Organizers will prioritize safety in today’s Sinulog, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña announced when he formally opened the Sinulog grand parade after this morning’s mass at the Cebu City Sports Center.
Osmeña said that this year, organizers will be extremely strict in enforcing laws and regulations. “We are interested in quality and not quantity,” he said.
The mayor told people to be on the lookout for people who leave things, asking them to call the attention of security personnel deployed throughout the parade route.
Osmeña also warned owners of establishments not to close their parking lots and violate restrictions on putting up of loudspeakers and serving of alcohol on the streets. Those that violate these regulations will have their business permits “postponed and cancelled for 30 days.”
“The Sto. Niño is a child and we want to make Sinulog safe for children. That is one of our criteria and we will take action if we find that it is not safe for our kids,” Osmeña said.
Mayor Osmeña said the organizers’ goal is to end the parade by 4:30 p.m. so that the streets can be cleared by nightfall.
He said authorities will not tolerate public drunkenness and rowdy behavior.
Overseas Filipinos coming home for the Sinulog 2017 celebration now have access to the Balik Cebu booth at Ayala Center Cebu starting today, January 4, 2017, to help them with festival-related activities.
Local government executives led by Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale and Cebu City Councilor Margot Osmeña led the opening of the booth, which is one component of the Balik Cebu program.
Balikbayans can buy tickets to the numerous activities lined up for January and ask about tour packages at the Balik Cebu booth.
Tetta Baad, chair of the Balik Cebu committee, said two welcome activities are planned at the Mactan Cebu International Airport for overseas Filipinos arriving in January 11 and 12.
A grand welcome dinner for balikbayans is also scheduled for January 12 at The Terraces in Ayala Center Cebu.
Now on its 16th year, the Balik Cebu program has seen an increasing number of Cebuanos and other Filipinos coming to Cebu to celebrate the Sinulog Festival.
According to Baad, the venue for the welcome dinner only has maximum capacity of 500 and tickets for this event had been sold out the past two Sinulog celebrations.
“There has been a clamor for additional tickets but we simply can’t accommodate more,” she added. The main requests of guests during the welcome dinner usually pertain to Visayan songs and dances.
Aside from the regular Sinulog activities that they look forward to during their visit, balikbayans also now clamor to join the fluvial parade, said Tourism Congress vice president for travel and tours Alice Queblatin.
To make the experience more festive for guests, Queblatin said they decorate the boats, hire Sinulog dancers and drumbeaters, and narrate the story behind the fluvial procession.