Basilica del Santo Niño
Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines
Photo by Adrian Baker/age fotostock
Sinulog Festival in Cebu CitySinulog has evolved from its humble historical roots on Cebu into one of the grandest and most colorful festivals in Asia; what Mardi Gras is to New Orleans and Carnaval is to Brazil, Sinulog is to Cebu City. Sinulog, which means “graceful dance,” is a ritual honoring Santo Niño (Baby Jesus), Cebu's patron saint. The characteristic backward-forward movements of this dance are believed to be in tune with the sound of the water in Cebu's Pahina River. The festival is celebrated over nine days every January and attracts pilgrims from all over the Philippines. It culminates in a grand parade featuring giant floats and performers in elaborate masks and costumes gyrating to the beat of drums, trumpets, and native gongs. The parade ends at the Santo Niño Basilica, where, on a more solemn note, the performers reenact the Christianization of Cebu, an important part of the island's history.