CEBU CITY – Be hospitable, be vigilant. These are just some of Mayor Michael Rama’s appeals to the public as Cebu City prepares for the Sinulog 2012 festivities, which will celebrate Cebu as a City of Culture.
In keeping with the festivities’ theme, furniture pieces, couture and other creations of Cebuano artists and designers will take center stage in this year’s Sinulog grand parade finale.
The Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) expects to spend up to P40 million to offer spectators something new during the grand parade on January 15, particularly with the performance and concept of participating contingents.
Peace and order will also be closely monitored in the days leading to the grand parade, with the mayor making a personal appeal to the public to cooperate in keeping the city peaceful throughout the festivities.
In his news conference on Tuesday, Rama also announced that letters of invitation to attend the Sinulog 2012 are being prepared for President Benigno Aquino III and Vice President Jejomar Binay.
He also urged Cebuanos to be extra hospitable to foreign and local tourists who will be in Cebu for the Sinulog.
“I would like to bring to all the element of preparedness… we have visitors and we should not insult our visitors but rather, we should all be accommodating and give our utmost hospitality,” Rama said.
The mayor also urged locals and tourists to cooperate in keeping the city safe by being vigilant and security-conscious, and not to bring valuables in the streets.
Thousands of revelers are expected to arrive in Cebu starting next week to attend the fluvial procession and the foot procession of the image of the Sto. Nino on January 14 and the grand parade the following day.
City Hall has donated P20.5 million to the SFI for the staging of the Sinulog. Of the amount, P18 million will go directly to the winning contingents’ cash prize, while the P2.5 million will cover the expenses for the grand finale.
Twelve out-of-town contingents from Visayas and Mindanao registered to join the parade and compete for the P1-million grand prize for the Sinulog-based and free interpretation categories and the street dancing competition.
Among the contenders are Tangub City and Placer in Masbate, the defending champions in the Sinulog-based and free interpretation categories, respectively.
Lanao del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay, Liloy in Zamboanga del Norte, Kidapawan in Cotabato, Alang-Alang in Leyte, Dulag in Leyte, Tanauan in Leyte, Dumaguete City and Sta. Catalina in Negros Oriental will also join the Sinulog.
At the end of the parade, revelers at the Cebu City Sports Center grandstand can look forward to the grand finale that will cost organizers P2.5 million to stage, as well as the fireworks display.
SFI Executive Director Ricky Ballesteros said this year’s Sinulog will focus on the Asean theme and culture, following Cebu City’s designation as a City of Culture by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
And because Sinulog has always been about culture, he said they want to offer visitors something new, which is why the participating contingents will be judged according to the concept of their dance.
“Our judges will look for something new, so the choreographers will have to inject fresh ideas into their performance,” he told Sun.Star Cebu.
During the finale, the works of art of renowned Cebuano designers, musicians, artists, filmmakers and performers will be featured, Ballesteros said.
Furniture pieces of designer Kenneth Cobonpue and the creations of Monique Lhuillier, Cary Santiago, Jun Escario and Philip Rodriguez will be incorporated in the dance number during the finale.
The masterpieces of painters Martino Abellana and Romulo Galicano, who are both from Carcar City, and short films by Remton Zuasola will also be featured.
Cebuano performers Raki Vega, Ana Fegi and Jing Fegi will also come home from Hong Kong Disneyland to perform during the grand finale.
“The creative industry of Cebu—from furniture to gowns—will be projected in the 30-minute production number. It will show how Cebu has evolved into a City of Culture,” Ballesteros said in an interview Tuesday. (With Elly T. Bolonos of Sun.Star Cebu)