Tuesday, December 9, 2008

scenes from Sinulog 2007

In a month’s time, Cebu will be celebrating the feast of Sr. Sto Nino. Held every 3rd Sunday of January, which next year is on the 18th, Sinulog 2009 features the usual array of activities: concerts, sale bonanzas, cultural shows, a religious procession on water (fluvial) and on land, two beauty pageants (Miss Cebu and a Festival Queen), a popular photocontest and of course, not just one but three “sinulog” contingent presentations including the grand street parade on Sunday. Sinulog is one big commercial mess which makes sense if you know the propensity of Filipinos for fiestas. But beneath the seeming explosion of superficiality, there is an underlying current of pure spiritual fervor. The celebrations are still designed to honor the Holy Child. All activities are designed to build to a crescendo, starting with the kick off on January 9, which is day 1 of the religious novena as well, until the big day on January 18th, the feast day.

I have not been much of a follower of the Sinulog activities. My participation always had been on the religious procession on Saturday. But I do give in and embrace the grand parade for the photographic opportunities that literally come once in a year.

In anticipation of the big event, here is a retroactive of the kaleidoscope of colors and action of the street party. The year is 2007.

beauties on parade

The Sinulog parade was time in capturing beautiful Cebuanas sashaying and dancing in the streets. There never would be a paucity of beautiful ladies willing to pose for the camera. The best time is always in the morning early in the parade when the dancers are still enthusiastic and fresh.

Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/400s, f/5, 200 mm, ISO 100

colors that literally bling

Filipinos are not scared of colors. This is demonstrated no more unabashedly by the Pintaflores contingent of San Carlos City . The contingent from nearby Negros Oriental spared no expense in promoting their Pintaflores festival by sending a contingent with the most amazing of costumes. They also had the most charming of a star dancer in Ms. Catherine Bolo, whose sincere smile never seemed to wane.

Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/40s, f/10, 38mm, ISO 400

behind the scenes

Ever the unsung heroes of any parade, propsmen don’t hog the limelight as much as the dancers. It did not mean though that they would be any less interesting, like those from the Inayawan performing group.

Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/500s, f/5.6, 48mm, ISO 200, +2/3 EV

the action

The lad below gave his all when his group performed on the streets. I don't think his group won anything in the street mardi gras competition. But it surely was not because of lack of effort. Competition, always, was just too tight. And yes, I think he ran too fast for my camera!)

Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/50s, f/10, 55mm, ISO 100

not for the niggardly

In recent years, the typical cost of training, costuming and running a contingent of 40+ dancers is steadily climbing. In year 2007, judging from the dramatic costumes of dance troupes like the one from Inayawan below, the sum was estimated to be between 300,000 pesos ($6,000, at the then exchange rate of 50 pesos/USD) to 500,000 ($10,000). Corporate sponsors always seemed to be aplenty. Sinulog is getting bigger in terms of tourist attendance every year. There are even pre-contests before the Sunday mardi gras as the streets can only take in a limited number of participants.

Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/4000s, f/5.6, 300mm, ISO 800, +1/3 EV


There would be moments in the street parade when the contingents received some respite from the dancing. Any form of shade or seat would do for the weary dancers who stay committed to the formation they need to keep on the hot concrete. The shadow here proved to be a welcome break for a dancer of the Duljo Fatima contingent from the stinging sun. Winged, it actually was from a banner held aloft by a propsman. That and her native fans were good company.

Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/80s, f/6.3, 34mm, ISO 200, +2/3 EV

From the same contingent was the girl below. She was covering herself with the fan. The day was sweltering hot. I focused my camera on her and waited for her to lift her fan up and look my way. Well, soon enough she moved and I caught her in the act of blowing her gum. She actually did not mind and smiled thereafter. Filipinos are so game when it comes to being photographed.

Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/160s, f/6.3, 55mm, ISO 200, +2/3 EV

the energy

Getting a different take of the frenzy of the street dancing is not easy. The performers always move too fast. That I am partial to shots clean of extraneous elements like the crowd and the ever present photographers angling for the same shots compound the challenge. So when I got a clear shot of the ever flashing hand of the lead dancer, I took it. This, for me, is a representation of grace in action.

Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/800s, f/5.6, 120mm, ISO 100, +1/3 EV

Stumble Upon Toolbar

No comments: