Visayan Festivals


Kadaugan sa Mactan
Sugat sa Minglanilla

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  Ayala Foundation Inc., 1997







The Sinulog (third Sunday of January)  

For an enlarged view, click on the picture sinulog1_insight98.jpg (23602 bytes) The Sinulog Festival coincides with the feast of the Santo Niņo de Cebu, patron saint of the city of Cebu.  The feast day of the Santo Niņo commemorates the baptism of the chieftain of the province, his queen, and his subjects in 1521.  At this ceremony, an image of the Santo Niņo was presented as a gift to Queen Juana by the explorer Ferdinand Magellan.
Sinulog is a prayer dance performed before the image of the Santo Niņo.  The word is derived from a ritual that features a peculiar beat and body movement that simulates a sulog (Cebuano for "river current").   The dancer basically takes two steps forward, then one step back.  The dance continues to be performed today in the patio of the Church of Santo Niņo in Cebu City, notably by candle peddlers who act as proxies for shy devotees who hire them for their sinulog dancing talent.  The most elaborate rendition of the dance is performed with much pageantry to the beat of drums by groups of worshippers, pilgrims, and revellers at the annual Sinulog Festival, a Mardi Gras-style celebration culminating on the feast day of the Santo Niņo.  The festival attracts curious tourists as well as pious pilgrims from the many islands surrounding Cebu.   Along with sinulog dancing, the week-long celebration features processions, fireworks, cultural presentations, a carnival, cockfights, and much merrymaking.  sinulog2_insight98.jpg (19663 bytes)

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Kadaugan sa Mactan (April 27)

For an enlarged view, click on the picture bahugbahug_sa_mactan_apaguide.jpg (91557 bytes) The Battle of Mactan, during which the explorer Ferdinand Magellan was slain by the forces of the local chieftain Lapulapu, is reenacted annually at its site on the beach of Barangay Mactan.  
Decorated bancas (canoes), representing Magellan's three ships, lead a fluvial procession to the beach. The planting of the Cross of Magellan and the baptism of the natives is followed by the battle, which culminates in Lapulapu's victory.  Kadaugan sa Mactan (literally, "Victory at Mactan") used to be called Bahugbahug sa Mactan (literally, "Melee at Mactan"), initially staged in 1981. The exact time at which the festival begins depends on the tide but is usually around eight in the morning.


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Sugat sa Minglanilla (Easter Sunday)

For an enlarged view, click on the picture sugat2_ayala97.jpg (30211 bytes)  

Christian Lenten rites are very popular in the Central Visayas as they are in all of the Philippines.  One of the best-known crowd drawers is the annual Easter Sunday pageant called Sugat, held in the town of Minglanilla, a few kilometers south of Cebu City.

In Minglanilla, the Sugat (Cebuano for "Encounter") has had a very long tradition.  Quite a number of old residents in the town can recall having portrayed--once or twice in their childhood--the role of angels, for which they were tied securely to a rope, attached to a pulley system, lowered from the church ceiling, and made to look like they could fly.  The very elaborate production depicting the meeting between the risen Christ and his grieving mother features angels, their wings sparkling with lights, slowly sliding down invisible wires on to the church entrance and the altar for the Easter Sunday celebration.


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