Sinulog - One Beat, One Dance, One Vision!

Sinulog Festival - Cebu, Philippines

image of Señor Santo Niño
Señor Santo Niño
Sinulog is an annual event held every 3rd Sunday of January here in Cebu City, Philippines, in honor of  Señor Santo Niño (child Jesus). If you haven't visited Cebu, I recommend you witness this momentous event. This is the most popular festival here in the province of Cebu and one of the most grandest events in the Philippines. The capital city of Cebu is flocked with tourists from all over the world including local tourists. Some fellow countrymen, Cebuanos in particular go home at this time of the year to witness the festivity. Find places to stay in Cebu here

Contingent of Sinulog Festival
Photo Credit:

As you already knew, the Philippines is predominantly Catholic but even if you are from another religion, you can still enjoy this event because this isn't only spiritual, there is a cultural side of this, the Sinulog dance competition where contingents from Cebu and other provinces in the Philippines vie for a significant amount of prize. Catholics or non-Catholics flock to the streets to see local celebrities, floats and "higante" (giant) parade and see some contingents dancing in preparation for their actual presentation on the stage at Cebu City Sports Complex. For the past several years, you can see all the contingents performed along the streets of Osmeña Boulevard, Mango Avenue, P. del Rosario St. or on the streets where they are being judged but lately, the judging and presentation is now done at the sports complex.


There is a nine-day Novena Mass prior to the event and on the day before the Grand Parade (Mardi Gras), there is a Fluvial Procession of the miraculous image of Santo Niño from the waters of Lapulapu City (where mother Mary is situated: Nuestra Senora Virgen de Regla) and Mandaue City (where Senor San Jose is situated) to Cebu City where the child Jesus is situated (Senor Santo Nino).

novena mass during sinulog


Prior to the Sinulog Mardi Gras, you can hang out to several places in Cebu City where you can mingle with a lot of people from all walks of life. You can check out Ayala Center Cebu, SM City Cebu, Liv Superclub, City Times Square, Crossroads, IT Park, Mango Avenue or just basically anywhere in the city where several pre-Sinulog events are held. Cebu City is in the festive mode during this time of the year. There are also several events prior to the Grand Parade such as Sinulog Idol, "Sinulog Sa Kabataan" and several others including concerts from local and international artists.

With family during Sinulog Festival
With my family during Sinulog, 2014, 2015, 2016
If you want to go here and experience Sinulog, it would be better to check in at your favorite accommodations 3 to 5 days in advance prior to the 3rd Sunday of January so as to enjoy the many events before the Mardi Gras.

See of people during Sinulog festival
Sinulog 2014
On the day of the Sinulog Mardi Gras, you can expect a sea of people on the streets of Osmeña Boulevard, Mango Avenue, P. del Rosario St, Colon St, F. Ramos St, walking, dancing, piling up to see the contingents, floats, "higante" and some local celebrities paraded on the streets. You can also expect some floats from various companies including the famous one from IPI and "tv/movie" floats where you can see local celebrities starring on those movies/tv shows they are promoting. After the event, there are fireworks display in SM City Cebu and Ayala Center Cebu.

one of the contingents of Sinulog Festival
One of the contingents of Sinulog 2016
Float entry during Sinulog
One of the float entries, Sinulog 2016

If you are the formal type, the best recommendation for you is to buy a ticket for the entrance so you can watch all the contingents perform at the Grand Stand in Cebu City Sports Complex situated at the back of Abellana National School. You can purchase the Grandstand ticket online here.
Higante entry from one of the participants
"Higante" (giant) entry, Sinulog 2016

Expect to walk, walk and walk as most jeepneys (public transportation) are rerouted, short-routed and some streets near the city center are closed to accommodate the contingents. 

During the Mardi Gras, do wear comfortable clothes and wear a cap/hat if you want, grab a pair of sunglasses and bring a bottle of water to quench your thirst.

Enjoy and have fun! Now is the best time to book a ticket and reserve a room at your hotel of choice here in Cebu, Philippines.

*Watch out for Sinulog 2018 Schedule of Events soon 

  • December 1, 2015 to January 31, 2017 - Street Fair at Osmeña Blvd (Jones Avenue)
  • January 5 - Opening Salvo: Walk with Jesus
  • January 6 - Sinulog 2017 Kick Off
  • January 7 - Sinulog Idol
  • January 8 - Sinulog sa Barangaya and Lalawigan
  • January 11 - Sinulog Idol
  • January 12 - Sinulog Festival Queen Runway
  • January 13 - Walk with Mary
  • January 14 - Fluvial Procession
  • January 15 - GRAND PARADE DAY
  • January 16 - Awarding Ceremonies
  • January 20 - HUBO
  • Januray 31 - Judging Sinulog 2017 Photo Contest
  • February 1 - Judging of Short Film
  • February 4 - Photo Exhibit Winning Photos
  • Source:
  • For more detailed schedules - click here (source: Cebu Flash Report)


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Last update: 1/2/17