By Marivir R. Montebon
New York – It’s January and for Cebuanos all over the world, it is time to dance to the beat of the Sinulog!
You can’t break a 500-year-old tradition even when you are not home. In New York, Connecticut, and Perth, Visayan immigrants celebrated under strict pandemic protocols.
Sinulog is a prayer dance offered to the child Jesus, who is the patron saint of Cebu, the cradle of Catholicism in Asia. A week-long festivity is celebrated in Cebu during the third Sunday of January. From a strictly religious tradition, it has evolved into a commercial and cultural sensation, stirring up the entire Cebuano community and neighboring provinces.
A fluvial parade, a holy procession, Mardi Gras, a beauty contest, and a song festival are among the activities in Cebu that involve schools, the Catholic Church, businesses big and small, and the local government.
Immigrants have brought their tradition with them off the shores of Cebu, the oldest city in the Philippines.
At the Ascension Church in New York, Ms. Carla Mayol served as Hermana Mayor in the Holy Mass tradition on January 17, 2021. The Most Rev. Raymond Francis Chappetto, Vicar General of the Diocese of Brooklyn, celebrated the high mass along with Fr. Anacleto Asebias Jr. and Fr. Kyrian Echeckwu.
The entire festivity was managed by a team of Visayan devotees headed by Ms. Marlene Ngo, a nurse at the Presbyterian Hospital in Queens.
Tribu Cebuano, led by dancesport champion Hanna Diluvio and choreographed by Shiran Ybanez, danced the Sinulog after the Mass. The same group simultaneously performed at the Assumption Church in Greenwich, CT. Ms. Charito Magdadaro led the dance.
In Perth, Australia, devotees of the Sto. Nino also danced the Sinulog as part of their faithful tradition.
The Most Rev. Chappetto clearly enjoyed the glee that Sinulog brought and commended the Filipinos for celebrating their religious culture. #