Your Survival Guide to Sinulog

10:00 AM


Sinulog is a well known festival held on the third Sunday of January in Cebu City in honor of Señor Santo Niño or the Child Jesus. The celebration lasts for nine days and culminates on the final day with the Sinulog grand parade (which usually lasts the whole day, starting from 9am to 12am.)

Thousands of devotees & spectators are expected to flock the streets of Cebu to witness Sinulog 2016 and I'm so psyched to be one of them! I haven't been to Sinulog in years! And this year I'm lucky to fly off to Cebu to celebrate Sinulog this coming weekend!  

So if you're travelling with a Cebuano, a first timer or tourists who plans to enjoy Sinulog without any hassle, here's your cheat sheet to the best party down south: 


1. Wear comfortable clothes. 

Disposable ones too. There will be parts of the parade wherein people throw poster paints at you or areas with people bringing cup of booze. You can never go out on a Sinulog looking clean, I promise you. You'll be colorful, sweaty mess & hella sticky. It's recommended to wear loose shirts that's breathable and you probably won't ever see anymore (You can't wash off paint easily). Some people buy sinulog design shirts that are easily available in malls and online shops. 


2. Wear your trusty shoes. 

There will be lots of walking. I remembered walking from Ayala Center Cebu to the streets of Fuente Osmena circle & Baseline and up to SM City Cebu. The streets are usually closed near the vicinity of the parade. So it's also not ideal to wear your pang pormang Roshe's or pricey Adidas kicks because.. read #1. So wear your ratty old comfortable shoes. I remembered being stepped on loads of times due to the massive crowd in the area. It can't be helped! So girls, skip those flats and slippers. You need good shoes to take you to the street party. 


3. Ziplock everything!

Put your money, cards, IDs, phone & etc on a ziplock bag or an ID bag that you can buy in National Bookstore. Again, with a huge crowd you are bound to lose something! So keep your valuables safe from paint and close to you as possible. 

4. Research the activities 

Sinulog has a timeline of the activity. The grand parade starts at 9am. There's parties starting from 5pm till midnight at Baseline. The pyromusical shows starts at 9pm at SM City Cebu. Research on activities you want to go to so you'll know your itinerary for the day and you can plan out your routes to the city. 

5. Know your way in & out. 

(Map grabbed from: source

Speaking of routes. There are loads of sites that provides the procession route of Sinulog. You can easily see where the parade is heading. There are also bleacher stations along the route if you want to be stationed in one area only. So it could be where you and your friends could meet up every time you plan on leaving for food trips. Download/screenshot the map in the area to save you some hassle. 


Few Pre-cautions & Extra Tips for a way better Sinulog experience: 


1. Bring water, a towel & wear a hat/sunglasses. 

If you're planning on watching the parade in the scorching heat starting at 9am. You need a big bottle of water to keep you hydrated throughout the day. I didn't mention an umbrella because usually with the large crowd it's a fuzz to bring out an umbrella just to keep you out of the sun. The people behind you might give you the stink eye since you'd be blocking the parade in front of them too. So be mindful, Cebuano's are really friendly people but they also bite. (Speaking as a pure Cebuana myself haha.) To save yourself some trouble & a few south enemies, just wear a hat and cover yourself with a face towel. Easy! 


2. Have a meeting place or a stationed place for you and your family & friends. 

This, again because of the huge crowd, if you can easily lose your things, you're also bound to lose some of your family & friends. And let me tell you, signal sucks at this time of the festival. Sun-cellular, the most used cellular provider in Cebu, is usually down in this time. It will be mega hard to call your friends and it will just frustrate you. Always plan on a place to meet up whenever you guys decide to split up for some reasons. 

3. Get a henna. 

When in Sinulog, always get a henna. There are henna stations everywhere. Designs range depending on the size, it could be as cheap as 10 pesos and up to 500. Trust me, it's a fun tradition. 

4. Park & Go. 

If you're a resident of Cebu and you'll be bringing your car with you and you don't know where to park your cars, park it in the rooftop of SM City Cebu. The pyromusical show starts at 9pm and the rooftop is the best place to watch it in after the long day of the parade. It has been a great memory for me when I was young and I figured I should share this with you guys. 

And that's it! That's all I've got!

Note that this is all based on my last Sinulog parade 3 years ago and to what I've been seeing through social media the tradition is still the same but with larger crowds & wilder parties. (Although I've read that street parties are banned in outside routes of Sinulog this year, that sucks). But if you'd still want to experience Sinulog either way I hope I helped enlighten (aka warn) you in some ways. 

Have a great Sinulog! Viva Pit Senyor! 

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All photos in this blog are from © Monica Chavez unless stated otherwise. Please do not steal them & use without permission. Comments & Suggestions are welcomed.