Something for the Philippines and the province of Cebu to be proud of, as Sinulog Festival or Sinulog-Santo Niño Festival, an annual cultural and religious festival held on the third Sunday of January in Cebu City is the newest recipient of 6th Korea Festival Contents Grand Prix Asia Popularity Award, A Cultural Award giving body in South Korea.
Past awardees include Japan’s Aomori Nebata Festival and Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival; Zhigong Lantern Festival of China; and Naadam Festival of Mongolia. For this year, Sinulog has been selected as the most popular festival in Asia.
Starting in 1980, the Cebu City government organized the Sinulog Festival and eventually gave incentives also to tribal dance groups. The first Sinulog parade was held in 1980, organized by Dávid Odilao, then Regional Director of the Ministry of Sports, and Youth Development. The parade was composed of students dressed in Knitted Filipiniana costumes, dancing the Sinulog to the beating of drums.
A letter of invitation dated Feb. 7 was received by the Office of Mayor Tomas Osmeña from Cha Jung Hyun, president of the organizing committee. “I hope that you can promote your proud festival to Korea and the world through our award,” reads a portion of the letter. The mayor and his wife Councilor Margarita Osmeña flew to South Korea yesterday morning to receive the award on behalf of the City Government.
In an interview yesterday, Assistant City Administrator Annabeth Cuizon said the recognition will serve as a challenge for the City to continuously surpass the standards it sets yearly during the Sinulog grand parade.
“We have to come up with something that is new that we can be proud of. We have to come up with another concept that would be more inviting and attractive to our tourists both local and foreign,” she said.
In a separate interview, Sinulog Foundation Inc. executive director Ricky Ballesteros said the people of South Korea had always enjoyed the Sinulog. Last year, Sinulog Festival dance competition veteran Tribu Lumad Basakanon gained international recognition after it won third place out of 200 teams in the World Wonju Dynamic Dance Festival in Wonju, South Korea.
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