The Philippines is a nation of year-round colourful festivities, but there are few more colourful than Sinulog, which is held on the third Sunday of January each year – falling this year on 21 January.
Sinulog is a Catholic festival of devotion to the Infant Jesus (Santo Niño) through processions and carefully choreographed dances. Although Cebu City is considered to be the festival’s place of origin, Filipinos the world over, including those in Macao, hold impressive celebrations of their own to stay connected to their faith and heritage.
The message for anyone who saw Sinulog over the weekend was abundantly clear: the event is back in full swing after muted observances during the pandemic. In keeping with custom, the festival – first held in Macao in 2003 – began with Mass at Saint Augustine’s Church, a favourite with the Filipino community. After a procession, the Sinulog Festival ended with a dance competition at Praça da Amizade that featured performers in extravagant costumes.
This year saw the participation of five dance groups, including previous three-time champions, Bisdak Macau Association, who participated in the festivities as guest performers. Despite having to juggle full-time work, as well as prepare for the upcoming Chinese New Year Parade, members of the dance group were adamant about training late into the night by Nam Van Lake.
“Prior to this date, we have already been rehearsing two weeks ago,” said Edmond Tang, the group’s dance choreographer who spoke to Macao News on the sidelines. “This week, we have been practising continuously every night, from 10:00 pm until midnight or 1:00 am.”
This year’s dance competition winner was the Orient Premier Tribe. Photojournalist Eduardo Leal was there to document their hard work, as well as that of the other performers, and the parade itself, which shows the richness and dynamism of Macao’s Filipino community.
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