Be thankful for every blessing, Cebu bishop tells Sinulog crowd
CEBU CITY—The warm weather in the metropolis matched the Sinulog fever as the weeklong festivities reached its climax on Sunday with a grand parade.
At least 134 contingents competed in different categories in the Sinulog Grand Parade, which started and ended at the grandstand of the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC) in a 6.1-kilometer carousel route.
These included 44 dancing contingents, 40 floats, 33 ‘higantes’ (giants) and 17 puppeteers.
As of 2 p.m. at least 800,000 people were on the streets either near or along the parade route, said Councilor Dave Tumulak, head of the city operations center.
He said the number was expected to be bigger by 5 p.m.
The Sinulog, the biggest festival in Cebu, is held every third Sunday of January to celebrate the feast of the Holy Child Jesus.
Before the grand parade opened at 9 a.m. on Sunday at the grandstand, a pontifical Mass was held at the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño officiated by Cebu’s Auxiliary Bishop Emilio Bataclan at 6 a.m.
In his homily, Bataclan reminded the devotees to always pray and be thankful for every blessing.
He said with the distractions like the Internet and nightly parties in the city, people forgot how to be human and how to be thankful.
About two kilometers away from the basilica, the Sinulog Foundation Inc. was preparing the kickoff of the Sinulog Grand Parade at the grandstand of CCSC.
Prior to the 8 a.m. formal opening, Msgr. Roberto Alesna officiated the Mass and asked Cebuanos to have the heart of a child.
“Jesus invites us to follow the humility and trusting love of a child,” he said.
‘Faith of a child’
Every third Sunday of the month is an important day for Cebu and the whole country because of the celebration of the feast of the Sr. Sto. Niño, Alesna said. It was the time of year when devotees expressed their devotion and love for the child Jesus.
He invited the crowd to be “like children.”
Unlike the adults, Alesna said, children do not have wrinkles, which results from too much worrying because of one’s lack of faith and trust in God.
“The faith of a child teaches us the kind of faith that God is expecting of us,” he said.
When the Mass ended, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama took the grandstand at 9:15 a.m. to formally open this year’s Sinulog Grand Parade. He was accompanied by Cebu Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale and Vice Mayor Edgar Labella.
Department heads of the Cebu City hall wearing yellow polo shirts and black pants were the first to dance the Sinulog on the grandstand. They were followed by city hall and capitol employees who danced as guests contingents.
Another guest contingent, the San Diego Dance Company, was the third group to perform with former Cebu governor and now Cebu 3rd district Rep. Gwen Garcia as lead dancer.
Some spectators at the Cebu City Sports Center cheered when she appeared on stage surrounded by seven girls who were also dressed in white gowns and holding white colored flowers as props.
Garcia was wearing a terno that she wore when she performed at the grandstand during the 2006 Sinulog. But Cebuano designer Philip Rodriguez restyled the gown into an off-shoulder Maria Clara dress.
Her white gown had a fully-beaded top and a silk organdy skirt and a headdress made by Mark Tenchavez of Cebu-based Shandar.
After the three guest contingents, 41 competition contingents were allowed to perform on the grandstand. The Sinulog Grand Parade ended with a fireworks display at 7:30 p.m.
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