Did Sinulog come from Muslim dance?
Gregg M. Rubio (The Freeman) - January 13, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Sinulog, a derivation from the Cebuano term “sulog” or current, is danced every year in what is branded as the biggest and most colorful festival in the country in honor of the Child Jesus. But are there truths to accounts that said it traces its roots to a Muslim dance?

To shed some light into the issue, a Tausug Islamic scholar and a Cebu historian will discuss the origins of the Sinulog in an event called “Retracing Sinulog (A forum on the precolonial roots of the Sinulog dance)” tomorrow.

Professor Darwin Absari of the University of the Philippines-Diliman Institute of Islamic Studies will discuss highlights of the Sulu Empire in the 1400s and the Tausug influence in the arts, culture, and indigenous spirituality in the islands.

University of San Carlos professor Dr. Jobers Bersales for his part, will talk on precolonial Cebuanos’ religious beliefs and the origin of the Sinulog dance.

It is a free admission event to be held at Palm Grass Hotel’s Hawanan along Tres de Abril Street from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The idea of tracing Sinulog roots came about as National Artist Dr. Resil Mojares mentioned in his books that before the 20th century, Sinulog referred to Sulu: the Sulu current, the traditional Muslim war dance in Sulu and to the 17th century dress of the Sulu women.

A short video on this topic will also be screened. The video is created by Hong Kong-based Social Communications Asia content creator and communications specialist Prospero Laput.

A video and live performance of an interpretation of the Precolonial Sinulog Dance by Bag-ong Teatro Junquera will also be shown.

Palm Grass, as a heritage hotel and hotel-museum, will vigorously promote Cebu cultural heritage by featuring more activities in the coming months such as performances of Bag-ong Teatro Junquera and Junquera St. Children’s Choir, releasing a duet by Cebu young music artists, and launching of a children’s storybook on Cebu hero Leon Kilat. (FREEMAN)

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