Cebuanos share best ways to enjoy Sinulog Festival

WATCH: What is Sinulog Festival?

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — While the month-long Sinulog celebrations have already kicked off, the grand parade is yet to happen on Sunday (January 17).

Two Cebuanos — both Sinulog veterans — gave tips to tourists on what they should do and where they should be to fully enjoy the Sinulog festivities.

Broadcast journalist Jun Tariman witnessed the very first Sinulog Festival in 1981 and has attended countless Sinulog festivals whether as a journalist covering the event or as a spectator, while Ricky Ballesteros is the executive director of the Sinulog Foundation.

What to expect at the Grand Parade

Sinulog-1_CNNPH.png The Sinulog Grand Parade will kick off at 9 a.m. of Sunday (January 17).  

The Sinulog Festival highlights two aspects: the religious side and the cultural side, said Ballesteros. The religious aspect of the festival will happen on Saturday, while the cultural aspect will take place on Sunday.

The fluvial procession and the solemn procession of the image of Santo Niño will happen on Saturday.

"During the fluvial procession you can all experience the solemnity of the procession where millions of people are joining," Ballesteros said.

The Sinulog Grand Parade will kick off at 9 a.m. on Sunday, but before that three masses will start in different venues at 4 a.m., 6 a.m., and 8 a.m.

READ: Schedule of Sinulog Grand Parade

At 9 a.m, all 32 contingents will start dancing simultaneously and they will also end at the same spot where they started — a 6.1-kilometer stretch right in the heart of Cebu City.

Ballesteros said aside from the street dancing, 50 floats will compete their designs and concepts.

"The Sinulog is about street dancing so maybe they [revelers] could walk the 6.1-kilometer road if they don't want to watch all the contingents. If they cannot see the contingents along a certain street, they can just walk and follow the route — that's the beauty of the carousel route," he said in an interview with CNN Philippines Digital.

Related: Navigate Cebu's Sinulog Festival with the help of an app

To end the Sinulog celebration, there will be a fireworks display and the grand finale at the Cebu City Sports Center.

Those interested to watch the ritual presentations of the contingents inside the Cebu City Sports Center can buy tickets from the Sinulog Foundation office, with the price ranging from P1,000 to P2,500.

What to wear

Sinulog-2_CNNPH.png Large festival crowds at Sinulog seek relief from the sun under umbrellas in Cebu City.  

The organizers are expecting three million people in the streets during the entire day. Major roads will be closed to traffic and public utility vehicles are rerouted, so be prepared to walk long distances and crowded streets.

Related: Security heightened for Sinulog

Ballesteros advised revelers to wear comfortable clothes without compromising style, adding that they must only bring the essentials. He also said that revelers must remember to take care of themselves during the parades especially if they plan to watch the street performances — which will last at least nine hours.

"Just wear comfortable clothing like comfortable shoes, drink a lot of fluids, just bring an exact amount, no jewelries, and to protect you from the sun, wear sunblock, and maybe you can bring a handkerchief," he said.

Tariman's advice was simple, "Huwag magdala ng kahit ano. [Don't bring anything.]"

He said attended must always be alert in their surroundings because of the thieves and snatchers lurking.

Where to watch the parade

Sinulog-4_CNNPH.png The organizers are expecting three million people in the streets during the entire day.  

The event organizers are charging fees for the tickets to watch the presentations inside the sports center. They also said slots are limited, but Tariman said tourists should opt to watch the revelries on the streets to feel the spirit of the festival.

"Kung gusto mo ng festive mood, doon ka sa kalsada. Huwag ka doon sa sports center kasi 'pag doon para kang nanunood ng field demonstration. At konti lang ang makapapasok. Kung pupunta ka doon sa kalsada, makikita mo 'yung mga tao doon na masaya lahat, ang daming tao," he said.

[Translation: If you want to feel the festive mood, stay on the streets. Do not go to the sports center because it will feel like you are watching a field demonstration, plus only a limited number of people can enter. If you join the festivities on the streets, you will feel a more celebratory spirit.]

But Tariman said that it would still depend on the preference of the revelers.

"Kung gusto nilang makita ang rituals, doon sila sa sports center. Kapag nasa kalsada ka, it seems like you are a part of the performance. Ang ibang turista, nakikisayaw sa kalsada."

[Translation: If they want to witness the rituals, the sports center is where they should be. But on the streets, it will seem like you are a part of the performance. Some tourists even join the performers dance.]

Why you should join the fun

Sinulog-3_CNNPH.png The Sinulog Festival is an annual cultural and religious festival held on the third Sunday of January in Cebu City.  

Ballesteros promised that this year's Sinulog Festival will be the one of the best, if not the best in its 35 years of celebration.

"It's going to be one, if not the best. You will be amazed with the productions, you will be amazed by the costumes, you will be amazed by the music. You can choose from among the activities like of course during Sinulog days, Cebu is converted into a very big party place where you can find different thematic parties," he said.

If you need any more convincing, he added that it is different when you experience the festival first hand, as compared to when you watch videos and see photos of the event.

"It's going to be a blast of colors. It's a celebration of life. It's different when you experience Sinulog. The Sinulog gives Cebu a name and of course, a culture."

It's not yet too late to book a flight to Cebu City and join the festivities.

CNN Philippines' intern Kimberly Bandarlipe contributed to this report.