Manila is the largest city in the Philippines, but next on the list is Cebu City. Cebu is in the Visayan region, which is the same region as my site in Leyte. This past weekend, Cebu had their 30th annual Sinulog festival. I'm so glad I was able to go this year, it was quite an experience!
Sinulog is the fiesta for Santo Nino. Santo Nino is the figure of baby Jesus, or really more toddler Jesus. The story that I was told by my host family is that when the Spanish arrived in Cebu over 300 years ago, a figure of Santo Nino was given to the Natives. The figure was taken back when the Spanish left, but eventually made it's way back into the possession of the Cebuanos. It is the figure of Santo Nino that now brings millions of Filipnos to the streets of Cebu in celebration.
My co-teacher told me that Cebu has around 2,000,000 residents, but during this event an estimated 8,000,000 people packed the streets shouting, "Viva Pit Senor!" The weekend's schedule was filled with religious events, pageants, and street dancing. My favorite event was definitely the street dancing. Dancing troupes from all over the country came to participate in the parade and street dancing competition. The parade took 9 hours! The costumes were amazing and it was obvious that countless hours and pesos were put into creating the works of art. The costumes were all Filipino styled, ranging from the Spanish inspired to the Native ones with nipa hats.
As soon as I get to a place with high-speed Internet, I'll try to post some pictures.