PADUA, Italy - Despite the very cold weather, Filipinos flocked to Italy to witness the celebration of the Grand Sinulog Festival last Sunday, January 22.
The 7th annual celebration of the Feast of Sto. Niño de Cebu proved to be a success as thousands of Filipinos from different parts of Italy, as well as Austria and Switzerland, came to be part of the extravagant feast which is fast becoming popular among other nationalities.
The first Sto. Niño singing competition kicked off this year’s Sinulog. It was followed by a concelebrated holy mass led by Maasin Bishop Most Rev. Precioso D. Cantillas, Chairman of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission for Migrants and Itinerant People (CBCP-ECMI).
Bishop Cantillas conveyed the greetings of Pope Benedict XVI thru the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
In his homily, Bishop Cantillas emphasized that the feast was a celebration of Catholic faith and not just a cultural event nor a social event.
“Dapat mas pairalin natin, mas bigyan natin ng higit na halaga ang ating pananampalatayang Katoliko, hindi lamang 'yun ating kulturang Pilipino o 'yung ating pamumuhay na sosyal upang makilala natin ang ating mga kababayan mula sa ibang dako ng Italya o ng mundo,” Cantillas stressed.
Mardi gras competition
The Catholic church has been calling to make festivities simple but different contingents for the mardi gras competition showcased their extravagant costumes as everyone vies to go home with the award.
Street dancing and parade marked the start of the competition proper. It was followed by the presentation of the Sinulog queens.
Colorful, lavish costumes wowed Pinoys and other nationalities specially Italians.
Audience resisted the freezing cold Sunday afternoon because of the lively atmosphere as different contingents performed their interpretation of the birth of Christianity in the Philippines.
The Vis-Min Veneto and Friends contingent bagged four awards including Best in choreography for Street dancing, Best in Costume, Best in Props and the most coveted Sinulog Queen 2012.
Kapunungan sa mga Bisaya sa Austria was adjudged Best in choreography for Ground presentation. It was the group’s fourth consecutive win.
Best in Music went to the Filipino Chaplaincy of Treviso while the Best in Banner award was given to the Filipino Chaplaincy of Vicenza.
The Filipino Chaplaincy of Padova was given the Best in Mascot award while Cebuanos and Friends of Milan was the Most numbered dance performer in a contingent.
Meanwhile The Associazione Culturale Filipina di Piemonte of Torino took home the Best Interpreter Award for both single and group category.
Sinulog Padova 2012 also has its own official theme song entitled “Santo Niño Dalan Ko.” It was performed by the Veneto Men’s Choir, the official choir for the celebration.
Rev. Father Oscar Cadayona, Chaplain of the Filipino Chaplaincy of Padova explained that the preparation for Sinulog 2012 was centered on spiritual aspect.
He said this year’s celebration commenced with a 9-day novena, unlike the previous six celebrations.
Rev. Father Elmer Bumanglang, Chaplain, Vicenza Filipino Chaplaincy also said that they are responding on the Italian bishops’ call on the 10-year project of faith-rekindling and strengthening by educating oneself.
He also said that they will make the Sinulog celebrations plain in the following years. “Sa darating na panahon ng mga selebrasyon ay pagsusumikapan naming muli na kung saan, ika nga, na hindi masyadong ma-focus sa cultural o kung saan man mga accent ang selebrasyon”.
Bergamo will host the next Sinulog in 2013.