Friday, January 8, 2010

Sinulog 2010 Launching Parade

First time… and I liked it! Now that I live in this city (at least since April and am not sure until when), I got to experience their launching parade (opening salvo)! When you’re not from here, you seldom get to watch this as it is still way too far from the main celebration which is the 3rd Sunday of the month (17th), its only the 8th today.

Per schedule, there was supposed to be a 2PM mass at the Baslica Minore, then 3PM the parade would go from there towards Jones Ave (yes, that’s Osmena Ave now) heading north, turn around at the Fuente O and back to Abellana (yes, Cebu Sports Complex). We waited to watch for it at the corner of Urgello. Whatever time it actually started, it never came to view until 4:22PM.

The parade route is never closed until the parade is about to pass. Nice – since it affects a Friday afternoon rush hour just at the minimum.Oh here are two pictures taken as the parade approached where we stood (annotations are c/o my companions and the waiters watching me do this hehe)

The entire route is dotted with too many ‘mobile sound systems’ sporting those big big speakers that makes your ribcage vibrate as you pass by – even if you’re in a closed air-conditioned vehicle. I still say Iloilo is mightiest when it comes to this thing, but Cebu’s today was just too many. They were positioned at about 20 (perhaps even less) meters from each other and on whatever side of the road. Hey, if the Sinulog foundation paid for these, that was more than necessary. But if those were voluntary, OMG, they are just too many. Probably because the route today was just about a quarter of the usual carousel route. Not that I don’t like them, but at times the music from three or four would all be hearing distance to wherever you are – so when the parade is not yet around, you hear at least 3 or 4 different kinds of tunes all at the same time and you are never sure to which beat you want to thump with hehe!

Warning: don’t just sit indoors waiting for the police cars to pass by that ceremoniously announces the parade. In this one, there is none. Just about 2 or 3 officers in those big motorcycles not even constantly sounding their sirens. Don’t wait for the contingents’ drums too, there is none! The groups dance to the tune of the festival’s theme song blared simultaneously by those very loud speakers. Why am I saying this is a warning? Well, we had company who went into a not-on-the-roadside restaurant thinking they’d hear the above indicators for them to run back to the road hehe. They missed about half of the parade. Merese!

First in the parade are men in race bicycles – it’s a racing club. A lot of them, but unlike in the Kadayawan where there are a thousand fold more lot of them hehe! This one was so-so but interestingly, was composed of old men. I think there was none or a few who would be in their 40s. Most were older than that. Interesting! Oh yes, as they were all lined on both sides of the road, in the middle walked the officers of Sinulog Foundation and those in charge of the festivities. After them followed a multitude of Philippine flags (am sure there is a meaning to the number but I did not ask) carried by boy and girl scouts.

Following the flags was Miss Cebu 2009 and this year’s contestants wearing Filipiniana gowns, each riding her own Tartanilla (Kalesa). Yep, in most of the Visayas, those horse-drawn carriages are called Tartanillas! Interesting too that one of those guiding the horses was a woman! Whoa!

Then the contingents. Only 14 of them. All come from the various universities and schools of the province. All were in their beautiful Filipiniana costumes, all dancing to the tune of the Sinulog theme and all were smiling. Interesting, and not too tiring to watch, as they are few – in Sinulog standards, that is! Performers were not just students. Some were teachers and employees of their respective learning institutions. But most of these groups were actually their very own dance companies – thus, the fluid movements and the smiles!

Oh, those men in pink barongs and women in bright red gowns were a crowd favourite! They earned the most number of cheers from parade spectators and at the final performance area. In fact, the succeeding universities were cheered loudly by their classmates if only to outdo the public’s initial cheers to the red ladies! Ang saya saya!

Hmm, final performance? This is not a contest by the way. Just a ceremonious announcement that the Sinulog 2010 is on. So on arrival, the Mayor was just asked to say something then the handsome Vice Mayor (also Sinulog foundation Chairman) welcomed everyone, thanked and congratulated the performers and that’s it. The groups each regaled the big crowd with their short dances – just about 2 minutes or so per group.

Crowd? Well, along the parade route, the number of people I saw was a lot but they’d probably be just a 10th or even enormously less than what one would encounter during the actual Sinulog parade. At the Sports Center, hmm, filled to capacity with a lot of spills below (at the tracks). This launching finale has no entrance fee, that’s why! After the program, everyone was enjoined to troop to the Fuente O, where the actual opening ceremonies started plus the presentation of the Miss Cebu candidates and kick-off too of ‘Cebu Idol’.

But I went lowbatt! So dinner was in order… we got curious and tried Pakal’s. There are acoustics bands playing and we were informed that’s from Wednesdays to Sundays. After Pakal’s, we just found we were at 22nd St. laughing with those bruhas hehe! The night ended at Brew’s Point where I am writing this hehe!

Okay, more pics below, just click each to make them bigger:
(as usual, email or comment on this article if you want the individual hi-res pics)

Note too, the final performance was late afternoon towards evening – which I was sure would have been futile if I still clicked pictures. The venue crews did not switch those lights early on. Maybe none of them have realized yet that a lowly digital camera is blinder than the actual human eye. Anyway, nothing more to snap, I played with the video function of my camera and here they are – poor vids but good enough for the memory of what beautiful show there was! And that was just the launching affair! Whew!


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