Smart powers Philippine festival season

Tourists and residents joining the various festivals across the country this year can look forward to an enhanced festival experience as PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) kicks off the 2020 festival season with the biggest festivals in the Visayas—Sinulog in Cebu, Dinagyang in Iloilo and Ati-Atihan in Aklan.

With various on-ground activities, an extensive LTE network and data offers designed for social media apps, Smart supports local and foreign revelers as they explore the sights, sounds and flavors that are unique to the region, enabling them to share their festival stories and experiences with their loved ones and the rest of the world through their smartphones.

Smart powers Philippine festival season

“Smart has always been a staunch supporter of the country’s tourism efforts, and these activities are part of our commitment to ensure that Filipinos and foreign tourists alike have the best experience during these festivities,” said PLDT Chief Revenue Officer and Smart President and CEO Alfredo S. Panlilio.

As co-presenter of Sinulog 2020, Cebu’s grandest festival, Smart has partnered with the local government of Cebu City in enhancing the experience of the various activities during the festival. Special activities and festival souvenirs await Smart and Sun subscribers at Plaza Independencia from Jan. 17-19, with a special concert featuring popular Filipino music acts on Jan 18. Smart is also sponsoring the Baladhay Music Festival on Jan. 17, featuring top international artists and local talent.

To enable revelers to share more of their festival experiences, Smart customers are encouraged to maximize Smart’s LTE network by upgrading their SIMs and devices to LTE, and registering to Giga Stories, which includes free Instagram and Facebook access.

Smart powers Philippine festival season

Festival season

Residents and tourists going to Kalibo can also join festivities at the TNT Saya Fest in time for Ati-Atihan, which is popular for its colorful parade of streetdancers wearing tribal headdresses. Happening alongside Sinulog festivities, Ati-Atihan is also held in honor of the Sto Nino.

Visitors touring Iloilo toward the end of the month, on the other hand, can look forward to Dinagyang festivities, which open on Jan 18. On-ground activities, including concerts sponsored by Smart and TNT on Jan. 24-25, are among the festival highlights.

Digital tourism and sustainability

Festival attendees can also explore other tourism spots using the Cebu and Iloilo digital guide apps, which include comprehensive travel information that could be downloaded from interactive tourism markers using one’s mobile phone.

Part of Smart’s #TravelSmart Digital Tourism campaign, the apps feature places to visit, food and activities to try out, and key service and emergency numbers. They also include heritage information, local literature, and cultural trivia.

In line with the PLDT group’s sustainability efforts, Smart is also installing environmentally friendly merchandising and promotional materials and has committed to work closely with the local governments overseeing the festivals in Cebu, Iloilo and Kalibo in the proper disposal of these materials.

Smart powers Philippine festival season

Nationwidest network

As of the third quarter 2019, Smart has increased the number of LTE base stations by 34% compared to end-2018 and deploying these in more areas of the country, including Cebu, Kalibo and Iloilo. Underpinning Smart’s network deployment is the continued expansion of PLDT’s fiber infrastructure, which grew by 26% versus end-2018 to more than 307,000 kilometers nationwide. This unmatched fiber infrastructure is a critical advantage for Smart.

For this level of performance, Smart has been cited by independent analytics firms for providing superior network quality. According to Opensignal, Smart provides the country’s Best Video Experience, Download Speed Experience, Upload Speed Experience and Latency Experience, and provides superior 4G/LTE availability across the country.

Smart powers Philippine festival season

Ookla, the global leader in internet testing and analysis, also found that PLDT and Smart delivered the country’s fastest fixed and mobile data speeds for the first half of 2019, as they continued to widen their respective leads over their competitors.

The sustained improvement of the PLDT-Smart network has been supported by a stepped-up capital expenditures program that includes investments in network and IT systems, including investments in increased LTE coverage and capacity, expanded fiber transport and new international cable networks.

AyalaMalls Central Bloc joins Sinulog Festivities

The biggest festival in Cebu is coming our way and AyalaMalls Central Bloc has lined up exciting mall festivities to celebrate this year’s Sinulog.

To kick off the festivities, Sinulog drumbeaters will welcome shoppers around the mall with tribal beats and percussions from January 15 to 19 at 5:30 PM.

Continue reading “AyalaMalls Central Bloc joins Sinulog Festivities”

Sinulog a spectacle for tourists, ‘not authentic’ representation of indigenous roots: historian

The Sinulog grand parade is a spectacle for tourists and locals and devotees should just stay home and let visitors enjoy it, a historian said in a forum tracing the roots of Sinulog yesterday.

It is not authentic but a commercial celebration designed for outsiders, said Dr. Jose Eleazar Bersales, an anthropologist at the University of San Carlos, during the forum “Retracing Sinulog: A forum on the precolonial roots of the Sinulog dance” at the Palm Grass Hotel in Cebu City.

Continue reading “Sinulog a spectacle for tourists, ‘not authentic’ representation of indigenous roots: historian”

Faithful spread devotion in Sto. Niño exhibit at Ayala Center Cebu

More than 40 images of the Sto. Niño are on exhibit at Ayala Center Cebu in time for the celebration of the Sinulog Festival in Cebu City.

The display showcases curated images of the Child Jesus in different representations but mostly as the Sto. Niño de Cebu.

Continue reading “Faithful spread devotion in Sto. Niño exhibit at Ayala Center Cebu”

TAGA Your Origin shirts make fun, quirky Sinulog 2018 #OOTDs

Show pride of place in your Sinulog Festival 2018 street fashion by wearing customizable shirts that celebrate your origin courtesy of new online shop TAGA.

Taga asa ka? Taga Opon? Taga Mandaue? Let TAGA Your Origin shirts declare your hometown roots; they come in trendy, fun, and unique designs.

A brainchild of friends Maureen Eliot and Noreen Mondragon Tormis, the TAGA shirts provide people the opportunity to be proud of their origin by wearing it.

TAGA Your Origin
TAGA Your Origin co-founders Maureen Eliot (left) and Noreen Mondragon Tormis along with collaborator Carlo Rodriguez of LiliLa, which provided the accessories.

Another goal of the brand is to create quality clothing that connects people, through an apparel that makes a statement and initiates conversation.

Customizable Sinulog shirts

The shirts are of good quality cotton and perfect for Cebu’s tropical weather. They are sold at P348 each and come with a beautiful bag as packaging.

TAGA Sinulog shirts come with either a bracelet, dreamcatcher, or headdress through a collaboration with Carlo Rodriguez of LiliLa, which is the source of the accessories.

TAGA Your Origin
PRIDE OF PLACE. TAGA Your Origin sells shirts that show pride of place. All the shirts are sold at P348 and come with a beautiful bag as packaging. The Sinulog shirt comes with either a bracelet, dreamcatcher, or headdress.

Available in both men’s and women’s styles and a variety of colors, the shirts can be ordered via the brand’s Facebook page at

Interested buyers may also email them at [email protected]. Follow TAGA on Twitter and Instagram @taga_yourorigin for more info and updates.

Islands Souvenirs highlights tribal fusion in Cut & Style Sinulog 2018 designs

Tribal fusion characterized by feathers and gems is this year’s theme for the Islands Souvenirs Cut & Style campaign as it returns for the sixth year with a new lineup of designs for your Sinulog 2018 #OOTDs.

Personalization and customization are still very much in trend, and this year’s styles and accessories are new and have never been used in the past, said Islands Group executive vice president Camille V. Aldeguer.

Islands Souvenirs launched its Cut & Style campaign last Friday, January 12, at the Northwing in SM City Cebu. It is one of the places where one can pick a Sinulog shirt from over a hundred designs plus embellishments like feathers, studs, and beads and have it cut and styled.

Sinulog Cut and Style
SINULOG CUT & STYLE. Islands Souvenirs incorporates tribal fusion characterized by feathers and gems in this year’s campaign.

Customers can also choose to paint their shirts with safe and washable festival dust for a more colorful Sinulog 2018 experience. The Cut & Style gives festival-goers tons of options to create an unforgettable Sinulog experience.

Cut & Style fashion show

Islands Souvenirs will hold the Cut & Style Grand Fashion Show on January 19, 2018 at the SM City Northwing featuring this year’s Cut & Style Ambassadors, Binibining Cebu Queens Apriel Smith, Samantha Ashley Lo, and Maria Gigante.

Sinulog Cut and Style locations
LOCATIONS. Islands Souvenirs Cut & Style is available in SM Northwing (shown in photo) and Islands Souvenirs stores in SM City Cebu upper ground floor, SM City Cebu Atrium, Robinsons Place Fuente, SM Seaside City, Sinulog Square (Magallanes St., across Magellan’s Cross).

Master couturier and fashion icon Cary Santiago will also feature his exclusive Cut & Style creations on the runway.

Celebrity siblings Donny and Hannah Pangilinan, plus other celebrity guests, and local Cebu celebrities will perform during the fashion event as a special treat.

Aside from Northwing, Cut & Style is also available in Islands Souvenirs stores in SM City Cebu upper ground floor, SM City Cebu Atrium, Robinsons Place Fuente, SM Seaside City, Sinulog Square (Magallanes St., across Magellan’s Cross).

More photos of Sinulog Cut & Style Launch

Sinulog Cut & Style
6TH YEAR. Islands Souvenirs Cut & Style campaign as it returns for the sixth year with a new lineup of designs for your Sinulog 2018 #OOTDs.


Sinulog Cut & Style
TRIBAL FUSION. This year’s theme is tribal fusion characterized by feathers and gems.


Sinulog Cut & Style
SINULOG #OOTD. The Cut & Style gives festival-goers tons of options to create an unforgettable Sinulog experience.

Safety during Sinulog is our priority: Mayor Osmeña

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.

PARKING. Mayor Tomas Osmeña orders guards to reopen the parking area of this establishment. He said such closures are illegal and the city will go after establishments that will padlock their parking areas to make space for dining tables or parties. (Photo taken from Mayor Osmeña’s Facebook page)

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.

Sinulog 2017 Balik Cebu booth now open in Ayala

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.

Balik Cebu
BALIK CEBU. Cebu City Councilor Margot Osmeña and Cebu Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale (center) lead the opening of the Balik Cebu booth at Ayala Center Cebu. At the booth, balikbayans can buy tickets to numerous activities lined up for January and ask about tour packages and Sinulog events.

Airport welcome

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.

Fluvial parade

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.



Sinulog Guide

Get a comprehensive yet portable guide to Sinulog by downloading Sinulog Guide. The app is a collaboration among InnoPub Media, Smart Communications, Inc., and the Sinulog Foundation. You can the guide from the Google Play Store for Android devices and the App Store for iPhones and iPads.

Although this isn’t the first time that guests had asked to participate in this event, she added there was a sharp increase of the number this year.

According to her, Cebu’s island destinations Malapascua and Camotes are also in high demand with Sinulog Festival guests.

Aside from the Balik Cebu booth, located at the ground level of the Activity Center, here are other Sinulog-related activities at Ayala Center Cebu.

Sinulog activities in Ayala

January 2-15, mall-wide Welcome 2017 sale
Up to 70 percent discounts plus a chance to win P10,00 BPI Amore Visa Prepaid Card or P3,000 worth of cinema multi-pass (MPass).

January 6, Activity Center: Cebu Marathon Race Briefing
Get to know the new route, gun start, and water stations for each race distance.

January 6-16, Mall Chapel: Sto. Niño Exhibit
The traditional Sto. Niño exhibit of Images continues in celebration of the Child Jesus. Novena masses will also be held every 6 p.m.

January 10-15, Around the Mall: Sinulog Dancers Parade
Celebrate the biggest fiesta of the country in the mall with festive sights and sound throughout the day.

January 12, 6 p.m., The Terraces: Balik Cebu Welcome Dinner
A welcome dinner for balikbayans complete with entertainment.

January 13, 4 p.m., The Terraces: Kapuso Fans’ Day

January 14, 4 p.m., The Terraces: Kapamilya Karavan

January 15, 9 p.m., Cebu Business Park: Symphony of Fire

Cebu News Digest: April 7, 2015: Public warned: Days to get hotter; Year-round brgy. festivals in Cebu City?

After Cebu recorded its hottest day so far at 33.6 degrees Celsius last Black Saturday, Pagasa (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration) Mactan Weather Station said the temperature is expected to rise in the coming month.

A Cebu City barangay official, meanwhile, says there was nothing wrong in his use of a government car for a family outing at a beach.

In Cebu City Hall, a councilor suggests some festivals that the barangays can hold to attract tourists in the months following the Sinulog celebration.

Are you thinking of buying a condo unit?

Check out Eagles’ Nest by Primary Homes — a great option especially for students of Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu. The school has endorsed it as alternative living arrangement for its students. (Read more about the project here.)

Here are the top stories for today, April 7, 2015:

HOTTER DAYS AHEAD. Pag-asa is asking people to brace for hotter days. (Creative Commons photo:  Takeshi Kawai)
HOTTER DAYS AHEAD. Pag-asa is asking people to brace for hotter days. (Creative Commons photo: Takeshi Kawai)

‘Protect self from heat’

Since the heat index, or the actual temperature felt in a human body, is about four degrees higher than the recorded temperature, last Black Saturday’s temperature felt like 37.6 degrees.

Al Quiblat, chief meteorologist of PAGASA Mactan, said the public should watch out and prepare themselves for the hotter days ahead due to the progressing El Niño.

“Di ta angay’ng makuyawan sa bagyo sa pagkakaron. Ang angay natong bantayan ang kainit because of progressing El Niño.” — Al Quiblat, chief meteorologist of PAGASA Mactan

He pointed out that the minimum temperature that can trigger heat stroke is 32 degrees Celsius. He cautioned the public against long direct sun exposure and advised them to regularly drink water.

Yesterday, the Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) is not discounting the possibility of heat stroke as the cause of death of a 10-year-old female street child who was found unresponsive and bleeding from the mouth along Mango Avenue, Cebu City.

CCMC said they have yet to check the underlying cause of the child’s death, including her medical history.

Nothing wrong in using government car for beach outing: barangay chairman

Barangay Carreta chairman Eduardo Lauron said there was nothing wrong in his using a government car for a family outing in Marigondon, Lapu-Lapu City.

“It was my grandson’s birthday. Wala may bati siguro ana kay wala man na siya gigamit para sa sugal compared sa uban (Nothing’s wrong with that because it was not used in activities like gambling, like others).” — Barangay Carreta chairman Eduardo Lauron as quoted by Cebu Daily News.

Ombudsman Visayas spokesperson lawyer Maria Corazon Naraja said they will evaluate reports to determine action on the incident.

“It is but proper for government officials and employees to keep in mind that government funds and properties are meant for official purpose only. If they violate this rule, they have to answer for it.” — Ombudsman Visayas spokesperson Maria Corazon Naraja

Cebu City to improve barangay festivals to attract, sustain local tourists

Cebu City
To sustain the number of tourists coming to Cebu for the Sinulog throughout the rest of the year, the City Government is thinking of holding more festivals. (Photo taken from Cebu City PIO Facebook page)

Cebu City Councilor Gerry Carillo said they are proposing a number of barangay festivals for the city government to hold in order to help sustain the number of local tourists right after Sinulog.

“These festivals are already existing. What we want is to enhance them and make it more attractive so we could continue to invite more tourists to visit Cebu. These year-round festivals will give Filipinos and even foreign tourists more reasons to come back to Cebu.” — Gerry Carillo, Cebu City councilor

Part of the plan is to transform barangay fiestas into festivals and encourage more barangays to participate for the whole year. Eight city festivals are being finalized:

Buwad Festival, which covers San Nicolas, Pahina, Sawang, Pasil, Suba and Calamba, this month until May 10 in San Nicolas

Summer Festival with activities like biking, flying kite, car racing and Sta. Cruzan in Labangon next month (Carillo said they are still seeking approval for its implementation.)

Tartanilla Kabayo Festival, with Mambaling and Dulho as the lead organizers, in June

Sundang/Bolo Festival in Basak and San Nicolas in July

Puso Festival in Inayawan this August

Mango Festival in Brgys. Subangdako, Kalunasan, and Guadalupe in September

Mountain and Flower Festival by Bonbon, Babag, Busay, Buol, Sinsin, Sudlon 1&2, Sibugay and Tabunon in October

Kasadya sa SRP and Festival for the City (Cebu City Charter Day) in December to February

“Festivals are an excellent marketing tool. One of the objectives here is to make people come back to Cebu right after Sinulog. Cebu isn’t just about Sinulog. We also celebrate other festivals, which we hope locals and foreign tourists would take a look at and experience.” — Manny Ongkiko, an event organizer

Other top Cebu News stories:

Sun.Star Cebu: Rama orders re-blocking fire scene in Sitio Mansanitas, Barangay Cogon Pardo
Sun.Star Cebu: South Korean national charged with importing used clothes
The Freeman: 2 minors tagged in jeepney robberies nabbed

Cebu Business headlines:

The Freeman: Joint curriculum mulled to solve designers’ woes
The Freeman: DOLE 7 slates job fairs in Cebu and Bohol

Cebu News Digest: Jan. 24, 2015: Rama threatens to close SRP to vehicle traffic; Sinulog 2016 street parties to be spread out in other cities

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama is all over the news today: threatening to close the south coastal road if traffic measures to prevent accidents are not in place; threatening to bar vehicles from Talisay City from passing the SRP if the city does not allow Cebu City to dump garbage there; proposing other LGUs to host street parties for a mega-Sinulog next year.

Meanwhile, are you still reading this on a laptop or PC? We invite you to try it out on your phone. We made sure this site works well on your phone so that you can start your day with coffee and a rundown of the top Cebu news stories on your phone or tablet (just as your parents started their day reading newspapers during breakfast). Bookmark on your phone’s browser. Our app is still coming.

Here are the top Cebu news stories for today, January 24, 2015:

SRP road
SRP ROAD. Mayor Michael Rama has threated to close SRP to vehicle traffic unless safety measures are put in place.

Mayor Rama threatens to close SRP to vehicle traffic unless steps are taken to prevent accidents

After the spate of accidents in the Cebu South Coastal Road (CSCR) in the South Road Properties (SRP), Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama has threatened to close the road network.
Rama said that unless the City Traffic Operations Management (Citom), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)-Cebu City and South Road Properties Management Office (SRPMO) implement 5 road safety measures today, he would close the CSCR.

The measures are:

  • Cutting speed limit to 40 kilometers per hour from 60 kph
  • Putting up road safety signs
  • Deployment of traffic personnel 24/7
  • More street lights
  • More speed control measures like rumble stripes, road markings with reflectors and flashing caution lights

“Motorists are ordered to maintain caution by reducing their speed limit. Those who will drive beyond the required limit will be apprehended. Motorists shall also be mindful of the new road signs and observe them with due diligence.” — Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama

“Ang kuwang ra man gyud diha is disiplina. All the measures the City will take will be useless if the drivers do not cooperate. We need their cooperation.” — Citom traffic operations division chief Joy Tumulak

Accidents increasing (based on Citom records)

  • 199 in 2010
  • 256 in 2011
  • 272 in 2012
  • 280 in 2013

5 accident-prone areas:

  • Cebu City-Talisay City boundary
  • L. Pardo junction
  • Sugbo Building intersection
  • Mambaling junction
  • Ludo Bridge

Sun.Star Cebu: ‘Fix it or I close it’
The Freeman: Rama closing SRP to traffic if…

Rama wants to make Sinulog ‘mega-event,’ spread out street parties to Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Talisay, Minglanilla, Consolaction

Mayor Michael Rama wants next year’s Sinulog to become a “mega event” that will go beyond Cebu City. Rama is encouraging the cities of Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue and Talisay and the towns of Minglanilla and Consolacion to organize their own street parties and gimmicks.

“Ang ending, you shared the benefits with other LGUs, reduce the burden and you make everybody happy during the Mega Sinulog 2016.” — Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, overall chairman of the Sinulog Foundation Inc.

Rama said the Sinulog next year should be “extraordinary” because Cebu will be hosting the International Eucharistic Congress in 2016 and Pope Francis has been invited to it.

“Sinulog 2016 must be an extraordinary Sinulog, therefore it must be extra-ordinarily prepared anticipating for the arrival of VIPs and sister cities’ representatives around the globe.” — Mayor Michael Rama

Note: We are asking readers to send in suggestions to make next year’s Sinulog better. Feel free to add your suggestions in the post here: MyView: Did we party too hard during Sinulog? What should City Hall do in Sinulog 2016?

Mayor Rama press conference
PRESS CONFERENCE. Mayor Michael Rama answers questions of reporters during a press conference. (Photo from the Cebu City PIO Facebook page)

Rama threatens to bar Talisay City from passing SRP if Cebu City is not allowed to dump garbage in Talisay

Mayor Michael Rama yesterday threatened Talisay City he will close the South Road Properties to vehicle traffic from Talisay if officials will not allow Cebu City to dump its garbage in Talisay.

Talisay City Mayor Johnny de los Reyes has allowed Cebu City to dump its garbage in Talisay’s dumpsite but the City Council, which is dominated by the mayor’s political opponents, has questioned the move as being disastrous to the city’s environment.

“It would be against the interest of the people of Talisay if we allow others to also dump in our landfill.” — Talisay Vice Mayor Romeo Villarante

Rama said he will settle the issue with the Talisay City officials. De los Reyes said Cebu City will pay Talisay P700 per ton of garbage and with this fee, he estimates the city could earn millions in just a month.

“Importante mag-estorya. Kun kontra nila si JVR ayaw lang kontraha ang mayor sa Sugbo ug ayaw gahi og ulo kay kun kamo ang mohangyo nako basi di ko mosugot ug ipasirado nako ang SRP, Mambaling nalang makaagi.” — Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama

Cebu News
BANNER NEWS. Today’s front pages of Sun.Star Cebu and Cebu Daily News.

Other top Cebu news stories

Sun.Star Cebu: Hubo or ritual changing of the clothes of the Sto. Niño marks end of Sinulog festivities

Sun.Star Cebu: Congress has until February 20 to postpone SK elections

The Freeman: Suspect in killing lending collector in Argao arrested in KTV bar in Carcar, less than 24 hours after robbery and killing

The Freeman: LTFRB submits recommendation on petition for taxi fare rollback

The Freeman: Suroy-Suroy Sugbo participants praise tourism event; Aguinid falls on the spotlight

The Freeman: Danao City Government gets disaster information system from Smart Communications

Danao Infoboard system
COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM. The Danao City Government and Smart Communications, Inc. launched the city’s Infoboard system on Friday, January 23. Infoboard is an emergency and disaster management system that allows government officials to quickly send vital messages and information to citizens and disaster responders. Shown in photo are Danao City Vice Mayor Ramon “Red” Durano VI and Atty. Maria Jane C. Paredes, Smart senior manager for public affairs Visayas and Mindanao. (Photo taken from the Facebook page of Atty. Paredes, reprinted with permission)

Cebu Business Headlines

Sun.Star Cebu: 3.4 million tourists visited Central Visayas from January to November 2014, 200,000 more than same period in previous year

Sun.Star Cebu: 47 of 116 towns in Central Visayas lack banks, according to central bank

The Freeman: Regional Development Council asks local governments to support agri development plans


The Freeman: Cebu City imploding with unsolvable problems

The offer of Talisay City to allow Cebu City to dispose of some of its garbage in its garbage dump illustrates yet one more problem that Cebu City should have long ago found a remedy for. We say remedy because solutions have simply become too hard to come by these days. Like the problem with traffic and flooding, the problem with garbage is not something that cropped up only yesterday.

And that is just about garbage. Up to this time, the city sinks in the rain because it still is in the dark on how to cope with floods. And when it is not drowning, it is getting choked in traffic. Everyday. There is not a day that passes that it does not choke in traffic. And like every other problem, Cebu City does not know how to deal with it. And when it does not have a problem, it goes looking for one — like promising to gift everyone with money it does not have. Sick!

Read the full editorial.

Bong Wenceslao asks: Where’s the new CCMC

I thought that with the City Government soliciting the help of the people in building the new CCMC, it would repay the help by speeding up work on the project and regularly updating them on the work’s progress. But city officials have been silent for months now like nothing happened. Will we ever see any movement in the old CCM site, which has already been fenced shut?

I have already said this before. The Rama administration has a penchant for starting many projects and not following up on them. For example, it has torn down the old CitiCenter building in Kamagayan with a promise to build a structure for City Hall employees there. What we see in the area now is a parking area and a small karnabal.

Read the full column

Cebu News Digest: Jan. 22, 2015: Hooliganism ‘big blackeye’ for Sinulog; proposal seeks to require Cebu companies to hire senior citizens, Cebu students top dentistry board

Sinulog has both a religious and festive component. This year, however, its festive side was marred by reports of what The Freeman has now described as “hooliganism.”

We are gathering suggestions and feedback from people on how to make next year’s Sinulog, including the street parties, better, more fun and safer for everyone: pilgrims, partygoers, bystanders and passers-by. If you want to join the discussion, head off to MyView: Did we party too hard during Sinulog? What should City Hall do in Sinulog 2016?

Are you still reading this on a laptop or PC? We’d like to invite you to try it out on the phone. Make sure to bookmark on your phone’s browser. We are still working on our app.

Meanwhile, 3 students from Cebu, including 1 who nearly fell asleep because she did not drink coffee, topped the Dentistry Board Exam. At City Hall, Mayor Michael Rama disapproved a City Council resolution for the purchase of 80 garbage trucks for all of the city’s barangays.

Here are the top Cebu news stories for January 22, 2015:

DAMAGED. A FB community member submitted this photo saying this car was damaged amid the rowdy Sinulog revelry. We have not, however, been able to independently confirm its veracity.
DAMAGED. A FB community member submitted this photo saying this car was damaged amid the rowdy Sinulog revelry. We have not, however, been able to independently confirm its veracity.

The Freeman: Rise of hooliganism “a big blackeye for the Sinulog and Cebu City”

The Freeman says in its editorial today that hooliganism, criminal violence linked to football abroad, is “creeping inexorably” to the festival.

One of the cars trashed during the Sinulog. (Photo by Mike Limpag)
One of the cars trashed during the Sinulog in 2014. (Photo by Mike Limpag)

Here are a few examples. On Ramon Aboitiz Street near the Redemptorist Church, an unattended car parked in a commercial complex suffered a damaged roof and a broken windshield because drunk hooligans jumped on it and used the vehicle as a dance floor to an after-Sinulog party that was going on.

Is this what the Sinulog has become? Is this what the Sinulog is all about? Is this the picture of Cebu City we want to project to others? Many of those in the cars and taxis caught in these roads of hell and other places like them were visitors.

We agree that drinking cannot be removed from the picture because that is part of what a fiesta is all about. But the city government, as overall host of the event, cannot shirk from its responsibility of protecting everyone.

It will be another year before the next Sinulog but now is a good time to start preparing for the other aspects needed for success that were clearly overlooked this time

Among the paper’s suggestions: make sure all roads are open after the parade and patrols to implement this.

Read the full editorial: A big blackeye for the Sinulog and Cebu City

Sinulog after party
RAISING CONCERNS. People sleeping on pavements after a night of heavy after-Sinulog partying has raised concerns among local residents over the safety of the revelers. (Photo by Dr. Kristina Dosdos, reprinted with permission)

What’s you take? What do you suggest? Join our discussion in this article.

1 SWU student, 2 from CDU top Dentistry Board Exams

They are: Faye Jennifer Cabrera of Southwestern University (SWU), who placed 3rd; Cristy Allysa Almonte, of Cebu Doctors’ University (CDU) who ranked 7th; Rose Elaine Li of CDU who was at 10th place.

Almonte, according to the Sun.Star Cebu story, almost fell asleep while taking the exam because her friends told her not to take coffee.

Almonte is from Oroquieta City in Misamis Occidental. She is the daughter of a doctor working for the City Government and a dentist.

Cristy Almonte
7TH PLACER. Cristy Allysa Almonte. (Photo taken from FB profile)

“I have seen their hard work and I wanted to make it all worth it in the end.” — Dentistry Board 7th placer Cristy Allysa Almonte talking about her parents.

Councilor Carillo proposes requiring companies in Cebu to hire senior citizens

For every 10 workers, a Cebu City company should have 1 senior citizens, Cebu City Councilor Gerardo Carillo proposed in an ordinance.

Sun.Star Cebu said a national law already provides incentives to companies that hire senior citizens. Carillo, however, wants to make this a requirement for companies in Cebu City.

His proposal: 10 percent of a company’s labor force should be allotted to senior citizens.

“It is common knowledge that some members of this sector are still physically and mentally capable to perform tasks that some young adults perform. Most of the members of this sector are still willing to work if given the opportunity by the business sector.” — Councilor Gerardo Carillo

“It is a good ordinance if you think of it, but is it practical in all kinds of businesses?” — Cebu City Councilor Margarita Osmeña, asking if it would cover all kinds of businesses, including karaoke bars and massage parlors.

But during discussions at the City Council yesterday, Carillo apparently offered to change the resolution and make it voluntary after hearing the views of various industry and sector representatives.

Other top Cebu news stories

Cebu Business Headlines


MyView: Did we party too hard during Sinulog? What should City Hall do in Sinulog 2016?

YOU’VE probably seen the photos all over Facebook: people passed out and wasted on Cebu City’s streets after a night of heavy Sinulog partying. A writer I know was felt up while on the streets. Drunk people were grabbing random passers-by to kiss them, she said.

PASSED OUT. They passed out after a night of heavy partying.  We're blurred their faces to protect them from embarrassment.(Photos posted on Facebook by Carlo Borromeo)
PASSED OUT. They passed out after a night of heavy partying. We’re blurred their faces to protect them from embarrassment.(Photos posted on Facebook by Carlo Borromeo)

In last year’s Sinulog, I was walking with my wife and kids on Juana Osmeña Street leading to Baseline when someone jumped out of nowhere and slapped-painted my left cheek with body paint. I did not, as the Bible told us to, turn the other cheek. I wanted to beat the shit out of the guy. We stared at each other for a few seconds before I moved on, pressed forward by the crowd. My kids just laughed and continues to laugh when recalling what happened.

One of the cars trashed during the Sinulog. (Photo by Mike Limpag)
One of the cars trashed during the Sinulog in 2014. (Photo by Mike Limpag)

This year, apparently, has been worse. In its editorial, The Freeman said we should stop bitching about the issue on trash generated during the Sinulog.

What we should be bitching about is the unruliness of the crowds in the streets in the after-Sinulog parties. Where are the policemen, barangay tanods and other peace-keepers when they are needed to control those who take over the streets and prevent vehicles from moving forward, blocking their way and terrorizing their occupants by banging on the sides or jumping on them and rocking them, spraying them with beer or worse, spray-painting them.

What’s your view? Did you experience this during the Sinulog? What should the City do to protect revelers and passers-by next year? Please leave your suggestions and comments below. We will compile them and forward them to the Sinulog Foundation and the Cebu City Government.

Some suggestions we’ve received

(If you want to contribute, add it as a comment in the comments thread below.)

Cebu News Digest: Jan. 20, 2015: Will Pope Francis come to Cebu next year?

AFTER a rapturous welcome by millions of Filipinos, Pope Francis left the country yesterday “feeling the warmth” of the bastion of Christianity in Asia. While many in Cebu who had hoped the popular pontiff would drop by were disappointed, there are talks the pope will be here for an important Church conference next year.

Despite a campaign for a zero-waste Sinulog, 197 tons of garbage were collected after this year’s festivity, more than what was gathered last year.

Meanwhile, are you still reading this news summary on a PC or laptop? We’d like to invite you to try viewing it on a phone. We made sure this site works well on a phone. You can then start your day right by opening on your phone to get a rundown of the day’s top Cebu news and read our other stories.

Here are the top Cebu news stories for January 20, 2015:

Pope Francis invited to Cebu for International Eucharistic Congress in 2016

Philippine church officials are hoping Pope Francis will return to the country to attend the International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) that will be held in Cebu in January next year. Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said they are hoping the Pope would come and that he would bring the invitation up again when he meets him in Rome next month.

Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, according to a Cebu Daily News report, “draws hope from hints from the Vatican that Pope Francis is interested to attend the conference in Cebu.”

WILL POPE VISIT CEBU NEXT YEAR? Pope Francis looks to the crowd sending him off at the Villamor Airbase before entering the plane that took him to Rome yesterday. Local Church officials are hoping that the Pope will return to the country next year to attend the International Eucharistic Congress in Cebu in January. (Malacañang Photo)
WILL POPE VISIT CEBU NEXT YEAR? Pope Francis looks to the crowd sending him off at the Villamor Airbase before entering the plane that took him to Rome yesterday. Local Church officials are hoping that the Pope will return to the country next year to attend the International Eucharistic Congress in Cebu in January. (Malacañang Photo)

“I told him to visit the Philippines during the IEC and the Holy Father told me: ‘Pray that I’m still alive by that time and that I still have enough strength (to travel). I couldn’t help but laugh at his remark.” — Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma on a conversation with the Pope before his recent visit to the country.

The IEC 2016 was originally scheduled in May but moved to January 25 to 31 since the Pope’s schedule was full in May.

“Kung pupunta siya, wow, salamat. Pero sa ngayon, gusto ng Santo Papa na bumalik muna sa Roma para makapaghinga.” — Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle

“I am very optimistic nga moari siya sa 2016, judging from the people nga misugat niya ug katong mitambong sa kaihokan sa Manila… We should pray nga mobalik siya.” — Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III.

“I know that popes do not attend the IEC. In all the IECs that I have attended from India, Europe, Poland to Rome, to America, there’s no attendance of a pope, only a representative.” — Archbishop Emeritus of Cebu Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, who said he would love to personally invite the Pope here.

“While it is true that popes do not normally come to the IEC, IEC 2016 in Cebu merits a special consideration.” — Cebu Archdiocese media liaison officer Msgr. Joseph Tan, pointing out that Pope Francis is known as the “Pope of Surprises”

Huge Sinulog crowd overwhelms police, volunteers; 197 tons of trash gathered after Grand Parade

Crowd control has always been a key challenge of the Sinulog Grand Parade. This year, the huge turnout overwhelmed police and volunteers.

“We managed the crowd in the morning but at 2:30 p.m., they grew in number so we were overwhelmed. Some people who crossed the pedestrian crossing zones spilled over to the carousel route since they cannot head to the provided exit due to lack of space.” — Tinago Barangay Captain Joel Garganera, Sinulog crowd control committee head

The city designated 26 pedestrian zones to allow people to cross the carousel route without disturbing contingents joining the grand parade.

“At 4 p.m., the crowd was already unmanageable along Mango Avenue where house music was already blaring near the carousel route and people just wanted to be festive and dance.” — Joel Garganera

Acting Cebu City police chief Senior Supt. Conrad Capa suggested that the number of police personnel be doubled to better manage the crowd.

“Though some of the zones became ineffective, I would like to commend the officers who served as human barricades since they never lost their temper despite the heat.” — Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama.

Despite a Zero-Waste Sinulog campaign, revelers left 197 tons of garbage on the city’s streets, more than the 170 tons collected last year.

It took 1,000 workers, 13 garbage trucks and 11 hours to clear the streets of trash, a City Hall official said.

“Bisan pag butangan og trash bin ang carousel route, way control ang mga tawo. Wa sad mi control sa mga tawo.” — Department of Public Services chief Rolando Ardosa. (Even if we placed trash bins along the carousel route, people showed no control. And we couldn’t control them either)

Other Sinulog stories:

“The crowd in Manila is expecting more from Sinulog every year, that’s why we have to make sure that our representative can maintain the standard.” — Sinulog Foundation Inc. executive director Ricky Ballesteros


Were you among the 700 issued with citation for throwing trash, urinating in public etc? City Hall said you better settle that fine to avoid getting issued a warrant of arrest. Read The Freeman’s story here.

“Mas nindot kun i-settle dayon na nila para wala nay problema. Kun walay ikabayad, puwede ra mag-community service. Mas dali kun i-settle kaysa makasohan nato sila.” — Cebu City Environmental Sanitation Enforcement Team Chief Grace Luardo

Cebu Business Headlines

Cebu News Digest: Jan. 19, 2015: Pope calls on Filipinos to be ‘outstanding missionaries of faith in Asia;’ P1.25/liter oil price rollback today; Abuyog, Placer top Sinulog Grand Parade; no classes in Cebu today

An estimated 6 million to 7 million people attended the mass in Luneta yesterday, possibly the biggest papal crowd in history, Vatican officials said. Pope Francis is scheduled to leave the Philippines today following a visit that saw millions warmly welcoming the popular pontiff.

Late last night, organizers announced that Kulturang Placereño won the Sinulog-based category while Tribu Buyoganon of Abuyog, Leyte topped the free interpretation category.

Here are the top stories today, January 19, 2015:

Be outstanding missionaries of faith, Pope Francis tells 6M to 7M people gathered in Luneta

Pope Francis called for the protection of children and of the family in a mass at the Luneta that was attended by what the Vatican described as the biggest papal gathering in history.

“In these days, throughout my visit, I have listened to you sing the song: “We are all God’s children.” That is what the Santo Niño tells us. He reminds us of our deepest identity. All of us are God’s children, members of God’s family. Today Saint Paul has told us that in Christ we have become God’s adopted children, brothers and sisters in Christ. This is who we are. This is our identity. We saw a beautiful expression of this when Filipinos rallied around our brothers and sisters affected by the typhoon,” the Pope said.

PAPAL SELFIE. Pope Francis lets a woman later reported by a TV station as having kidney disease take a selfie with him. (Malacañang photo)
PAPAL SELFIE. Pope Francis lets a woman later reported by a TV station as having kidney disease take a selfie with him. (Malacañang photo)

Here are some of the things Pope Francis said during his mass in Luneta yesterday and an earlier event with the youth in the University of Santo Tomas.

Filipinos are called to be outstanding missionaries of the faith in Asia.

Certain realities of life we only see through eyes cleansed by our tears. I invite each one here to ask yourself: have I learned how to weep? Have I learned how to weep for the emarginated or for a street child who has a drug problem or for an abused child?

The great question of why so many children suffer, she did this in tears. The response that we can make today is: let us really learn how to weep.

Today, with so many means of communication we are overloaded with information. Is that bad? No. It is good and can help. But there is a real danger of living in a way that we accumulate information. We have so much information but maybe we don’t know what to do with that information.

To be wise use three languages: think well, feel well and do well. And to be wise allow yourselves to be surprised by the love of God. That will guarantee a good life.

DEVOTION. The Pilgrim Center at the Basilica del Santo Niño is the center of the devotion to the Holy Child. (Photo by Ted Espinueva)
DEVOTION. The Pilgrim Center at the Basilica del Santo Niño is the center of the devotion to the Holy Child. (Photo by Ted Espinueva)

Abuyog, Placer win in Sinulog grand parade; 2.5 million attend event; no classes today

Kulturang Placereño and the Tribu Buyoganon from Abuyog, Leyte topped this year’s Sinulog grand showdown. Although much of the country’s focus was on Pope Francis in Manila, the Sinulog still drew a sizeable crowd estimated by police at 2.5 million, albeit lower than last year’s 3.2 million.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama has ordered no classes today in both public elementary and high schools in Cebu City. He also encouraged private schools not to hold classes.

Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III also suspended classes in all levels, including tertiary, today. For private schools, it will be at the discretion of each school. Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes has also declared no classes in all public school levels today.

Here are the winners of the Sinulog Grand Showdown:

Sinulog-based category

Champion: Kulturang Placereño
2nd place: Sinanduloy Cultural Troupe, Tangub City
3rd place: Carcar City Division
4th place: Tuburan National High School
5th place: Talisay City Central School

Best in Costume: Sinanduloy Cultural Troupe
Best in Musicality: Carcar City Division

Free Interpretation category

Champion: Tribu Buyoganon, Abuyog, Leyte
2nd place: Tribu Lingganay, Alang-Alang, Leyte
3rd place: Tribu Himag-ulaw, Placer, Masbate
4th place: Catbalogan City, Samar
5th place: Lumad Basakanon

Best in Costume: Tribu Lingganay, Alang-Alang, Leyte
Best in Musicality: Tribu Buyoganon, Abuyog, Leyte

Street Dancing

Champion: Lumad Basakanon, Basak San Nicolas, Cebu City
2nd place: Sinanduloy Cultural Troupe, Tangub City
3rd place: Kulturang Placereño, Placer, Masbate
4th place: Tribu Buyoganon, Abuyog, Leyte
5th place: Tribu Lingganay, Alang-Alang, Leyte

P1.25 per liter cut in gas prices expected today

Petron Corporation, Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation (PSPC), Seaoil Philippines Inc., PTT Philippines, Phoenix Petroleum Philippines and Chevron Philippines Inc. (CPI) will roll back prices by more than a peso today, according to a report by the Philippine News Agency.

All 6 companies will cut gasoline prices by P1.25 per liter and its various diesel brands by P1.45 per liter. Kerosen products will also be P1.25 per liter cheaper.
The companies said the price cuts mirrors the plunge in oil prices in the international market. (From a PNA report)

Other top stories:

Cebu Business Headlines


Cebu News Digest: Jan . 14, 2015: Cebu is Plan B for Pope in case of bad weather; arguments spark over P7 fare, LTFRB tells commuters: report PUJ violators

Transport and security officials yesterday inspected the Mactan Cebu International Airport facilities in relation to the coming visit of Pope Francis in the country and the holding of the Sinulog. Officials said the pope’s flight will be diverted to Cebu only in the event of bad weather in Tacloban.

Arguments have broken out over the P7 minimum PUJ fare in routes where drivers have reportedly been “under-charging.” Transportation officials, meanwhile, told commuters to report those who do not follow the P7 minimum fare that took effect Tuesday.

Are you still reading this news briefing on a PC? We’d like to invite you to try opening it on your smartphone or tablet. We made sure it looks great on your phone or tablet so you can just read it with your breakfast and morning coffee. To get the daily summaries, like the official Facebook page or go directly to the site at

Here are the top Cebu news stories today, January 14, 2014.

Looming bad weather won’t stop papal visit; Pope’s plane to be diverted to Mactan if bad weather stops it from landing in Tacloban

Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) Secretary Emilio Abaya and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin lead an inspection of the Mactan Cebu International Airport yesterday.

“Cebu is a major hub so we are checking on the airport and the seaports to eliminate all possible threats and any distractions both to the Sinulog and Tacloban, and of course the activities of the Pope.” — DOTC Secretary Emilio Abaya.

Abaya stressed there are no changes in Pope’s itinerary.

“The itinerary is very clear… Cebu is not included. It is clear that all the Pope’s activities will be in Manila and Tacloban. There is no activity here… sorry to be the bearer of bad news.” — Abaya said.

He said the MCIA will be an alternative airport for the papal visit “only in the event of foul weather.”

PAPAL VISIT. Pope Francis will be in the Philippines this week. (Creative Commons photo by the Catholic Church of England)
PAPAL VISIT. Pope Francis will be in the Philippines this week. (Creative Commons photo by the Catholic Church of England)

The weather agency is sending a mobile radar system to Tacloban City to better keep track of weather conditions during the pope’s visit.

“There is a tendency that the tropical cyclone will pass by Eastern Visayas area in time for the Papal visit. As early as Friday, they will experience rains. In Cebu, light rains and strong winds will be felt this Friday.” — Pag-asa Visayas Director Oscar Tabada.

New PUJ minimum fare triggers arguments; LTFRB tells commuters to report violators

“Heated arguments between passengers and drivers marked the first day of the implementation of the new minimum fare for public utility jeepneys in Central Visayas,” The Freeman reported today.

The paper said the arguments broke out in routes where drivers claim to have been undercharging for some time. A transport union official cited as example the MEPZ 1, Lapu-Lapu City to JCentre Mall, Mandaue City route where drivers collect only P9 as fare instead of the P10 based on the distance. Drivers wanted to keep the charge but passengers insisted that it be lowered.

The transport union will ask the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to measure the length of the routes and check whether the fares should be adjusted.

LTFRB 7 Acting Director Rey Elnar, meanwhile, asked commuters to report violations on the minimum fare.

DOTC approves new bus routes for Metro Cebu

The Department of Transportation and Communication has approved the Talisay-Mambaling, Talisay-North Bus Terminal, Talisay-Mactan Cebu Airport and North Bus Terminal-Mambaling routes.

The new routes are under the High Quality Public Transport System that is meant to be an interim solution to the Bus Rapid Transit system that will start operation in 2018. SM Prime Holdings Inc. proposed to operate a bus service from Talisay City Hall to MCIAA in preparation for the opening of the SM Seaside City Complex in the middle of this year.

Based on the agreement, 69 buses will be deployed to “serve the demand and fulfill service requirements” for the first year of operations, The Freeman reported.

COLORFUL COSTUMES. Sinulog contingents are garbed in colorful native costumes. (Photo by Ted Espinueva)
COLORFUL COSTUMES. Sinulog contingents are garbed in colorful native costumes. (Photo by Ted Espinueva)

8 downtown roads closed to vehicles starting tomorrow until Sunday

Eight major roads in downtown Cebu City will be closed to vehicles starting tomorrow until Sunday as part of the Cebu City Government’s “pedestrianization” program. The roads include M.C. Briones, D. Jakosalem, Lapu-Lapu, Burgos, Legaspi Extension, Mabini Extension, Manalili, and Magallanes streets.

“Now, everyone is encouraged to walk just like people in Rome when the image of Blessed Pedro Calungsod was brought for canonization. They did it there and so we can. We will do it here.” — Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama.

Rama said he wants to check how the closure will work with a test run this afternoon.

“Pedestrianization will address the issue of preservation and decongestion of traffic. There would be avoidance of the continuity persistence of vehicle movement, which may affect the structural integrity of our historical infrastructures.” — Rama

More Cebu news stories:


DTI says consumer goods likely to drop by March

The plunge in the price of oil in the global market will lead to lower prices of basic goods late next month or early March, the Department of Trade and Industry said.

DTI-7 Director Asteria Caberte said prices will not immediately go down because producers normally have a three-month inventory of their products.

“We really expect the decrease in prices may be in March. Atong inventory level man gud is usually three months.” — Caberte.

Property developments:

Sun.Star Cebu: Developer tops off Horizons 101, tallest building in Visayas and Mindanao


MyStory: A Mormon covers the Sinulog and writes about religious co-existence

(Editor’s note: Nel Mozol is an InnoPub Media intern from the University of San Jose-Recoletos. He is a Mormon or a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We asked him to attend a Sinulog event and write about it from his perspective.)

The Philippines has always been heralded as the cradle of Catholicism in Asia. Walk around and you’ll meet children named Niño, Jesus, Mary and Magdalene.

A ride on a jeepney will offer a peek into this deep Catholicism – often you will see a miniature Santo Niño mounted on the dashboard, a rosary wound on the steering wheel or hanging from the rear-view mirror.

A sea of people brave the downpour to attend the mass at the Basilica del Sto. Niño. (USJR MassCom Intern Nel Mozol)
A sea of people brave the downpour to attend the mass at the Basilica del Sto. Niño. (USJR MassCom Intern Nel Mozol)

Catholic Church heritage

Most of the Philippine heritage sites are even Catholic churches, hinting on the strong presence of Catholicism in the country.

And here comes us, the non-Catholics. We number less than 20 percent of the population, according to a 2013 SWS survey. We do not get as many holidays as Catholics do. But the best thing is that we co-exist nicely with them.

As a Mormon, I’ve often been teased on why we give importance to giving tithes or why we don’t make the sign of the cross and down to the more weird ones like why David Archuleta is in our church. I don’t take those jokes seriously as there are more people who understand us and respect our belief.

Also out of curiosity, I propelled myself to the Basilica Minore del Santo Nino to attend a novena mass. It wasn’t an easy feat going there, it was raining so hard, there were almost zero jeepneys available, and I had to walk and brave the heavy downpour.

I have always heard naysayers exclaiming that most Catholics don’t take their church seriously as they do not bring Bibles and hardly observe the dress code.

But they’re wrong.

Devotees light candles in prayer at the basilica. (USJR MassCom intern Nel Mozol)
Devotees light candles in prayer at the basilica. (USJR MassCom intern Nel Mozol)

Deep belief

In there was a sea of people not minding the heavy rain just to attend the mass. Not serious? A lot of people cried while singing the Gozos. Not counting those people who were weeping and shaking while lighting the small candles, praying, and asking for guidance from the Lord God.

The dress code violation was half true, but mostly violating it were foreigners. It is worth noting that despite looking “manang” by modern standards, a lot of mothers, including their daughters, preferred to wear skirts that reach below the knee.

Good thing the Basilica also provides umbrellas to keep churchgoers from getting wet.

The priest’s homily was centered on the penance of sins. In this modern time, where we casually commit sin without knowing it, the homily served as reminder that we should be more mindful and please the Lord with all the good things that we do.

Common thread among religions

The homily talked about the same subject common in many religions –praising the Lord and avoiding sin.

What totally stood out for me is the variety of the churchgoers. There were students in uniform, LGBTs, old women, and the entire sort of people you come across on any given day.

It is amazing how despite their differences, they were brought together in the same place, at the same time, not minding the environmental conditions for one cause – that is praising the Lord God.

My whole experience taught me one thing – co-existence. The world is wonderful. It is just too sad that we are divided by our beliefs, traditions, religions and views.

It is so sad that we are creating an invisible barrier among ourselves, that blinds us to what could be.

The world is amazing. Wouldn’t it be more amazing, however, if we choose to share it peacefully with the rest of humankind, regardless of religion?

SINULOG SELFIE. The author (front) with fellow InnoPub Media interns from the University of San Jose-Recoletos.
SINULOG SELFIE. The author (front) with fellow InnoPub Media interns from the University of San Jose-Recoletos.

Sinulog fashion: Cut and style shirts at Islands Souvenirs or do it yourself

Sinulog Festival fashion is still all about the Cut and Style Sinulog shirts that have become popular over the last few years, especially during the Grand Parade when thousands dance and party on Cebu City streets.

This early, Islands Souvenirs is already offering the Cut and Style service to customers who buy its Sinulog t-shirts.

Islands Souvenirs allows customers to choose their favorite cut and style design from a variety of options. You only need to pay P100 on top of the cost of the Sinulog shirt.

CUT AND STYLE. Islands Souvenirs offers various options to cut and style your Sinulog shirt. (Photo by Max Limpag)
CUT AND STYLE. Islands Souvenirs offers various options to cut and style your Sinulog shirt. (Photo by Max Limpag)

Cut and Style fashion show

Want to get a free pass to the Islands Souvenirs Cut and Style fashion show on January 16, 2015 at SM Northwing? Head on over to the Islands Souvenirs FB page for the contest mechanics. Celebrity stylist Liz Uy and fashion blogger Laureen Uy will be among the show’s guests.

Islands Souvenirs Cut & Style is available at the following areas: SM City Cebu Northwing, SM City Cebu (lower ground floor), Ayala Center Cebu, Islands Souvenirs Sinulog Square and Robinson’s Cybergate.‪

Islands Souvenirs Cut & Style
By paying an additional P100, you can have Islands Souvenirs staff cut and style your Sinulog shirts for you. They offer various cut and style designs. (Photo by Max Limpag)

DIY cut and style shirts

You may also choose to cut and style your Islands Souvenirs Sinulog shirts yourself. There are DIY projects for no less than 30 cut and style shirt designs over at Buzzfeed and 100 pins on Pinterest. The sites provide step-by-step instructions to sprucing up your shirts in time for the festive Sinulog Grand Parade celebration.

Doing it yourself lets you save P100. There’s also the added benefit of not too many people having the same cut and style design as your shirt.

Many designs take only a few hours at most to make. Simple or fancy, the designs are certainly eye-catching and let you show off those henna tattoos.

Islands Souvenirs Cut & Style
Islands Souvenirs Cut & Style is available at SM City Cebu Northwing, SM City Cebu (lower ground floor), Ayala Center Cebu, Islands Souvenirs Sinulog Square and Robinson’s Cybergate.‪ (Photo by Max Limpag)

More photos of Islands Souvenirs Cut & Style:

Cebu News Digest Jan. 8, 2015: Mayor asks for dikes; council disagrees on voting definition; city ready to transfer Sinulog performance

A town mayor has asked for Capitol’s help to build dikes to prevent flooding in low-lying areas. Other mayors of towns affected by Seniang also sought help in rehabilitation. The Cebu City Government, meanwhile, extended help not only to Cebu towns affected by the storm but to 2 cities in Samar.

Here are today’s top Cebu news stories:

Mayor asks Capitol: Give us dams

Ronda Mayor Mariano Blanco III asked Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III and legislators to help them build dikes in rivers to prevent floods in low-lying areas.

Davide met yesterday with mayors of towns in southern Cebu that were affected by tropical storm Seniang. When Seniang hit southern Cebu in the last days of 2014, 17 persons died, 14 of them in Ronda.

The mayors also sought the governor’s help in the rehabilitation of houses and dealing with sinkholes.

Davide said he will ask the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Cebu Provincial Engineering Office to study where they can build river dikes.

IN ARGAO. A sinkhole topples a hut after tropical storm Seniang hit the area. (Photo by Evelyn Llevado Remando)
IN ARGAO. A sinkhole topples a hut after tropical storm Seniang hit the area. (Photo by Evelyn Llevado Remando)

Sun.Star Cebu said the mayors who attended the meeting included Blanco, Raymond Joseph Calderon of Samboan, Verna Magallon of Alegria, Beatriz Caburnay of Alcantara, Teresito Mariñas of Barili and Inocentes Cabaron of Moalboal.

Sun.Star Cebu also reported that as of yesterday, 148 houses were destroyed and 449 houses damaged by Seniang in Alcantara, Barili, Dumanjug, and Ronda.

Cebu City sets aside P1.8 million to help areas hit by Seniang

The Cebu City Council yesterday approved P1.8 million as financial assistance to Dumanjug, Alcantara, Ronda, and Sibonga in Cebu, Catbalogan City in Samar and Borongan City in Eastern Samar. Each local government unit will get P300,000.

The financial assistance for Catbalogan and Boronggan will not be released yet since the resolution by the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council recommended only the P1.2 million in assistance to the four southern Cebu towns.

Councilor Alvin Dizon said that although he has no objections to helping the cities of Catbalogan and Borongan, there should be guidelines on when the City can send assistance to local government units outside Cebu.

“I’m surprised! Nakakatuwa naman the City of Cebu extended help to us. It’s really a big help and it shows that the city has a big and generous heart for areas affected by the typhoon.” — Catbalogan City Mayor Stephany Uy-Tan in an interview with The Freeman.

Issue on two-thirds vote definition stops council from overriding Rama’s veto of SRP sports hub

The question on what constitutes a two-thirds vote stopped the Cebu City Council from overriding yesterday the veto by Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama of an ordinance setting aside 10.6 hectares of the South Road Properties for a sports hub.

Councilors Eugenio Gabuya Jr., Mary Ann delos Santos, Hanz Abella, Alvin Dizon, Lea Japson, Nida Cabrera, Sisinio Andales, Margarita Osmeña, Roberto Cabarrubias, Nestor Archival and Alvin Arcilla voted to overturn Rama’s veto.

But Council presiding officer and Cebu City Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella said one more vote was needed to override the veto, citing a 2001 DILG legal opinion. Gabuya, however, disagreed and cited a 2007 legal opinion to back him up.

The council agreed seek the legal opinion of the DILG and pending that, suspend the implementation of the ordinance

Sun.Star Cebu: Issue on what constitutes two-thirds vote stops council from overriding veto
The Freeman: Council voting results in stalemate

SINULOG BEAT. The grandest festival in the country opens early in the morning today with a religious walk. Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama is prepared to transfer performances if bad weather hits the city on the day of the grand parade. (Photo by Lito Lapure used with permission from the Sinulog Foundation)
SINULOG BEAT. The grandest festival in the country opens early in the morning today with a religious walk. Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama is prepared to transfer performances if bad weather hits the city on the day of the grand parade. (Photo by Lito Lapure used with permission from the Sinulog Foundation)

Sinulog starts; workers ready in case of bad weather

Sinulog activities open at 4 a.m. today with the Walk of Jesus.

If bad weather hits Cebu City during the grand parade on January 18, contingents will perform either in the City Hall block in the South Road Properties or in the Cebu Coliseum, organizers said.

“This will be if worse comes to worst. The judging for the contingents will have to be transferred.” — Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama

Rama said the venue should accommodate at least 5,000 people. The performance will be transferred only in the event that the city will be placed under Signal No. 1 by the weather bureau.

Sun.Star CebuWhatever weather comes, Sinulog workers ready

Other stories:

Also interesting… The Freeman editorial: Raising taxes to throw away needlessly is crazy

It is difficult to understand why a city that keeps bloating its budget with unnecessary cash doleouts would have to fund those unnecessary doleouts with more taxes. The more sensible and practical thing to do would have been to scrap those unnecessary cash doleouts altogether. After all, the only purpose they really served was to win pogi points for city officials and nothing else. — Editorial, The Freeman, Jan. 8, 2015

Cebu Business Stories
Local governments told to streamline permit renewal process

Business owners in Cebu are calling on local governments to streamline the annual renewal of business permits and licenses and cut down the red tape.

Filipino-Cebuano Business Club Inc. president Rey Calooy said procedures in getting and renewing permits should be standardized in all local governments.

Rey Calooy. (Photo taken from Facebook page)
Rey Calooy photo taken from his Facebook page.

“Gawas sa local taxes, naa pay fees for sanitary bisan way klaro ang [garbage] collection. Every step naay bayad.” — Rey Calooy

Department of Agriculture 7 tells farmers to go organic

“There is a high demand for organic food. There is money in natural farming (because the products) command a premium price. We need to maximize this opportunity.” — DA 7 Director Angel Enriquez

Cebu Business Month organizers start finalizing events

Overall chairman Francis Dy says this year’s celebration has “Glocalized Cebu” as theme and continues last year’s efforts to help businesses prepare for the Asean Economic Community (AEC).

He said CBM will be a platform for local companies to network with local and global companies to grab opportunities when the AEC takes full affect by yearend. (Sun.Star Cebu story)

“I was hesitant to accept it. I knew that it would take up almost 100 percent of my time from the business. But I saw the sincerity and that she needed someone to help out.” — Francis Dy on being asked by CCCI president Ma. Teresa Chan to chair this year’s CBM.

Cebu News Digest Jan. 6, 2015: Urgent need for clean water; steel bridge in Sibonga; 2 fires in Metro Cebu

The Department of Health (DOH) Central Visayas has asked municipal health officers to monitor water sources to make sure these have not been contaminated by damage wrought by Tropical Storm Seniang. Yesterday, 2 fires hit Metro Cebu, destroying 11 houses in Cebu City and damaging 1 in Lapu-Lapu City. Also yesterday, Capitol said it will be donating P1 million to the Sinulog Foundation for the holding of the country’s grandest festival. Pit senyor, indeed!

Here’s our roundup of the top Cebu news stories coming out in today’s papers:

Need for clean water in south Cebu urgent

The Manila Water consortium, which has a joint venture with the Cebu Provincial Government to pursue the Cebu Bulk Water Project, sent a mobile water treatment plant to Alcantara on Monday. That plant can transform murky stream water into potable water by 1,500 to 3,000 liters of per hour, according to a report by Sun.Star Cebu: Need for clean water urgent.

Officials are worried damages caused by Seniang might include contamination of water sources.

Mandaue City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office head Felix Suico said they have deployed a tanker to be filled with 50,000 to 75,000 liters of water in Moalboal for delivery to Ronda, which was badly damaged by Seniang.

Cebu Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office head Baltazar Tribunalo Jr. said that there are now four water treatment systems in place in the south. On top of that, Dr. Expedito Medalla of DOH-Central Visayas said he and his staff will be with other government officials to distribute 350 jerry cans in Sibonga, Dumanjug, Alcantara and Ronda. Each can hold up to 20 liters of water, he said.

Monitor water sources
CHECK IF IT’S SAFE. The Health Department has asked municipal health officers to monitor water sources to make sure these have not been contaminated after Tropical Storm Seniang hit Cebu. (Creative Commons Photo by Mel McC)

Start of classes brings, what else, heavy traffic!

The first day of class after the Christmas break was peaceful but the sudden influx of vehicles caused heavy traffic, an official told The Freeman.

Traffic Operations Management Operations Chief Jonathan Tumulak, however, told The Freeman they were able to manage the heavy traffic even during the peak hours. He particularly pointed out the Banilad-Talamban corridor as experiencing heavy traffic from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.

“Tanan nag-expect na gyud nga ma-traffic ta kay ting klase na, ting-uli from the province, and ting-trabaho na,” — Cebu City Traffic Operations Management Operations Chief Jonathan Tumulak.

DPWH promises to complete steel bridge connecting Argao, Sibonga in 2 weeks

Public works officials said they are working to complete a temporary 2-lane steel bridge to reconnect Dumlog, Sibonga and Argao in 2 weeks. DPWH 7 Director Ador Canlas said the bridge panels are already at the site and the other components will be transported to Cebu from Cagayan de Oro City soon.

“We hope we can reopen the bridge to traffic before the Sinulog celebration,” he said.

Dumlog bridge
TEMPORARY. A temporary steel bridge is being built after the destruction of this bridge in Dumlog, Sibonga cut off southern Cebu towns from the rest f the province. (Photo by Allan Tangcawan)

Completing the bridge is important because many Negros and Bohol residents travel by land and pass the area to go to Cebu City for the Sinulog Festival, which will culminate with the grand parade on January 18. (Sun.Star Cebu: DPWH vows to complete steel bridge connecting Argao, Sibonga in 2 weeks)

Cebu 2nd District Representative Wilfredo Caminero, on the other hand, is asking that huge trucks be banned from using alternate roads on part of the so-called vegetable highway connecting Mompeller, Argao and Papan, Sibonga. He described the passage as in “critical situation” due to continuous rain and the passage of big trucks. (The Freeman: Caminero: Bar huge trucks from using alternate roads)

11 houses destroyed in 2 fires that hit Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City

11 houses were destroyed in a fire at an interior portion of Barangay Capitol Site yesterday morning. Firefighters reportedly had a hard time getting to the scene because of a creek. The 20-minute fire caused an estimate P250,000 in damage to properties. The Freeman quoted Senior Fire Officer 3 Roylin Maratas as speculating that lighted candles children in the area were playing with may have started the fire.

“Duna ta nadawat na information na magsige gyud ni sila og duwa og kandila. Kon biyaan ni sila sa ilang mga ginikanan,” — Senior Fire Officer 3 Roylin Maratas.

Capitol to donate P1 million to Sinulog Foundation

Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III yesterday said the Cebu Provincial Government will be donating P1 million to the Sinulog Foundation as financial assistance for the holding of the Philippines’ grandest festival. Sinulog Foundation executive director Ricky Ballesteros had sought the governor’s help. (Sun.Star CebuSinulog body to get P1M)

Also interesting:

Cebu Business News

Benedicto company to launch BPO building this year

Cebu-based Enrison Land Inc., the company behind the Be Resorts hotel brand, will be launching a business process outsourcing or BPO building this year in the IT Park. The company recently announced expansion plans for Be Resorts.

“Cebu is growing fast and we’d like to be part of such strong growth.” — Managing Director Enrilen Joy Benedicto said.

Feng Shui ‘expert’ sees rosy economic prospects for Philippines

Feng shui and astrology expert Hanz Cua told the The Freeman that the Year of the Wooden Sheep, which will begin on the Chinese New Year on February 19, will be “more prosperous, quiet and relaxed compared to previous years.”

With the ASEAN integration, Cua says economic relations among member countries will be more prosperous.

“2015 is also a good year to start a business for start-ups. The Philippine economy will be busier this year. Dahil paakyat yung ating economy, may job offers para sa mga walang trabaho.” — Feng shui and astrology expert Hanz Cua

Sinulog festival guide Android app now available

Sinulog 2014 is less than 3 months away. If you’re planning to attend the grandest festival in the country, you can get help in preparing for it by downloading our Sinulog Guide Android app in the Google Play Store.

The app contains stories about the and offers tips on how to make the most out of your stay in Cebu for the Sinulog festival. It lists places where you can stay – complete with phone numbers and location data.

The phone numbers and location data are active – you only need to tap on a phone number to make a call or on the “check location link” to let the system check the location and, through GPS, provide you with directions to the place.

Continue reading “Sinulog festival guide Android app now available”