A jam-packed Pilgrim Center of the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño in Cebu during one of its novena Masses before the pandemic. | Ryan Sorote

CEBU CITY – The Augustinian Friars of the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño in Cebu will finally resume all religious activities of the annual Sinulog celebration in 2023.

Fr. John Miranda, OSA told reporters that they are resuming the “old religious activities of the Fiesta Señor” as approved by the local government unit of this city. 

Miranda said among those resumed are the daily novena masses at the Pilgrim Center and inside the basilica from January 5 to 15 from 4 a.m. to 7 p.m.; the traditional dawn Walk With Mary and Jesus; and the penitential walk which attacks tens of thousands of devotees across the globe.

The traditional traslacion of the miraculous image of the Child Jesus from the basilica to the National Shrine of St. Joseph in Mandaue City and the fluvial procession along the Mactan Channel will also be back. 

“We will follow the advice of the concerned agencies, ” the priest said. “Will follow the full capacity of the basilica.” The basilica compound has a maximum capacity of 3,500. But organizers expect it to increase next year with relaxed travel restrictions.  

The complete details of the next year’s Fiesta Señor celebration will be revealed at a press conference scheduled on November 15.

A pre-pandemic scene at the annual Sinulog Grand Showdown at Cebu City Sports Complex. The showdown will not be at the South Road Properties. | Ryan Sorote

Meanwhile, the Cebu City government, which handles the cultural aspects of the Sinulog, has earlier announced the full resumption of the cultural activities.

Mayor Michael Rama has ordered the transfer of the conduct of the Sinulog Grand Festival Showdown to the South Road Properties (SRP) instead of the usual Cebu City Sports Complex in downtown Cebu to avoid overcrowding. 

Councilor Philip Zafra, chairman of the Sinulog 2023 executive committee, said the city wants to accommodate more people to witness the grand showdown at the SRP.  

Zafra clarified that the rest of the month-long festivities will continue at the Fuente Osmeña rotunda in uptown Cebu and Plaza Independencia at the port area. – Ryan Christopher J. Sorote