The organizers of this year’s Sinulog festival in Cebu City have decided to cancel the event’s physical and online activities altogether.
According to Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) and the steering committee for Sinulog 2021, the decision comes after the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force (RIATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases recommended to the national IATF the cancelation of the entire Sinulog activities.
In a resolution, the RIATF explained that all performance-based Sinulog Festival activities had to be canceled as they pose a threat to the performers’ and event-goers’ health and safety. (Read: DOH Advises Traslacion Attendees to Self-Quarantine)
“Even limiting the number of allowed performers in every contingent and holding pre-recorded performances in their respective places can still pose a risk of COVID-19 infection,” the RIATF said.
It comes as these activities, despite being pre-recorded, “still require the participants to gather and interact during rehearsals and the actual performance for the video recordings,” the RIATF added.
Sinulog Activities Canceled
According to Cebu City Vice Mayor Mike Rama, the local government hopes to reschedule the dance competition in April during the kick-off of the 500th-anniversary celebration of Christianity in the Philippines. Of course, he notes that this will still depend on how the pandemic situation will progress in the following months.
For the fiesta Masses, Rama says all celebrations will continue according to schedule in online platforms. Meanwhile, major Sinulog events — the Penitential Walk with Jesus, Penitential Walk with Mary, Traslacion, Fluvial Procession, Reenactment of the first baptism, planting of the cross and the first wedding, Solemn Foot Procession, and proposed Cebu Provincial Pilgrimages — are all canceled.
COVID-19 in Cebu
The decision to cancel Sinulog 2021 was welcomed by Cebu officials with practicality in mind — especially because there has been a spike in the city’s COVID-19 cases in the past weeks. (Read: Good News: You Can Now Attend Festivals in the Philippines!)
“There is a spike [in the latest data of COVID-19] and we don’t want to add to that anymore… With the postponement, the city can focus on the contact tracing of the new cases,” Rama said in an interview.
According to officials, the recent increase in the city’s COVID-19 cases can be attributed to the holiday celebrations in December and January. In fact, it was found that from the 101 active cases on Christmas Day, Cebu is now back to over 331 active cases as of Saturday, January 9.