By Lesley Caminadevestil and Minerva BC Newman
Cebu City –Sinulog 2018 is going to be “a very big production that could be compared to Hollywood movies,” Mayor Tomas Osmena exclaimed during the grand opening of festival Friday at the Cebu City Sports Center.
“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,” Osmena said.
He said he was the most nervous person in Cebu City now “because if anything happens, I will accept the responsibility.”
He praised the people behind the Sinulog Foundation who are helping him make this year’s festival a huge success.
In a Facebook post, the mayor said his goal is to make this year’s Sinulog safe and orderly enough for people to feel secure to bring their children to next year festivities.
“The Sinulog is about the Sto. Nino. The Sto. Nino 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. Nino is Cebu,” he said.
Stephanie Villarica, chief marketing and promotions of Sinulog Foundation, said earlier that all activities will be held at Plaza Independencia, while the Fuente Osmena Circle will be an open picnic area where the public can set up tents and stalls.
There will be a farmers’ market, food bazaar, tartanilla rides, nightly concerts with performers from Manila such as Parokya ni Edgar. All cultural shows from schools and universities are also held at the Plaza, Villarica said.
“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 Osmena Circle,” she said.
“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 generations, from the grandparents to the children and the millennials, too. The theme song video is posted online,” Villarica said.
Jess de la Cruz, Sinulog 2018 program head, said the organizers are using digital and LED technology in all stage production numbers to minimize the use of props that occupy so much space in the parade route and on the stage.
The route of the grand parade on January 21, Sinulog Day, has been shortened and the event is expected to finish by 5 p.m.
De la Cruz said there will be 32 dancing contingents, 40 floats and five contingents from Panglao, Catbalogan, Abuyog, Cotabato and Daanbantayan.
There will also be 20 contingents from Cebu City barangays and those that competed in the Sinulog sa Lalawigan that included Naga City, Ginatilan, Talisay, Carcar and Daanbantayan.
To see to it that revelers dispose of their trash properly, 221 Barangay Environmental Officers and volunteers will be issuing citation tickets to littering spectators. Violators who cannot pay the P500 fine will have to do community service.
During Sinulog last year, more than 155 tons of garbage were collected.
About 100 shipping containers arrived at the Compania Maritima compound Cebu City that will converted to sleeping quarters for devotees from out of town who could not book accommodations at hotels and inns.