Freeman Cebu Lifestyle

Family bonding at Sinulog

Nathan Cabello - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines – The Sinulog festival is yet another great opportunity for the family to bond together. The many activities during the weeklong festival offer both fun and learning for young people. Among grown-ups, Sinulog is also a time for socializing and catching up with visiting relatives and friends.

Various events take place during the festival days. For the most part, these events are scheduled one after the other. But there are also smaller yet equally exciting happenings that tend to happen simultaneously.

Family members shall try to get a schedule of the various Sinulog events, in order to make the most of these. The lineup of religious activities shall be noted. For example, attending Mass together is such a valuable family occasion.

Other religious activities are fun and exciting, aside from the faith angle. The major religious activities are the fluvial procession, the street procession on the day before the fiesta, and the main Mass on the fiesta day itself. The family's participation or attendance in these activities require proper planning - in order to avoid untoward trouble and to fully serve the family's purpose of being there.

Each religious activity offers a chance for parents to further the kids' religious orientation. Certain rites may be explained further, particularly their symbolism and significance to the faith. The reenactment of a historic religious milestone, like the fluvial procession, also serves to put matters of faith in the proper context with the kids.   

It may be good, too, to let the kids try their feet on the "sinulog" dance at the churchyard of the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño. Or the whole family may try it together. It will be such an experience for all.

There are also the nightly public entertainments at designated places in the city, in the course of the festival. These mostly take place at the Fuente Osmeña circle in the uptown area and at Plaza Independencia at the port area. The bigger shopping malls also have their own fun Sinulog shows.

The grand Sinulog parade is such a spectacle. Being on the street as it happens is really something else compared to just watching it on TV at home. Parents may let the kids partake of the euphoria, so long as the safety and security issues are fully covered. 

Again, Sinulog events are great opportunities for the family to go out together.  But proper preparation is in order for any of these. Considering the density of the crowds in all festival activities, each family member must contribute to and be familiar with the family's own Sinulog survival plan.

Essentials like drinking water, biscuits, towels, facial tissue etc. must be at hand at all times. Little kids shall have proper identification and their parents' contact numbers with them. And those with known ailments shall have their maintenance medication with them.

Traffic may be expectedly bad, so it is important to plan out beforehand the family's entry to and exit from every venue of the events they want to go to. The nearest points where cars may be parked or where cabs are available shall be noted.

Most importantly, an emergency plan shall be in place, just in case. The phone numbers of emergency units like the police, rescue team and the hospital shall be readily available, too. Copies of these important numbers shall be distributed among the family members, to make sure that there is always another copy available in case one member loses his.

With proper planning and scheduling, each Sinulog event that the family attends is likely to be memorable. And, of course, it is sure to bring the family closer together.      


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