5 Yearly Cebu City Traditions You Need to See With Your Own Eyes
Cebu is a land of unwavering faith. And every year, the strong belief of the Cebuanos is showcased in various yearly Cebu City traditions that are both goosebumps-inducing and awe-inspiring. Here are six very unique traditions that are mind-blowing in photographs but are even more jaw-dropping when seen in person. Don’t miss any one of them!
The annual fluvial procession is a must-see. Attracting tens of thousands, this early-morning religious procession is considered one of the highlights of the Sinulog season. Each year, hundreds of sea vessels join the procession that fills the Mactan Channel. Leading the procession is a ‘galleon,’ which bears the images of Señor Santo Niño de Cebu and Cebu’s Patron Saint Our Lady of Guadalupe. Devotees and believers fill the shores and piers; they also pack docked ships and the two bridges to witness this truly amazing event.
After the fluvial procession, head on to the South Road Properties. The SRP is a good vantage point to see the ‘landing’ of the fluvial boats. Most of the smaller outrigger boats that join the fluvial procession dock or drop off their passengers at the Pasil Fishport. Also, if you’re lucky, traffic will be really heavy at the viaduct and you can get off your car for a while to witness this wonderful sight.
A sea of waving hands is a usual sight at the Pilgrim Center of the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño. All seats are typically occupied and it becomes almost impossible to navigate the walkways. Now imagine doubling this number. During the novena days leading to the annual fiesta, the church grounds can get so stuffed. In fact, the only way for you to get in and out is to let the steady flow of bodies take you wherever it’s headed.
Each year, a solemn foot procession that passes through some of Cebu’s busiest streets brings traffic to a halt. Beginning at the Basilica, the image of Señor Santo Niño de Cebu is paraded around the city in an intricately-decorated carriage. Hundreds of thousands join the procession and hundreds of thousands more fill the sidewalks, flyovers, and road-side buildings. Then, as the carriage passes in front of them, devotees cry out to the Niño and wave their hands in total surrender as they sing Bato-Balani sa Gugma.
River of Lights
The annual dawn procession called Walk with Jesus marks the start of the yearly Sinulog celebrations. Beginning at four in the morning, thousands of devotees brave the cold (and, usually, the drizzle) in a solemn procession that starts at the Fuente circle and ends at the Basilica. During the 2-kilometer procession, devotees light a candle to light their way and say a silent prayer or sing the Bato-Balani sa Gugma in unison. When viewed from the top, the long parade looks like a river of lights flowing slowly towards Cebu’s downtown district.
Which of these amazing yearly Cebu City traditions would you like to witness next year? Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments sections below.