LET’S face it. The Sinulog of recent years is a far cry from its early days of wholesome festivity. Now, say the word Sinulog and it wouldn’t be surprising for some to associate it with unbridled revelry, the likes that make the Greek God of ritual madness Dionysus mighty proud.
While festival organizers have banned street parties for the Sinulog, the ban apparently applies only to the parade route. So, expect these parties to happen elsewhere, alongside binge drinking and whatnot.
No, we aren’t trying to be party poopers here — we are all for fun and celebration as long as no one is put in harm’s way. So, here are a few tips and reminders that both the uninitiated and Sinulog veterans might find useful in trying to avoid doing something they might regret.
WATCH YOUR PHONE AND CASH. With all that’s going on, you can’t resist taking photos with your smartphone. And like any gathering of this magnitude, criminal minds will be having a field day picking out victims for their gadgets and cash. Use anti-theft sling bags, or if you don’t have one, use secret pockets. Better yet, don’t bring too much stuff.
DON’T BE FLASHY. Except for gadgets you deem essential (smartphone, action cams), leave your valuables at home so you won’t become an easy prey for pickpockets and snatchers.
TOO MUCH TO BARE. The Sinulog is supposed to be a religious festival and people are supposed to dress appropriately, but the way things are, that’s hardly the case. Besides, what’s appropriate anyway? That’s your body and what you wear is nobody’s business, right? Wrong. Reports of harassment during the Sinulog aren’t unheard of and like it or not, idiots who are provoked at the sight of skin abound. So play it safe.
USE A BUDDY SYSTEM. Before you plunge into the madness that is the street parade, arrange a buddy system among your friends if you’re going in a group. A two or three-buddy system can be effective when it comes to checking out on each other. So many things can happen, such as the need for emergency assistance (passing out from the terrible heat, dehydration). It pays that someone has your back during these times.
NEVER PASS OUT FROM BINGE DRINKING. As in previous Sinulog festivities, a number of revelers who passed out ended up in photos that went viral on social media. Some were reportedly harassed. Unless that’s your idea of fame, don’t get carried away by the street party spirit of wanton revelry. Buddies can keep an eye on each other not to indulge in too much alcohol. If you wish to drink, then drink moderately and be conscious of your surroundings at all times. (Freon Ollival)