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Sinulog Festival: How to Avoid Getting Scammed

Cebu, Philippines Sinulog Festival is just around the corner. The registered contingents had been preparing for months starting shortly after the start of classes so that everything can be finalized. For students in the public schools, the Sinulog Festival is another avenue where they can parade in colorful costumes and compete with other schools. Indeed, this festival is a must watch.
With all the hype going on, people can really get scammed. Seriously, there are travellers who get scammed on the sinulog week. Sadly, even with the warm hospitality and great accommodation the Cebuanos are known of, there are still people who would take advantage to first timers.
Having been scammed is one of the most unfortunate situations you can be in. It is frustrating and upsetting, too. It will somehow change your point of view on the festival, but somehow it will also be your biggest lesson in life. But despite the threat of being scammed, still most foreigners prefer to come over and celebrate Sinulog with us and enjoy the entire week of non stop activities like novena masses, mall activities, fireworks display among others.

Here are our possible doable tips as to not getting scammed with the upcoming Sinulog Festival.

  1. It won’t hurt to verify resources on official tickets for the Cebu City Grandstand. This is just one way of making sure that you got value for your hard earned money. Monitor the ticket pricing from the official website of the Sinulog Foundation, or rather, buy from the authorized ticket outlets. You don’t want to get stressed on the day of the festival, do you? For more information, and for your safety, you may contact the Sinulog Foundation office to avail of tickets and also to check if there are still vacant seats on the Grandstand. It is advised that you contact them ahead.
  2. Plan your trips well. For those coming from outside Cebu, it is best that you make plane or boat ticket reservations/bookings, and of course, hotel bookings! Do not let your busy days during Christmas deter you from getting the best bookings. There are just times that all your plans will get shifted or cancelled due to “operational demands” of certain airlines. So better yet, do more than a raincheck for this. Sometimes, there are local shipping lines who actually change their rates without prior notice so better yet, be vigilant.
  3. Do look up pertinent information for your hotel, more especially if you are not familiar. Sometimes, backpacker hostels and inns don’t match up your expectations. It is always a relief when you know that you are paying for what you expect. In order for you not to get scammed, ask around if you have friends from Cebu so that they can validate its existence, its service, as well as interiors. Let’s face it, you don’t want to sleep in place where you will be disturbed or a place that will morph into a nightclub or watering holes just because it is Sinulog. There are rave parties here and there, and there are also cunning swindlers and opportunists abounding where the crowd is. So better yet, know the area where you are staying and be extra careful.
  4. Be careful where you eat. Sometimes food stalls can charge twice within the day. Some others promise of a fresh meal however later on you realize it’s stale. There are also food stalls that offer unique food finds but however, it still pays to eat in moderation and with caution. Fast food may be the next option however, you can still save up by bringing your own food so that you can eat what you want anytime, anywhere. Be mindful of the food being sold on the sidewalks. You might not be used to eating food not prepared from your home. Also, keep in track of your change and your money to prevent pickpockets.
  5. Be Vigilant on what you purchase online, from accessories to shirts. Sinulog Festival also is the time when people would flock the souvenir shops, stalls and the malls in the search for the best Sinulog outfit. People would also find all sorts of promotions and top ups for telecom loads. All sorts of online shops will then pop up as early as pre Christmas. The best way to avoid being scammed on these bogus online shops are the following: Check on the legitimacy of the online shop by meeting the seller and giving the payment during meetups; make sure that the online product is the same that is shown during the meetup.

These are just some of our tips on how not to get scammed during the Sinulog Festival. We all wanted to enjoy the festivities without the headache. Having to roam around the street with peace of mind and of course, with the knowledge that the Festival will be a safe and fun one, then it is encouraged that you go and check the tips for yourself.
These may just be a fraction of what you can do to be vigilant but at least, you will have an idea on what to do. It also pays to get in touch with the authorities if in the event you fell victim to scams during Sinulog. The city police forces are visible during these times and they would definitely help you when you are in a very sticky and difficult situation.
For more information and assistance during the Sinulog Festival week, you may refer to the following numbers:
Cebu City Police Office
[Camp Sotero Cabahug, Gorordo Avenue, Cebu City]
(032) 233 – 6795 / 233 – 0762
Cebu City Tourism Police
(032) 412 1838
Cebu City Command Control Center
(032) 262 1424 / (032) 419 1725
Cebu Province Tourism and Heritage Council
2/F West Wing, Cebu Capitol
Tel.: 2535642/ 2533766
Cebu City Tourism Commission Office
(032) 412 4355
Department of Tourism
(032) 254 2811 / (032) 412 1967
Sinulog Foundation Office
[Cebu City Sports Complex, Osmena Blvd, Cebu City]
Hotlines: (032) 253- 3700


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