‘Muddy’ condition at new Sinulog venue hounds Cebu City
CEBU CITY, Cebu, Philippines — Barely a week before the grand parade of the Sinulog Festival, the event’s new venue remained a cause for concern due to rain and the muddy condition at the site.
Councilor Phillip Zafra, who chairs this year’s executive committee for the Sinulog celebration, said city officials were aware of the complaints regarding the new venue of the festival’s dance parade, which, before it was sidelined for two years by the COVID-19 pandemic, had drawn at least a million people to the city.
He said a private construction firm was overlaying gravel and other filling materials to ensure the site would be ready in time for the grand parade on Jan. 15.
This year’s Sinulog grand parade, dubbed as “One Cebu Island Sinulog” would be held for the first time at South Road Properties (SRP), Cebu City’s newest commercial hub that rose out of a city-developed 300-hectare reclamation area.
The highlight of the 10-day festivities, the Mardi Gras-like parade features puppeteers, floats, and higantes (giants), and street dancing by performers not just from Cebu’s towns and cities but also from different areas in the Visayas and Mindanao. It is held every third Sunday of January, the feast day of the Señor Santo Niño, or the Holy Child Jesus.
Up until now, the grand parade was held along the city’s main thoroughfares, mainly along Osmeña Boulevard, with the final staging held at the midtown’s Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC).
Zafra assured the city still has enough time to address the concerns raised by residents about the SRP venue, including those aired by Ricky Ballesteros, the former executive director of the Sinulog Foundation Inc.
Ballesteros, in a social media post on Saturday, said the city government should reconsider using SRP as the venue for the festival because of the “unpredictable weather” or at least still consider the CCSC as an alternate venue.
“If the venue is not yet ready and if the need arises, there’s a ready fallback venue. After all, Sinulog is for the people to enjoy. It’s owned by the people,” he said.
He noted that SRP has no trees and “if it rains, the venue where the stage performance area is located [would be] muddy, and the wind or sea breeze would also affect the performance of the dancers and the management of props especially 3D backdrops [which] would be difficult to manipulate during presentation of the contingents.”
The venue also has no amenities and infrastructure like clean toilets, restaurants, refreshment areas, tents and event bleachers that could accommodate spectators, he noted.
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