Monday, January 21, 2008

Surviving Sinulog 2008, part 1

The most grand and most popular of all festivals in the Philippines culminated yesterday, the Sinulog of Cebu. The day-long spectacle in the streets of Cebu City is long awaited by everyone, locals and visitors alike. Already in its 28th year, it has grown from being a mere homegrown affair to the single biggest annual tourist event in the country. I did not even attend the first Sinulog parade in 1980- I still was in grade school then. It was only in high school that I took the habit of watching the street celebration with friends. But one can only witness the spectacle too often and by the time I finished college and started working in the 90s, I got bored, lost yinterest and skipped watching the celebration altogether. I could always watch it on TV.

It wasn’t until I joined flickr in May 2005 that I began to value what Sinulog can offer. So in January 2006 – the Sinulog grand parade falls on every 3rd Sunday of January – I began rediscovering the fun.

The Sinulog is a photographer’s dream. Regardless of your camera, you will find the myriad of opportunities in the grand parade mind-boggling. The color, the action and the atmosphere are difficult to match.

phototip: Be alert in capturing subjects with intense facial expressions.
Canon EOS 350D, 0.005s, f/5.6, 31mm, ISO 100
the Sinirangan contingent of Eastern Samar during the Sinulog mardi gras, Cebu City, the Philippines

While it is admirable to aim high, winning in the contest, even placing in the top 10 of the 5 categories, is difficult. Every year, hundreds join the contest – this year about 500 photocontest IDs were sold – and you will be jostling in a crowded space of renowned local and national photojournalists and professional photographers. if you want to be discouraged some more, just look at the winning entries of the previous years. Intimidating is an appropriate description for that feeling, insidious and persistent. Check out for instance the pictures in the official website at or even in this flick account that is probably uploaded by the Sinulog Foundation.

It is funny though that of all the fabulous pictures that won in the Sinulog, the contributor or contributors in wikipedia chose one of my 2006 pics in the Sinulog page ( I don’t even consider this a knockout shot. I also did not get any attribution from Wiki, which somehow reminds me that maybe I should complain and ask for one. It is still stealing if it is without permission and credits right?

Canon EOS 350D, 0.002s, f/5.6, 18mm, ISO 100
the Sinirangan contingent of Eastern Samar during the Sinulog mardi gras, Cebu City, the Philippines

Next: Part 2

Here are some initial posts of this year’s Sinulog grand parade.

phototip: I like how the dancers’ faces follow a directional clockwise curve that eventually leads up to the girl holding the Sto Nino.
Canon EOS 350D, 0.002s, f/14, 130mm, ISO 800
the contingent of the Hambabalud Festival of Jimalalud, Negros Oriental, doing their presentation at the Sinulog grand parade, Cebu City, the Philippines

Darlene Mae
phototip: A relatively slow shutter speed, in this case 1/40s, can create interesting blurry lines of subjects that are in motion.
Canon EOS 350D, 0.025s, f/5.6, 35mm, ISO 100
the Sinulog Festival Queen - Ms. Darlene Mae Tambis, Tribu Pintaflores of San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, at the Sinulog 2008 Grand Parade, Cebu Cit, the Philippines

UP Sentenaryo
Canon EOS 350D, 0.013s, f/20, 55mm, ISO 200
the Tribu UP Sentenaryo of the UP Visayas Cebu HS during the Sinulog grand parade, Cebu City, the Philippines

Ana Andrada
phototip: A tight frame on a pretty face always works.
Canon EOS 350D, 0.001s, f/5.0, 140mm, ISO 100
the Sinulog Festival Queen 2nd Runnerup- Ms. Ana Andrada of Tribu Mandauehanon of Mandaue City, at the Sinulog 2008 grand parade, Cebu City, the Philippines

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