The reverberating festival sounds were louder and wilder, the sights more colorful and vibrant.
Make no mistake, it’s the biggest and most dynamic festival in southern Negros: Sinulog in Kabankalan City. On its 48th annual celebration, it was held on Jan. 12-22 this year and was themed “Sa Padayon nga Mapinasalamaton, Santo Niño Kami Imo Hugpungon”.
Smell & Taste. Back on its second year after the pandemic, Sinulog delivered a stronger appeal to the senses and beyond – from the electric sights and sounds to sporting activities, the appetizing smell and taste of street food and gustatory treats from street food carts, and the mushrooming snack bars and restaurants – posing an array of offerings – native delicacies, cold treats, barbecues, roasts and specialty menus.
Sights & Sounds. The Sinulog sensation appealed to the festival lovers’ visual and auditory functions – like celebrity shows, nightly band concerts, a car exhibition, singing and dance contests, an art show, a street party. There were also the Tiktok Challenge and the fireworks display competition.
Spirit. In keeping with its religious tradition to honor the city’s patron, Señor Santo Niño, Sinulog has been a spiritual celebration.
Church-centered activities included the sadsad procession, daily novena and holy masses and vigil, the religious festival scenery, the fluvial parade and traslacion as well as the grand procession.
Kabankalan Diocese Bishop Louie Galbines was the main celebrant in the Jan. 21 Thanksgiving Mass sponsored by the city government in honor of Señor Santo Niño. He was assisted by members of the diocesan clergy.
City Mayor Benjie Miranda, Vice Mayor Miguel Zayco and city councilors led attendees in the Eucharistic Celebration held at the City Football Field.
Earlier in the morning, the fluvial procession bearing the Santo Niño was held at the Ulog-Hilabangan River and ended in Lugway, where the Santo Niño image was received and brought via procession to the City Football Field.
The most awaited events provided more public interest and appeal to the senses: The Miss Sinulog Kabankalan pageant and the tribal parade and arena competition highlighting the culminating day of the Sinulog calendar. (See boxed stories for related results)
Special Award. Other highlights included the job fair and the Tourism Excellence Awards.
Among the tourism awardees was Panfilo Trinidad “for his contribution to the birth of the Kabankalan Sinulog Festival which united Kabankalanons and emphasized their devotion to Santo Niño.
Trinidad and his small group initiated their devotion to the city’s patron saint, thereby promoting the city’s distinctive tourism and culture festivity.
Sports. Sinulog was also a sporting extravaganza. Included in this year’s activities were the national drag race, chess competition, swimming and boxing tournaments, mountain biking race, a gymnastics exhibition, acrobatics show and the zumba fitness dance party.
The winners in the MTB Uphill Challenge: (Road Bike) 1. Xavier Sarmiento (Bacolod City); 2. Aldren Alojado (Bago City); 3. Justine Ban (Himamaylan City). (5-Man Challenge) 1. Murcia 2. Bago City 3. Iloilo.
(2-Man Challenge) 1. Clyde Gacho & Hay Morales 2. Jethro Camus & Roderick Punzalan 3. Sotero Galido & Jude Sibulan.
Pyromusical Competition: 1. Peacock Fireworks (P100,000 prize and purchase of all fireworks requirements of the city for one year) 2. Spectra Illuminators Fireworks (P50,000) 3. Pyro Haven Enterprises (P30,000).
Mayor Miranda thanked city folk, officials of the city and barangays, LGU employees and Sinulog partners for their cooperation to ensure the sensational outcome of Sinulog 2024.
Camingawan: Champion again
Tribu Camingawan defended its title in the Sinulog Grand Tribal Parade and Arena Competition in the just-concluded Sinulog Festival in Kabankalan City.
Ten tribes participated in the competition. The other competing tribes Barangays 3, 7, Camansi, Camugao Carol-an and Inapoy.
Tribu Orobinacao of Barangay Orong, Tribu Oting of Barangay 1 and Tribu Atiklan of Barangay Binicuil were declared first to third runners-up, respectively.
The champion Camingawan tribe took seven other awards – best in street dancing, choreography, costume, tribal banner, tribal queen, Santo Niño and music.
Tribu Singgarong of Barangay Hilamonan took the special award for the designer.
The Orong and Binicuil tribes were adjudged second and third, respectively, in the music competition.
In the fluvial procession held early on the morning of the culminating day, Barangay Tapi won over nine competing groups with Barangay 2 declared as first runner-up and Pinaguinpinan, second runner-up.
The competition was based on the entries’ decorations, art pieces and design centered on the Child Jesus’ image.
The boats of Barangay 2 and Pinaguinpinan were also adjudged most unique and best in religiosity, respectively. The Barangay Salong group was cited as best in discipline.
Daan Banua bet reigns
The entry of Barangay Daan Banua – Jaybelle Ramos – was declared Miss Sinulog Kabankalan Queen 2024 in a pageant held at the Kabankalan City Sports and Cultural Center in Jan. 18.
Her court is composed if Johana Marie Oyog (Barangay Oringao) and Kaye Camille Titong (Barangay 9), first and second runners-up, respectively.
The new queen was also named Miss Professionalism while Oyog took the best in hablon play wear, best in long gown and also the award for best gown designer.
Other special awards winners were Marfel Baldoza (Barangay Linso) best in tribal attire; Jonalyn Sibulan (Tagukon), best in talent; and Princess Dandan (Barangay 5), miss photogenic.
Multi-awarded singer Christian Bautista serenaded the candidates. The panel of judges was composed of Stephanie Sorbito, Lin-ay sang Negros 2023 Alliah Janine Al-Rashid, lawyer Kathlyn Joy Guanzon Sachnowska, Silay City Councilor Ryan Gamboa and Billie Hakenson, fourth runner-up in Miss Universe Philippines 2020. (With details from Kabankalan City Tourism, Culture and Arts FB) | Cover photo by Francis Ryan Pabiania