Rain or shine, the Sinulog parade will roll out this morning as gates of the Cebu City Sports Center open early at 6 a.m. for spectators.
A bigger and better Sinulog awaits spectators, promised Ricky Ballesteros, executive director of the Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI).
“From what I’ve seen in the rehearsals, the performances have greatly improved along with the costumes, production, and concepts,” he said.
Among the contingents to watch out for are the Culturang Placernon of Masbate province which won last year’s grand prize in the Sinulog-based category and Alang-Alang of Leyte which won the free interpretation category.
Cebu City spectators will also be rooting for the Lumad Basakanon of Basak, San Nicolas which promised a more competitive performance.
Choreographer Dennis Navarro said their group will already deviate from using their pintados costume and instead put on some wings for their “Si Malakas at Si Maganda” themed dance.
Ballesteros said that with or without suspended Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia, the Rosquillos Festival of Liloan town where she was supposed to dance, have listed up as a guest contingent.
“Surprise elements” in the 7 p.m. grand finale will feature Ms. Tourism International 2012 Rizzini Alexis Gomez, and a cast of 1,000 other performers from different colleges and universities in the city.
The Sinulog stage measuring 14 by 44 meters will have ornamental plants and a green theme during the daytime competition.
Sensurround speakers and lights will help transform the stage to showcase different eras of Cebu City from the 1930s to the present.
A large diamond and image of the Sto. Niño will occupy the center design to mark Cebu city’s 75th Charter Day celebration on February 24.
The 7 p.m. finale will be capped by a 10 minute pyrotechnics-musical
GATES OPEN 6 AM.
The main gate of the Cebu City Sports Center will open at 6 a.m. for grandstand ticket holders.
They should be seated early before the Mass is celebrated at 8 a.m. by Bishop Emilio Bataclan starts at 8 a.m.
The grand parade is expected to roll out at 9:15 a.m after Mayor Rama formally declares the opening of the Sinulog.
As of Saturday morning, a total of 142 contingents have registered for the Sinulog or five contingents more that the 137 contingents which signed up last year.
Dancing contingents went down from 49 last year to only 40 this year, but more floats are competing.
There are 46 float entries today compared with only 35 last year.
“Fewer dance contingents are expected because it’s an election year. There were also typhoons and earthquakes that hit Mindanao last year,” Mayor Rama said.
The SFI has sent trays of eggs to the Carmelite Monastery in barangay Mabolo since January 1 to ask the nuns to pray for good weather today.
According to the forecast of Accuweather, Cebu will experience a “couple of showers” today.
State weather bureau, Pagasa, said “Visayas will be cloudy with light rains”.
Ballesteros said the grand parade will go on as scheduled even if it rains.
“We have tried it for several years already. The Sinulog will push through rain or shine,” he said.
Mayor Rama said he is expecting a bigger crowd in today’s Sinulog than last year.s
He asked the police to focus attention on chokepoints along the six-kilometer Sinulog carousel route. The chokepoints include the New Imus Road and the Fuente Osmeña circle.
The Cebu City mayor appealed to everybody to behave and just enjoy the dances to make sure that the grand parade will remain safe.
The SFI is expecting Vice President Jejomar Binay and Sen. Ramon Bong Revilla among other VIPs.
Former Las Piñas Rep. Cynthia Villar is also expected to drop by the grandstand in the afternoon while Sen. Chiz Escudero is expected to board the float of the Barangay Councilors League of the Philippines (BCLP) Cebu City Chapter.
Ballesteros again warned politicians against campaigning and giving out campaign materials to spectators.
He also warned those on board floats not to toss fans and other freebies to the crowd so as not to create chaos during the parade.
“The Sinulog committee reserves the right to remove their float from the parade,” if violations are noted, Ballesteros said.