In the Philippines especially in Cebu, January does not only signal the start of the New Year, but most importantly, it signals the start of festivities for the annual celebration of the feast of the Holy Child Jesus, more popularly known in Cebu as the Snr. Sto. Nino, the city’s patron.
The Sinulog Festival is held in honor of the Snr. Sto. Nino. Celebrated every third Sunday of January, a Sinulog parade and dance competition is held and this contest has attracted participants from outside Cebu, who has given the local contingents a run for their money and who has made the contest more exciting.
This year, the Sinulog is on its 35th year, and the out-of-town contenders will once again come in full force. A few of them are listed below.
Tangub City has sent a contingent to the Sinulog Festival for 14 years already since first joining in 2000. The delegation has won championship trophies for both categories – Sinulog-Based and Free Interpretation 11 times including last year.
Tribu Lingganay Festival of Alang-Alang, Leyte was the first out-of-town contingent to receive the P1 million cash prize when it placed first in the Free Interpretation category in 2012, the first year it joined the Sinulog. In the same year, the contingent also won the Best in Festival Costume and Best in Musicality.
About 70 percent of the members of this contingent are Muslims but this did not hinder this delegation from joining the Sinulog Festival since 2012. The contingent promotes unity among the Christians and the Muslims as they dance to the Sinulog beat. Although, they have yet to win, the delegates from North Cotabato thank the Sto. Nino for protecting them against diseases and calamities.
The Land of Beauty and Bounty started competing in the Sinulog Festival in 2009. In its first participation, the contingent placed 3rd in the Free Interpretation category and won Best in Festival Costume. In 2010 and 2011, they placed 2nd in the street dancing contest.
Kulturang Placereno from the province of Masbate was the champion in the Sinulog-Based category in 2012 and in 2014. They also won Best in Musicality in 2012.
Tribu Himag-ulaw of Placer Masbate has been competing in the Sinulog Festival since 2009. Their efforts paid off in 2012 when they placed 2nd in the Free Interpretation category.
Panglao earned the 2nd and 3rd place for Free Interpretation in 2006 and 2007, respectively. After six years of absence in the Sinulog Festival, they made a comeback last year to thank the Sto. Nino for their recovery from the earthquake that hit their place last October 15, 2013.
Yagyag Festival from Sibulan, Negros Oriental won the 1st prize in the street dancing category in 2005.
In 2009, the Tribu Buyoganon of Abuyog, Leyte got the grand prize and defeated Cebu’s very own Lumad Basakanon. The delegation also got 3rd place in the street dancing category.
Other out-of-town Contingents includes: