17, Cebu Boardwalk, Lifedance Party
We thought we were late arriving at the venue past 10:30 but once we saw the looong lines, we knew things were just beginning to heat up. There was a nation of people out there that members of our group lost each other several times no matter how hard we tried to remain together. If not for our phones and the strong signal (Globe, of course, wink, wink), it would’ve been impossible regrouping.
Positioned from the VIP section on the second level of this reclamation area in Mandaue City, we had a good view of how featured DJs Chris Lake, Starkillers, Bobina commanded the crowd using their turntables. How the people cheered upon hearing their favorite songs (the response to David Guetta’s “Titanium,” Martin Solveig’s “Hello” and Zed’s “Clarity” can wake up the dead)! How they pumped it up with friends and even with the complete strangers beside them as neon and strobe lights and the illumination from fireworks covered sweaty, exuberant faces! How the drinks and laughter flowed! It was good vibes all the way – like starring in some ridiculously chaotic Ke$ha music video.
Many boys came in shorts and sandos. Most girls came in sneakers and short shorts or skirts. These were the uniform. All stayed, worked the dance floor with attitude, and took photos of themselves and with their friends using phone cam past 4 a.m.
As special treat, the 22,000 attendees were first to see the new Huawei Ascend G526 LTE first launched in Cebu at the Sinulog. Pit Senyor!
Jan. 18, Free Day
Had we stuck to the itinerary, this is how the so-called “Vesperas” would’ve gone: 6 a.m., Fluvial Procession of the Miraculous Image of Sto. Nino; 9 a.m., Re-enactment of the Baptism of Queen Juana and Rajah Humabon at Basilica del Sto. Nino; 2 p.m. Solemn Procession of the Miraculous Image of Sto. Niño; 7 p.m., Sinulog Fireworks Competition and Street Party at Fuente Osmena and Plaza Independencia; and 10:30 p.m., Performance by DJ Pharm from Guam and DJ Clyde Harris from Australia.
But because we were up late the previous night, we got to hit the streets only after lunch time. We went to Basilica del Sto. Nino and heard part of the mass outside (it was as far as we could go given the throng blocking all entrances from a mile away). On the streets were colorful Sinulog masks, various Sto. Nino idols, Cebu longganisa on grills that wafted yum, candle offerings and stacks of corns and fishballs. People bearing Sto. Niños were on their way to somewhere and nowhere, jostling each other and sidestepping moving vehicles unless they get squashed. It was freewheeling ambience, real holiday mood everywhere. Our company had to give up seeing Magellan’s Cross, though, but, well, there’s Sinulog next year, anyway, so better luck then.
Because everyone seemed to be where we were, we had a hard time flagging down a cab even when we had walked all the way to historical Colon Street to get one. Fortunately, our companion based here managed to sweet talk a driver into taking us to a mall where the fireworks competition was to be held.
Dinner consisted of lechon, the nth time we had one in Cebu. After that, some of us went home with bags full of danggit, chicharon, otap and other favorite pasalubong choices. The rest partied the night away with their friends based in Cebu or ones they had just made then and there. Pit Senyor!
Jan. 19, Ayala Terraces, ElektroMundo 2014
Prior to the EletroMundo party co-presented by Tattoo, we got the chance to experience the famed street party downtown at dusk. There was already a sea of young people when we came and by the time we left, we were pretty sure our last name was already “Pit Senyor” what with the thousand times people shouted it to our faces when we passed by.
It was an exhilarating experience: people were drinking and dancing on the streets; wiping paint on each other and even complete stranger’s faces and other body parts all in the name of good fun; sharing stories loudly and just horsing around, preening and playing. It is said that a telltale sign that you’ve not gone to this street party at all is if you come home immaculate or not being LSS-ed (last song syndrome) by the “Pit Senyor” dance tune that seem to follow you like a shadow.
At Ayala Terraces as clock struck 10 p.m., Globe Telecom unleashed its new Tattoo brand ambassador DJ Mars Miranda, who took the level of party fun to new heights. While it was a by-invitation event, mallgoers outside the barricades witnessed the whole thing meaning seeing people (including celebs Rovilson Fernandez, Laureen Uy and Martin del Rosario) carousing like the beat won’t stop ‘till the break of dawn. Out of sheer excitement (or maybe it was the alcohol that did it), a few brave souls mounted the stage and did impromptu solo dance to the delight of the tipsy crowd. It’s so ‘80s but indeed they just put their hands in the air and waved it like they just don’t care!
That night, there were grand fireworks somewhere, a Kalokalike championship in another party of the city, and a concert at another venue. Such is Sinulog.
From a first-timer like us, this is message sent-message received, loud and clear:
It’s sensational four-day Sinulog romp no one would ever want any other way. Pit Senyor!
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