The streets surrounding Basilica del Sto. Niño were the venues of varied characters.
A Westerner megaphoned “Don’t believe in any gods. Believe in Jesus!” while a woman held a placard “Wag maniwala sa diyusan-diyusan!” A man in his 20s eyed the camera and held the replica of Sto. Niño high to be photographed. A candle vendor with Lucien Freud kind of wrinkles scanned the place for possible buyers. A woman’s green dress matched with the Sto. Niño’s she was holding.
Struggling in a current of devotees and revelers, it was a futile attempt to pass through the entrance gate. Mama, our youngest—Yanyan, and I followed a choo-choo train of people while Ate and her husband and their three kids were fortunate to enter the basilica. The mass, they say, is for the kids. Akira was fast asleep, Zeki wore a baffled face, and Zac was excited with the crowd.
Sinulog was a carnival of colors. The grand parade was like a palette smudged with all possible colors one can think of. It somehow reminded me of Pico Iyer’s Cuba and Argentina.
The photographers armed with foot-long lenses interjected each contender. An Indian photographer managed to capture photographs with a carrier-ed kid on his back and another one on his chest.
A Western woman assayed to make a festival queen relaxed with the many cameras pointed at her. A dancer complained that the paint used on their face was not a body paint, which consequently made their eyes itchy and reddish like an aswang’s about to divorce from its lower body.
A festival queen threw a fit by silently sitting amid the road. Her unmoving position—staged or not—was a delight for the photographers. She had an innocent beauty and she frequently cast a casual glance at Sto. Niño, which was pressed against her chest. With her eyes covered by her fake long lashes, the gentle angling of her head was quite dramatic.
Tired from hours of dancing and walking, some dancers had the whole stretch of the street for a resting place.
By my workplace, the revelers’ slight headbangs accompanied the dancers’ sharp motility.
The body became the medium of prayers: the feet elaborately moved with the beat, the hands swayed in one direction, and the mouth excitedly crooned “Sinulog! Ha! I-syagit og kusog! Ha! Pit Senyor! Pit Senyor! Tanan magsaulog!”
Do share your Sinulog experience below. 😉