KABANKALAN CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines — First was the pandemic that practically halted all types of economic and social activities.
Then there were the two literal storms — Odette and Paeng — that hit the province and caused millions worth of damages both in terms of crops and property.
But it comes down to choice. It’s either we wallow in despair, or rise up to the challenge.
And rise up Kabanlakan does as it celebrates its 47th Sinulog Festival 2023, the first time after a two-year lull.
And the southern city is making sure that it the festivities are not something that people will easily forget in recent years.
“This year’s celebration is a way of the city going back to its roots,” Eric Tenerife, publicist for Mayor Benjie Miranda tells the media.
Tenerife says that what sets Kabankalan’s celebration with other similar festivals is how it incorporates religious tradition brought by the foreigners and nativist rituals practiced by the Indigenous Peoples.
This year’s Sinulog is marked by a slew of activities including sports events and battles of the bands. Daily highlights include the novenario mass (daily mass for nine days, and the sadsad during the first day.
Sadsad is so-called because it aptly describes the movement of the devotees’ feet as they carry the icon of the Sto. Niño over their shoulders and shuffle along with the rest of the religious.
Tenerife says there are eight tribes competing for the Tribal Competition, and these are Barangay 1, 3, 6, Binicuil, Camingawan, Tan-awan, Salong, and Tapi.
On the other hand, 12 are participating for the fluvial competition and these are barangays 5, 7, 8 Camansi, Carol-An, Daan Banua, Hilamonan, Inapoy, Magballo, Pinaguinpinan, Tabugon, and Tabukon.
Meanwhile, 12 are also participating in the Miss Sinulog Kabankalan 2023 and the Float Parade and these are barangays 2, 4, 9 Bantayan, Camugao, Linao, Locotan, Oringao, Orong, Tagoc, Talubangi, and Tampalon.
On top of these are the competing performances of bands like Cali Island, Rampage, Maria Capra among others in not just one but three venues up until the 15th, when the Grand Tribal Parade will be held.
There’s something for everyone, Tenerife assures, as the Sinulog this year promises to be more than a religious affair.
It is going back to our roots, Tenerife reiterates, saying that the mayor himself is a member of the IPs which lends a special layer of significance to the festival.
And it is also a celebration of hope as the city starts to rise as a phoenix from the ashes.