SINULOG IN CARMEN. Governor Gwendolyn Garcia holds the image of the Sto. Niño as she performed the traditional dance ritual with Tribu Malipayon from Consolacion, Cebu during the Sinulog sa Carmen on Sunday (Jan. 22, 2023). On Monday, Carmen Mayor Carlo Villamor suspended the work at the municipal hall to give time for town employees to take a day of rest following the successful holding of its version of the Sinulog. (Photo courtesy of Cebu Provincial Capitol PIO)

CEBU CITY – Carmen, Cebu Mayor Carlo Villamor on Monday urged Cebuanos not to compare the Sinulog in his town and the one being celebrated in grand every year in Cebu City.

“We have so many festivals in honor of the Sto. Niño. Let’s not compare the Sinulog Grand Festival in Cebu City to Sinulog (in) Carmen,” Villamor said.

He cited the historical roots of the religious dance ritual done by the devotees at the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño at the capital city.

The Sinulog in the capital city is celebrated every second Sunday of every January while the version in Carmen town that started in 1974 is held every third Sunday.

Accordingly, the townsfolk in Carmen, along with their parish priest, Fr. Jose Motus, who was a native of Aklan, organized the Ati-Atihan, as a way to thank the Sto. Niño for its miracle in saving the town from a “scary tremor” sometime in 1973 brought about by volcanic activity in Barangay Fuente.

Villamor also thanked the mayors from various Cebu towns and cities who joined the festivities in Carmen to celebrate their version of the Sinulog.

“Carmen is popular, that's because different people from different places are here to celebrate. All this is Sr. Sto. Niño’s will,” Governor Gwendolyn Garcia said in her speech on Sunday.

Due to a downpour at noon, the huge stage at the Olympic-size town oval became wet sending dancers, including Garcia, to fall.

Garcia said it was her 14th year offering a dance ritual but this time in Carmen, after having some concerns about the new venue for the Sinulog in Cebu City at the South Road Properties.

She performed a traditional dance ritual holding an image of the Sto. Niño alongside the dancers from the contingent for the finale, Tribu Malipayon, from the municipality of Cordova, known in their town festival as the Sarok group.

Villamor thanked Garcia and the mayors for supporting the Sinulog in his town, amid controversies for taking the spotlight.

Sinulog winners

Villamor congratulated the contingent from the southern town of Carcar City for bagging the grand prize in the ritual showdown as well as the best costume for the Sinulog-based category, taking away a total of PHP2 million of cash prizes.

The contingent from Toledo City was chosen as the grand champion for the free-interpretation category as well as four more awards – best in musicality, best in costume, 2nd runner-up in street dancing and 2nd runner-up for the Festival Queen.

Tribu San Roque contingent was adjudged as the grand champion for the local category and it also won the best costume and best in street dancing under the same category.

The contingent from Talisay City won the best street dancing and brought home a total of PHP1 million in cash prizes, apart from other awards – 2nd place in ritual showdown Sinulog-based category, best in musicality, best in festival costume and Sinulog sa Carmen Festival Queen 2023 crown.

Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia witnessed the event in Carmen, representing the city government of Cebu. (PNA)