Cebu City plans for Sinulog 2021

The government of Cebu City has officially begun its plans for Sinulog 2021 festival. The annual religious festival will happen from January 8 to January 17, 2021.

As early as October 3, 2020, the city officials with the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO), the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño priests, the Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) were already talking about the route of the procession planned for Sr. Santo Niño.

The chair of the City Council’s committee on public order, Councilor Philip Zafra, stated in an interview that a motorcade would take place instead of the usual traditional procession. There will also be restrictions on mass gatherings and street parties. During the celebration of the Sinulog 2021 Festival, the image of Sto. Niño will be visible to the public via a motorcade.  The motorcade will travel over longer routes, allowing more people to witness the image of the Holy Infant Jesus.

According to the committee, the final and best route will still be carefully considered to avoid overcrowding and mass gatherings. The committee also assured the public that they will release full details until January 2021.

Although devotees are subject to restrictions, they still expect worshipers to congregate along the streets during the motorcade, increasing the possibility of them violating physical distancing and other health-related protocols.

“Whether it is a long or short route, we can expect people to the crowd and we want to avoid that. This is a time when people put their faith in Sto. Niño,” Councilor Zafra clarified.

No Fluvial Procession

Besides, the city government also announced that there’s no fluvial procession on Sinulog 2021 to prevent mass gathering.

Although Cebu has flattened the curve, the local authority still reminds the public to not be complacent about the virus since no vaccines are available to the public yet. They always remind everyone to stay home and follow protocols imposed by the local authorities. The city government is also considering wider coverage of all Sinulog activities so that people can watch them online.

There will also be a live broadcast of novena masses to parishes in the Archdiocese of Cebu. The Basilica Minore opts to have online masses for all devotees to watch at home.

The city council expects the devotees to still want to hear the Novena Mass in the Basilica as early as December 16, 2020, or the start of Misa de Gallo. Subsequently, the police will patrol with CDRRMO to ensure that people will strictly follow all plans for Sinulog 2021.

In this way, the city government and police can study the best way to control the movement of the people and enforce health protocols easily in Sinulog 2021.

Advisor Zafra said he would like to plan Sinulog 2021 carefully to avoid risking COVID-19 infections to people.

Virtual Parade for Sinulog 2021

The councilor also proposes a virtual grand parade for the Sinulog 2021 Festival instead of the usual mardi gras. They’re also considering that attendees will perform live streaming to eliminate the need for attendees to travel to the city.

The approval of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) by the proposal will serve as a basis for SFI in the final activities for Sinulog Festival 2021.

Annually, the Sinulog Festival attracts between 1 to 2 million visitors from all over the country every year. It also gives travelers the opportunity to join Cebu tours to explore the province. Besides, the Sinulog Festival has become a major factor in the surge of ESL students in the country every January. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, ESL schools in the province have high hopes that the celebration will again revive their struggling ESL industry in the province.

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