Sinulog Festival Myths Debunked

What are Sinulog Festival Myths?

Sinulog Festival never fails to make the our Cebu island festive and colorful right after the Yuletide Season. This is just something that we, both the native Cebuanos and the travelers from outside of the island and across the globe, look forward. Cebuanos had this warm nature and an accommodating one too, making each stranger feel like family.
Sinulog Festival has a lot of tags and occasionally, 1 or 2 “myths” on its existence. We did reviews of related literature and asked on researchers regarding this supposedly myths and here’s what we found out.
*Reminder: The views and opinions expressed here was taken from an interview with Ka Bino Guerrero, a notable researcher and a history and culture guide, in the light of debunking Sinulog Myths [if any].

Sinulog Festival Myths

1.) Myth: Sinulog Festival is the “mother” of All Festivals

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Truth Behind the Myth: The Sinulog festival is definitely not as the Mother of All Festivals. It is just conceptualized around 1981 by the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development. Kalibo’s Ati-Atihan can trace its roots  in the 13th Century and during the Spanish era, this was included in the Feast of the Holy Child Jesus. Ilo-ilo’s Dinagyang Festival came in next to differentiate is from Kalibo’s Ati-Atihan but nevertheless, it was still a festival worth checking. Dinagyang Festival started flourish as a street revelry in 1976, still a few years earlier from Cebu’s Sinulog. That only puts our very own Sinulog Festival in the limelight way after them. It will be safe to say that Sinulog attracted the crowds in the recent years due to its sights, sounds and grand preparations but still, it is not above and beyond Ati Atihan and Dinagyang.

2.) Myth: Titang Diola of Mabolo started the beat and the “sinug” steps  


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Truth Behind the Myth: The “Sinug” Beat and Steps was not originally strated by Miss Estelita Diola but from her father and her father’s friend. She just continued the tradition of their family. Further down in history, the “sinug” was already danced by the natives as a form of thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest to their idols. This was danced way before Ferdinand Magellan set foot on Cebuano soil. And after his death, even before the coming of Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, the “Sinug” dance was still there. Fast forward in the modern times, when we are already done with the colonization of Spaniards, still their influence is evident in the way how Cebuanos celebrate festivals. Nang Titang, as Diola is fondly called, was just the beat keeper and she handed down the beat to his nephew, as well as the drum used by his father’s friend to accompany the dance.
These Sinulog Festival Myths are seemingly the most prominent when you discuss about Sinulog. However, after carefully checking on this, it seemed that there is no such things as Sinulog myths. Most importantly, what matters most is how the Cebuanos were able to keep the faith, tradition and customs alive to this very day. Celebrating the Sinulog is not only to show off your new gear and clothes only to be stained with the paint and whatever-you-had-on-your-hand that gets thrown on your end but then, it is also something that in a way, Cebuanos are attached to the Miraculous Child of Jesus. Being a dominantly Catholic province, Cebu has been, the place where the seed of Catholicism was planted and where Cebuanos had the first hand experience of having their prayers answered. It takes not just belief but faith to make this a reality. SInulog is a part of our colorful past and present, and will continue to be a part of our future.
It pays to bear in mind that even though these “myths” exist for some, it pays to read more on the history of Sinulog and visit the Sinulog Foundation Office before concluding that these are true. It also helps to interact with people from other sectors of our community so that they can be of help to your questions.
Walking around the historical places also let you get the feel of how vast the devotion to Sr. Sto. Nino is. It is literally a guiding light for the LUMADS or the native Cebuanos in terms of faith. The meekness and the humility of the Holy Child is a reminder that amid the problems and calamities we all face, there is always room for being hopeful and placing trust in God.


Written by Proudly Filipino

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