Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Sinulog in Cebu

Weather patterns in the Philippines are changing. Normally this time of year is dry and clear in this part of the country but lately the rainy season has not obeyed orders. Many people are blaming global climate change for the shift. Whatever the reason, it's certainly not going to stop Filipinos from enjoying Sinulog, or "The Queen of Festivals", as one Cebu local dubbed it.

Sinulog is a dance, a rhythm, costumes and celebration wrapped in a religious celebration of the Santo Ninyo, the Philippines' version of the baby Jesus. Loads of people cradle little, and sometimes large, statuettes of the child saint through the rough-edged downtown district of the city in a huge procession towards the large Cathedral in town. Sprinkles rained down throughout the afternoon resulting in many an umbrella poke to the face.

At night Sinulog turns into a raucous street party with reggae and rock cover bands dominating crooning tired tunes into the festive night air. The quality of the music is made up for by the cheapness of the beer. San Miguel is the national beer of the Philippines and comes in light, pilsen, super dry, and red horse forms. Pilsen is the original and still the best. So good in fact, that I've de-throned Tiger and Lao as the leaders of the Asian beer scene.

All in all, Sinulog did not disappoint. It will take a lot more than the gradual destruction of the plant's ecosystem to keep Filipinos from having a good time.

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