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Dip Into the Filipino Culture: 5 To-Dos During the Sinulog Festival

woman in floral costume smiling and carrying a religious figurine Take a dip into the Filipino culture and experience what makes the Philippines a one-of-a-kind place. | Photo by Zany Jadraque on Unsplash

The warmth and joy of Christmas hasn’t even faded yet and the New Year hype has barely simmered, but the Cebuanos — actually, all Filipinos — are already gearing up for one of the grandest celebrations of the province and the country, the Sinulog Festival.

Picture this: It’s the first month of the year. You step out of the plane and land in a place dubbed as the Queen City of the South. The moment you set foot on Cebu you’ll instantly be transported to a colorful and jam-packed metro with the hypnotic street sound blaring everywhere. Yes, that’s Sinulog, all right!

True to Filipino culture and tradition, the elaborate feast honors Santo Niño, the Child Jesus, through masses, parades, and music, to thank him for all of the blessings that the people have received for the whole year. Locals and frequent guests know much of the order of events, but what others may not know (and maybe including you!) are the other fun events peppered throughout the weeklong celebration.

Read on and learn from this dating advice about all of the unique shindigs you and your partner can try during the festival. ‘Cause Cebu and Sinulog are never short of romantic getaways like that.

Join the Grand Parade.

Undeniably, it is the most awaited part of the weeklong celebration. Millions flock to the streets and witness colorful costumes and roaring sounds weave together to paint a special dance presentation.

While the years have transformed it to become more and more commercialized, one cannot deny that the parade is still the same masterful and enchanting display of the Filipino culture and religion as it was before.

children in colorful costumes smiling Witness Filipino culture at its best! | Photo by Herbert Kikoy on Unsplash

Here’s a dare from us if an adventure unlike any other is what you are aiming to experience this Sinulog season: Follow the whole parade even with the throngs of people present. Did we forget to mention that many major roads are closed for this event? Yes, it’s going to be a long walk-dance for you and your date!

Attend music events and rave parties.

If it’s not yet obvious to you, Cebuanos are party people — and they party wildly! (You’ll truly understand when you attend at least the parade mentioned above.)

hands of crowd in a concert You better believe that it’s in Filipino culture to sing and party all-out. | Photo by Anthony DELANOIX on Unsplash

Aside from the usual street parties happening around the city center on weekends, there are also other bigger events for those looking for an epic night out.

The festival week has huge electric dance music events if you and your date are looking for nonstop dancing and partying. They are usually camped in wide places around the city to accommodate thousands upon thousands of partygoers. Although, you will need to secure tickets as early as possible because it does sell like special Cebu hotcakes.

Another option is to watch local performers showcase their skills in the province’s prestigious competitions. These government-sponsored events are even telecasted live! Fair warning: Prepare to be blown away by Cebuanos’ unparalleled level of musicality.

Take a food trip.

We believe no one should forget this on their itinerary. And you can’t call it a romantic holiday if you’ve never considered a proper food trip, right?

Shelf that planned Netflix date night for some other day, and savor every bit of time you have here in Cebu. Go for a more chill activity and try out the delicacies of the city.

various food and utensils on wooden table It can’t be a complete immersion to Filipino culture without the local food. | Photo by Joyce Romero on Unsplash

Ask around with the locals and they can point you to many, many places to satisfy every food craving you got. There’s the world-famous lechon (a whole roasted pig cooked over charcoal), crunchy chicharron (deep-fried pork skin, fat, or intestine), satisfying puso/“hanging rice” (steamed rice wrapped in weaved coconut leaves), and more.

You can even try eating on the plethora of street food stalls dotting the city, “pungko-pungko” style. Of course, why not do it like the true Cebu style if you are already in the city?

We assure you, this Sinulog trip will be even more memorable once you’ve tasted their trademark dishes.

Go on a shopping spree.

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We’ve added this here because it’s only wise to take advantage of the Sinulog mall sales and get souvenirs you can only find locally.

You and your date will surely feel some sort of separation anxiety after all the fun you’ve experienced in Cebu. So treat that with a treat, right?

 bird’s eye view of lit buildings Even malls can give you that unique Filipino culture and experience. | Photo by Fritz Gabriel Carilo on Unsplash

If you think the malls in Cebu only attract people for the merchandise, then you are awfully wrong. Malls can party too, whether you believe it or not.

Their biggest shopping places also set up events and even participate in pyrotechnic shows. Truly a one-stop-shop.

Try beach hopping.

If, however, you want to unwind and get out of the bustling city, there are still sites in Cebu that you can go to during the festival. We understand that; sometimes, things can get really overwhelming. So why not run off to yet another side of heaven here on earth?

hut on white sand beach It’s in Filipino culture to preserve places such as these. | Photo by Dave Feril on Unsplash

Cebu isn't known as one of the best tourist destinations in the country for nothing! You and your partner can simply head north or south of the city and, for a few passing hours, become the new lovers of their pristine white beaches.

Want to simply lay under the sky as the waves lull you both to sleep? Want to try water sports like scuba diving and parasailing? Or maybe you are already scouting for the perfect honeymoon destination?

Whatever it is, one thing’s for sure — Cebu is a lovely and unrivaled paradise that offers everything anyone could ever want.

And being at the beach during Sinulog is still an absolute delight.

There are just so many fun events you and your partner can try around the Queen City of the South! Visit any of these suggestions and we can assure you that your regular date night can be even better.

If you can’t experience everything within the festival’s schedule, come back again next year — because, sure, why not!

We assure you that the party only gets bigger and better every year. That’s Filipino fun for you!

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