The Sinulog Festival is one of the major festivals celebrated in the Philippines. Although the event happens in the Queen City of the South— Cebu City, people from around the globe gather with the Cebuanos to celebrate the arrival of the Santo Niño and to commemorate their acceptance of their religion— Christianism.

It was believed that the festival is characterized by a different dance to distinguish it from other festivals. The dance is considered a ritual and a traditional dance done in honor of the Santo Niño. Accompanied by the sound of the drums, the dance step is described by all the time moving two steps forward followed by one step backward. The Sinulog Festival officially started in the year 1980 although the dance has long been practiced as a ritual by the people.

Long before the introduction of the religion, Cebuanos used their dances to worship and pray to their gods. After the arrival of the Portuguese, and the introduction of Christianity and of the Santo Niño, Sinulog dance is still being performed and was established as the dance to worship the Santo Niño. “Pit Señor, Kang Mama Kini. Pit Señor, Kang Papa Kini” is the chant the dancers shout to make sure that their prayers were heard.

Sinulog Festival is a must see celebration because you can actually witness the people’s love of the Sto. Niño. Although it can be seen live on national television, there is no better way to appreciate and feel genuine happiness than to experience it firsthand.

The Sinulog is a nine-day celebration that starts every third Sunday of the year. Sinulog 2014 will open its celebration on January 11 to January 20, 2014. Although no official schedule has been released, every year the celebration was always held on fixed dates. The highlights will start on January 9 where the Opening Salvo and the Walk with Jesus is done. On the next day January 10, Sinulog Festival 2014 Kick – Off is done. By the 11th of January, Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Lalawigan is held, and Sinulog sa Kabataan sa Dakbayan is done the next day—on the 12th of January. The festival does not only show the dances or the tributes of the people, they also showcase the beauties of their ladies chosen to represent their towns or cities. By January 15, Miss Cebu 2014 will be crowned during their coronation night. What we call Queen Photo Shoot will then be held on the 16th. On the 17th, people will also enjoy Cebu Pop Festival and the Sinulog Festival Queen Competition. Devotees can also have their Walk with Mary and the Translacion. The Fluvial Procession and the Solemn Foot Procession will be done. The 6th Sinulog Pyrofest will follow at SM City Cebu. By the 19th of January, the 34th Grand Parade will be done, participated by the different towns and cities. The Symphony of Fire will be done at Ayala Center Cebu on the same day. Awarding ceremonies will follow on the 20th. And lastly the Hubo Mass on the 24th will mark the end of the Sinulog Festival. Hubo Mass is when the people will hold a mass to one of its churches, usually done at the Basilica del Santo Niño. During the mass an assigned number of people will change the Santo Niño’s attire thus the term Hubo.

If you wanted to be a part of the celebration and wanted to go to Cebu, then you should prepare yourself. If you are from another place, then you should start doing room reservations in hotels and inns located in Cebu City, Cebu as early as now because believe it or not, during the festivities all hotels, inns and lodging houses will be fully booked. You also have to prepare your budget because for sure there will be a lot of spending done especially if you wanted to try all sorts of thing being offered during the festival—most especially souvenirs such as t-shirts and the like. List down important things you needed to bring as you travel so that you can keep track of what to bring and what not to bring. Lastly, keep yourself fit because we don’t want to plan things and get excited about the festival to only end up getting caught by flu or any form of sickness.

The real deal is what to bring and how to enjoy the festival once you are in it. First you have to buy yourself a map, make an itinerary and familiarize streets and areas that are most likely to be the center of the festival. We don’t want to get lost right?

Second, if you have gadgets, make sure to have them fully charged. And bring along a backpack or a satchel where you can put your things. Remember to always hydrate yourself so bring water or juice—according to your preference. And don’t forget to dress for comfort but be ready for anything that might come such as rain. Be sure you have all you need in your bag. And watch out for those pickpockets. They are always everywhere.

Third, if you’re not from around Cebu, then you should learn to speak their language. A little familiarity is okay especially when you need to ask for directions or you need to buy something. After all, that will also help you establish connection with the natives.

Fourth, always be cool and just enjoy the festival. That is the very reason why you came to the place. If you get lost, or get stuck on traffic remember your looking for an adventure. So don’t hesitate, meet new people, find friends and experience the festival firsthand. Make the most out of your travel, make memories and make an adventure during the Sinulog Festival.