Tips for Sinulog First-Timers

I woke up this morning and noticed that my friends checked-in different airports, most of them are flying to Cebu for the Sinulog Festival. Sadly, I won't be attending the said event since I'm too busy fixing my visa applications for my upcoming trips this March. Anyway, I asked my Cebuano friend Jason Buhia of to send me some tips for Sinulog first-timers. Photos grabbed from my friend Mike Adrada and captioned by yours truly! ;)

The holidays are over and the Christmas-New Year parties will have to wait for another year. But not for Cebuanos. For the people in Cebu, the holiday season is extended. This is because every 3rd Sunday of January, the Sinulog Grand Parade will take place every year to celebrate the feast of the Sto. Nino.

Aside from dozens of religious activities that are lined up from the first week of January up to February, there will be parties happening around the city in the anticipation of the Grand Parade. If you are planning to join the festivities in the Sinulog Grand Parade, here are some useful tips to make sure you will have a wonderful Sinulog experience.

Back in 2013, we stayed in Palazzo Pensionne and booked our rooms as well as flights around June-July.

1. Book your hotel as early as August. With millions of tourists coming, hotels will be full for the Sinulog week as early as October. The hotels in downtown Cebu are the best to choose from since the parade will be a few meters from it.

2.Do not book flights on Sinulog day. Majority of the roads in Cebu City will be closed as early as 9:00AM. If you will arrive on Sinulog day, chances are, you will be walking for hours with your baggage just to check-in at your hotel and by the time you are ready, the mardi gras has ended.

3. Wear sneakers/rubber shoes. There will be a lot of walking at the grand parade and it is safer with sneakers or rubber shoes on as broken beer/soda bottles are rampant in any area.

Make sure that your bags are secure! One of my friends lost her Blackberry.
Don't forget to wear sunblock before heading out! Or bring an umbrella incase the rain starts pouring.

4. If you want to take photos and properly position yourself for a great angle, join the Sinulog Photo Contest. If you are the type who takes photography seriously, you need to get the best shots and the best shots of the participants will be right in the middle of the street! Avoid the police line by flashing your official Sinulog Photographer ID and you can get past the crowd on the sides. (Joining the contest is also an option for smart people who does not want to go in a crowd and just walk peacefully right on the parade route.)

5. Wear disposable shirt and shorts. The street party is crazy at the grand parade. Aside from soaking yourself under the sun, you will also get wet with beer/water by people you don't know. Also expect people rubbing face paint on you and prepare yourself for a surprise color fight (color powder) that happens in the middle of a crowd. PROTIP: Wear anything white.

6. Protect yourself and your gadget. Remember, you will get wet and get painted on. Be sure that your gadgets are wrapped properly with plastic or whatever protection you can think of.

Always remember to embrace the music, the colors and the local culture that will be in full display during Sinulog. If you will get pushed or your foot will get stepped on, let it go and continue to party.

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