sinulog festival things to do in cebu city

Sinulog Festival 2023: Everything You Need to Know

The Sinulog Festival 2023 is finally back on January 15 after 2 years. Find out the schedule of activities and everything you need to know about this year's event!
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The Sinulog Festival is the biggest festival in the Philippines, attracting millions of spectators every year. After a two-year absence since the pandemic, the Sinulog Festival 2023 is finally happening and there’s so much you can expect.

If you don’t know yet, the Sinulog Festival celebrates Santo Niño de Cebu (Child Jesus of Cebu), a statue of baby Jesus that Portuguese-born Spanish explorer Ferdinand Magellan gave to the Rajah Humabon, King of Cebu, in 1521. This event marks the introduction of Catholicism to Filipinos. For others who don’t observe Catholicism, the Sinulog Festival is still an eventful celebration where people get to enjoy street parties, live bands, concerts, funfairs, and other mini-events.

The Sinulog Festival 2023 Grand Parade is one of the best things to do in Cebu City, a major highlight local and foreign tourists can enjoy. This competition includes big groups of performers clad in extravagant, colorful costumes and props. Here’s what you can expect from the Sinulog Festival 2023:

What is the travel date of the Sinulog Festival 2023?

The Sinulog Festival happens every third Sunday of January in Cebu City, Philippines. In 2023, the Sinulog Festival falls on January 15. The Grand Parade (a moving street dancing competition) and Grand Ritual Showdown (a group dancing competition on stage) will also happen on the same day. Both events typically run for about 12 hours, even longer, as 21 contingents from all over the country compete in a dance competition for different categories this year.

If you want to enjoy the Sinulog festivities, we highly recommend arriving in Cebu City 2 to 3 days before January 15.

Where is the Sinulog Festival 2023 being held?

The Sinulog Festival 2023 Grand Parade starts at the Basilica Minore Del Santo Niño church on Sunday, January 15 at 8 a.m. and takes the major thoroughfares in downtown Cebu City, mainly along Mango Avenue (officially known as General Maxilom Avenue), Fuente Osmeña Circle, Jones Avenue, and Osmeña Boulevard. It also includes competitions for the best floats, Higante (which means ‘giant’ in the local language), and Puppeteers.

The Sinulog Festival 2023 Grand Ritual Showdown will take place at the South Road Properties (SRP) Grounds. Since SRP is pretty new, do note that it will be extra hot here as there are no full-grown trees yet. There will be tents around where you can buy a variety of local delicacies, souvenir items, and more.

Other activities will be held at Plaza Independencia, Fuente Osmeña, and Cebu City Sports Center.

sinulog-festival-2023

Sinulog Festival 2023 Schedule of Activities

Here’s the official schedule of activities for the Sinulog Festival 2023:

DATE AND TIMEACTIVITIESVENUE
December 1, 2022 – January 31, 2023Sinulog Street FarOsmena Boulevard, Fuente Osmeña, Plaza Independencia
December 27, 2022 – January 20, 2023Photo ExhibitTBA (mall venue)
January 5, 2023
4:00 amWalk With JesusBasilica del Santo Niño, Assembly Fuente Osmeña, Jones, Osmeña Boulevard to Santo Niño
6:00 amOpening Salvo MassBasilica del Santo Niño
January 6, 2023
10:00 amSinulog 2023 Trade FairSM Seaside City Cebu
2:30 pmMassBasilica Pilgrim Quardangle
3:00 pmLaunching Parade (Traditional Route)Basilica to Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC) or alternative
7:00 pmOpening Nightly ShowsFuente Osmeña, Plaza Independencia
8:00 pmSinulog IdolTBA (Fuente Osmeña or mall venue)
January 7, 2023
1:00 pmSinulog sa KabataanSRP Grounds
3:00 pmVer FestivalSM Seaside Concert Grounds
7:00 pmNightly ShowsFuente Osmeña, Plaza Independencia
8:00 pmSinulog IdolTBA (Fuente Osmeña or Mall Venue)
January 8, 2023
4:00 amCebu MarathonTBA
1:00 pmParade Sinulog sa KabataanPlaza Sugbo or Plaza Independcia to SRP/Plaza Sugbo to Jakosalem, Juan Luna
2:00 pmSinulog sa Kabataan sa DakbayanSRP Grounds
7:00 pmNightly ShowsFuente Osmeña, Plaza Independencia
8:00 pmSinulog IdolTBA (Fuente Osmeña or mall venue)
January 9, 2023
7:00 pmNightly ShowsFuente Osmeña, Plaza Independencia
8:00 pmSinulog IdolTBA (Fuente Osmeña or mall venue)
January 10, 2023
7:00 pmNightly ShowsFuente Osmeña, Plaza Independencia
8:00 pmSinulog IdolTBA (Fuente Osmeña or mall venue)
January 11, 2023
9:00 amBalikbayan WelcomeMactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA)
7:00 pmNightly ShowsFuente Osmeña, Plaza Independencia
7:00 pmMiss Cebu 2023 Coronation NightNustar Resort & Casino
8:00 pmSinulog IdolTBA (Fuente Osmeña or mall venue)
9:00 pmBispopFuente Osmeña, Plaza Independencia, or SRP Grounds
January 12, 2023
6:00 pm“Balik Cebu” Welcome PartyTBA (mall venue)
7:00 pmSinulog Festival Queen Runway CompetitionTBA (mall venue)
8:00 pmHandumananTBA (mall venue)
8:00 pmSinulog Idol Grand FinalsFuente Osmeña or Plaza Independencia
January 13, 2023
4:00 amWalk With MaryFuente to Basilica Assembly Fuente Osmeña, Jones, Osmeña Boulevard to Santo Niño
9:00 amGrand Orientation for all Sinulog 2023 Contestants (Contingents, Floats, Puppeteers, Higante, etc.)Cebu City Hall 9th Floor or Social Hall
9:00 amMayor’s NightNustar
7:30 pmSinulog Festival Queen Coronation NightTBA (Nustar or Il Corso)
8:00 pmCebu Pop Music FestivalUV Gymnasium
January 14, 2023
6:00 amFluvial Procession
9:00 amRe-enactment of Queen Juana & Rajah Humabom’s BaptismBasilica Minore del Santo Niño
2:00 pmSolemn ProcessionBasilica Minore del Santo Niño
7:00 pmSinulog 2023 Fireworks Display & CompetitionSRP Grounds
8:00 pmParty at the ParksFuente Osmeña, Plaza Independencia
January 15, 2023
4:00 am Mañanita MassBasilica Minore del Santo Niño
5:00 amPontifical MassBasilica Minore del Santo Niño
8:00 amSinulog Fiesta Day Holy Mass CelebrationSRP Stage
9:00 amSinulog 2023 Grand ParadeSRP Grounds
9:00 amSinulog 2023 Grand Finale & Grand FireworksSRP Grounds
8:00 pmStreet Party or ConcertFuente Osmeña, Plaza Independencia
9:00 pmPyrospectacula Show with Pyro MusicalTBA (mall venue)
January 16, 2023
Sinulog 2023 Awarding CeremoniesCCSC
Basilica Thanksgiving DayBasilica Minore del Santo Niño
January 20, 2023“Hubo”Basilica Minore del Santo Niño
January 22, 2023Cebu City TriathlonTBA
January 26, 2023Photo Contest JudgingCCSC
January 27, 2023Video & Short Film JudgingCCSC
February 4, 2023
Photo COntext, Video & Short Film Awarding CeremoniesTBA (mall venue)
Photo ExhibitTBA (mall venue)

Stay tuned for updates!

Fully Booked Hotels

The Sinulog Festival 2023 is expected to attract 2 million spectators, mostly from Cebu Province and all over the country. As previous years have proven, hotels and other types of accommodation will most likely be fully booked on the day of the festival. If you still need to book your stay in Cebu, now is the best time to do so.

Signal Shutdown

In the Philippines, it’s pretty common for mobile networks to be temporarily shut down for huge events like this within the area of activities to strengthen security protocols. Take note that phone calls and text messages will not come through around this time in the area.

The city government, however, has made a request to police authorities to exclude internet connectivity to allow them to livestream the events online. However, we doubt if that’s feasible, considering threat actors can still operate in the presence of the internet.

Scarce Public Transportation

Public transportation in Metro Cebu can be a hit-and-miss on a regular day, especially during peak hours. On the day of the Sinulog Festival, expect old and modern jeepneys to be packed to the brim. Even taxis/cabs will not be enough to accommodate the surge of tourists.

Even if taxis are vacant, expect drivers to ask where you are headed and put a high price on your trip before taking you along. These drivers won’t likely take you if your drop-off point is too far, too near, or nearby closed roads.

Additional 60 modern jeepneys will start to operate in Metro Cebu in January. However, I doubt this is enough to accommodate tourists and commuting locals.

One-day Liquor Ban

The city government will also be implementing a one-day liquor ban on January 15. Expect convenience stores, grocery stores, bars, and restaurants to follow this.

That’s it for now. We will be updating this post from time to time. Stay tuned!

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Mario Manlupig
Mario Manlupig

Mario is the Founder of CEBU INSIDER. In March 2018, he left his full-time job at the Philippines' biggest TV network and became a digital nomad, traveling all over the country until the pandemic happened. He now calls Cebu City his home.

Articles: 83

2 Comments

  1. Hello,
    Are all events are free (including the Grand Ritual Showdown)?
    Anything worth visit on the 13.1?
    On the 14.1 – the fluvial procession sound must be event.
    What is the re-enactment of queen juana and the soleemn procession will be?

    Thanks

    • Hi. Yes, most of the major events, including the Grand Ritual Showdown, are free to watch. The fluvial procession happens on the 14th at 6am, while the Queen Juana Reenactment follows at 8am at Basilica Minore del Santo Niño. Please refer to the updated schedule above.

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