CEBU CITY – The decision to hold the Sinulog Festival at the South Road Properties (SRP) here on Jan. 15 may have drawn some criticisms but next year’s event will still be held there, a city official said.
Councilor Philip Zafra, chairman of the Sinulog Executive Committee, said the SRP is actually a perfect venue for the Sinulog and the city is keen on holding it there once again next year.
“This year’s Sinulog was successful because it was held at SRP. The spectators were really entertained because we have wider roads there for the Grand Parade,” said Zafra.
The Sinulog Festival takes place every third week of January.
In previous years, the Grand Parade passed through major thoroughfares in this city where spectators lined up by the road to take a glimpse at the contingents’ performance, floats, and entries for the puppet and “higante” contests.
Zafra said a huge crowd swarming on the side of a narrow road affects not just the spectators but also the dancing contingents.
“The contingents cannot dance properly because of the limited space and there’s just too many people. It’s not comfortable for everyone because of narrow roads,” said Zafra.
The Sinulog Grand Parade and Ritual Showdown on Jan. 15 were watched by an estimated crowd of 640,000 people.
Despite the huge number of spectators, overcrowding was not an issue because of the spacious SRP, Zafra said.
Safety concerns at SRP forced Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia to pull out the province’s 10 contingents from the festival.
The city government was also criticized for building a bleacher and a stage at SRP when there is an available venue at the Cebu City Sports Center, which has hosted the festival for so many years.
“At the end and what matters most, we were able to ready the stage and the ramp for the contingents to dance on. The road where the spectators, the floats and the like passed, we were able to finish them,” Zafra said.
Zafra assured that they city will do the necessary preparations to make next year’s Sinulog better and grander.
“We will focus on that (preparations) so that the conduct of Sinulog will improve further. By 2024, we will have a grander Sinulog in Cebu City,” said Zafra.