My 2016 Sinulog sa Cebu experience started two weeks before my flight to Cebu. Two weeks finding low fares and seat sales and hotel reservations for my upcoming trip. I’ve confirmed my ticket booking a couple of days only before my flight and from that time, I haven’t had a chance to book any rooms yet.
I tried HotelQuickly, Agoda, TripAdvisor, and Airbnb. I even tried hooking up with TravelBook as recommended by Cebu Pacific. But since everyone is going to Cebu for the Sinulog Festival, it was very difficult to book for a room.
I arrived in Cebu on January 16 at past 9 in the evening and was already preparing to sleep inside the airport should I wont be able to make a booking. Luckily, a friend living in Cebu informed me that Ford’s Inn still has one more room left. I grab my backpack, hailed a GrabTaxi, and went immediately to Banilad where Ford’s Inn is located. Paid a sum of PHP 250 to driver Jason Santillan (7CE 1510) who drove me safely to Ford’s Inn.
After I checked-in at Ford’s Inn, I grab a quick bite at 7-Eleven for my late dinner. Spend a little over a PHP 150 for that.
I don’t want to waste my first (technically) first day in Cebu, so I joined my friends in the first-ever Plus63 party at Cebu International Convention Center in Mandaue. It’s a 20-minute ride from the hotel. I rode a regular cab and paid PHP 200 to the driver.
The place wasn’t yet filled with the crowd when I got there. I paid PHP 1,200 for the ticket which included a wristband. Me and my Cebu-based blogger friends went inside the convention ground where the party was happening. It was around 12 midnight and when Steve Angello appeared on stage when people started to flock the ground, gyrating, dancing, and singing along to the music of the famous DJ.
Past 2AM, I decided to call it a night. Me and Mark went ahead of the group and waited for about 5-10 minutes outside for a cab ride. Unfortunatley, we have to walk a mile long distance to finally get a taxi. Mark got off near his place and me at Ford’s Inn. I paid another PHP 200 for that ride.
It was exhausting day/night.
The next morning, I woke up at around 9, and had my breakfast at the function hall of Ford’s Inn. Went back to my room afterwards, and prepared my gear for our Sinulog Festival walk.
By 11 in the morning I booked a GrabTaxi ride driven by Dante Gabonada (GXL 742). The ride has an estimated fare of PHP 58-87 from Ford’s Inn to Ayala Center Cebu. I paid PHP 100.
I waited for Atty. Ethelbert at Starbucks at the ground level. Ordered a Frapuccino and a Slice of Cake.
Atty. Ethelbert came at around 12 noon and we transferred to Starbucks Veranda area where the other group will meet up.
At the Starbucks Veranda, I met blogger friends from Manila who also came to Cebu, flown by a smartphone brand the other day, to join the Sinulog festivity. Myke and Rod were buying Starbucks items and were already preparing to check-out from their hotel. They have to fly back in Manila that afternoon.
While waiting for the others, I kept asking Ethelbert if we’ll be able to see the fluvial parade with cultural dancers. He said ‘maybe’ because he told me that the road we’ll be in might not be the place where the parade will take place.
I really wanted to see the parade and that was my first agenda why I booked for this Sinulog trip. I wanted to capture those colorful cultural parade for my portfolio.
Marco Polo came around and we decided to have our lunch at Brique, a nice restaurant in Ayala Cebu with grilled meal as their specialty. For that lunch alone, I spent PHP 260, and it was worth it.
It was almost 2PM when we started our Sinulog walk from Ayala Center Cebu to Fuente Osmena Circle. We were already a large group by then.
I was excited as what will happen next and I am still waiting to catch a parade that I can capture on my smartphones and my Nikon D3100. It was a fun walk meeting many people on the streets while our faces were colored with poster inks that signified our presence in that street celebration.
There was this very important reminder (that I didn’t follow). Wear disposable clothes. Meaning, if you’re joining this parade, you must wear clothes that you can break away from. You don’t want your favorite shirt ruined as different colors of washable inks or the constant push and pull may destroy your outfit of the day (OOTD).
I decided to wear my favorite Team Manila sando shirt and khaki shorts to go along with my black Converse sneakers. Good thing, they weren’t ruined that bad. But there were stains and markings left on them that reminded me of my Sinulog Festival experience.
And that’s okay. I wasn’t prepared for it but I had a wonderful and memorable experience from that celebration.
It was wild and exciting. People crossing the streets meet and greet everybody shouting ‘Viva Pit Senyor!’ and everyone were on their festive moods.
We arrived at Fuente Osmena Circle by 6PM and we had an early puso rice and barbecue dinner at the circle where lot of makeshift eatery stalls were available for spectators and visitors. That meal of 3 puso and 2 barbecue sticks with a bottle of 7-Up was worth the PHP 150 pot that I shared with the group.
We began our walk back to Ayala after that break. Like our walk to Fuente, it was also a little difficult as we were met by a much larger scale of crowd that barricaded almost all of the entire streets going back to Ayala. We’ve experienced a moment where some of our group-mates were lost in the sea of revelers as we make our way out as it gets dark in the evening.
One of our companion almost cannot make it and had a terrible headache because of stress. I also felt that my feet and body were starting to complain but I had to stay fit and mentally strong, so I can go back sound in my hotel.
It was tiring but I survived. It was exhausting but fun. It wasn’t what I was expecting but it my trip for Sinulog was worth it.
Next January, I plan on going back to Cebu and by that time, I’ll capture photos of the cultural dance parade.