Cebu’s Sinulog Festival gets international recognition

CEBU CITY—This city’s Sinulog Festival has been chosen by the International Events and Festivals Association (IFEA) Korea as one of the Top Three Ocean Cities’ Festivals.

The award will be conferred at the Ocean Tourism Festival City Forum in Tongyeong City, Korea on March 25.

IFEA Korea is recognized as an authority on Asian festivals specializing in research and the collection of practical knowledge on cultural celebrations. The association organizes activities such as conferences and competitions to discover excellence and creativity in festival events throughout the region.

IFEA Asia President Gang Hoan Jeong has invited Department of Tourism (DOT) Korea Office Director Ma. Corazon Jorda-Apo to make a 15-minute presentation about Sinulog during the forum.

Gang specified that Tongyeong is interested in a cooperative arrangement with Cebu for knowledge-sharing towards further developing both cities as tourist destinations.

The Sinulog Festival was nominated for the awards through a global selection process. Recommendations were received from the branches of the World Festival Association in America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Domestic festival experts then voted on a set of finalists from which the members of IFEA Korea selected the winners.

Sharing the honor with Sinulog this year are the Pattaya Fireworks Festival of Thailand and Hansan Battle Festival of Tongyeong.

Last year’s winners were the Boryeong Mud Festival of Korea, Songkran Festival in Thailand and Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival in China.

Sinulog is the ritual prayer-dance honoring the Señor Sto. Niño. It is an annual cultural and religious celebration that peaks with fluvial and foot processions and on the third Sunday of January, a grand parade.

The first Sinulog grand parade was held in 1980. The festival has since evolved into the Philippines’s biggest event hosting millions for the series of activities commemorating the 16th century arrival of the Spanish fleet in Cebu and the first baptism on Philippine soil.

DOT-Central Visayas Regional Director Shahlimar Hofer Tamano described the award as “recognition of the grandeur that is Sinulog.”

“It is an acknowledgment of the role that the festival plays in enhancing the lives of the Cebuanos and tourists,” he said.