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Sinulog! Isyagit og Kusog!

Backpacking with a Book

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!”

  #draft

Do share your Sinulog experience below. 😉

Jona | Backpacking with a Book

Hi there, I’m Jona! I’m in my early 30s and is currently based in Ha Noi, Vietnam.I primarily write poetry and short stories in Cebuano and lengthy travel essays in English. Blogging has become an outlet to think out loud. I live the life I set for myself. I try to live an unapologetic life. For collaborations, projects, and other things, please email me at backpackingwithabook@gmail.com. Find me somewhere else!

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20 Comments

  1. love the photos and the write ups!

  2. elmer says:

    Nice shots. Missed this year’s fest. Again.

  3. Love the Photos! Simply amazing… Now, I really wanna join a photography class 🙁

    • I have never joined any photography class, Yannah. I frequent National Geographic’s website and observe how the photographs are taken. Haha! You can do it too!

      • Really? Wow… you are so great! You are born to be a photographer! Wow! I adore you!! Alright, I will check National geographic…. maybe I can do this also… there is still a shed of hope to make me somehow learn how to take good pictures. Thanks for the advice! 🙂

        and by the way, I also wanna see the Sinulog!! 🙂

  4. nelson RN says:

    A festival of colors indeed! I’ve been wanting to experience Sinulog for the longest time. I hope I can visit the place in one of my vacations to the Philippines 🙂 Excellent shots!

  5. pawie28 says:

    Haha! Gotta love those Westerners always imposing their own beliefs on rather than respecting and valuing other cultures. Nice angles on your shots! I love the vivid colors.

  6. Love 2 Type says:

    i dont care much for sinulog either.. and i’m a cebuano… yay…

  7. BisonWoman says:

    I love the first photo. The colors and repeating patterns are amazing.

  8. […] Backpacking with a Book "A backpack full of everywhere else that I've been." Skip to content HomeLINKSPUBLISHED WORKSREAD A BOOKTRAVELABOUT ← Sinulog! Isyagit og Kusog! […]

  9. Sony Fugaban says:

    The verdant colors just allured me, Jona.

  10. rommel says:

    My Sinulog experience? Only through reading and seeing pictures from blogs, Philippine Festivals are always my favorite blog entry discovery. Someday, I hope to witness one

  11. […] 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. – See more at: http://backpackingwithabook.com/sinulog-isyagit-og-kusog/#sthash.DTIA2Tky.dpuf […]

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