By Dolly Yasa
BACOLOD City – Thousands of spectators trooped to the city of Kabankalan in southern Negros Occidental for the Sinulog festival during the weekend.
This is the second local government unit-initiated festival in the province of Negros Occidental that lured thousands of spectators after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The highlight of the 47th edition of the Sinulog sa Kabankalan Festival culminated Sunday and was attended by an estimated 30,000 revelers, Kabankalan Mayor Benjie Miranda said.
The mayor said the festival was successful and relatively peaceful due to the support and cooperation of the city and barangay officials, as well as Kabankalanons.
The Sinulog Festival was highlighted by a fluvial procession of Señor Sto. Niño at the Ilog-Hilabagnan River, Grand Tribal Parade and the Grand Tribal Arena Dance Competition at the public plaza.
Securing the event were military and police personnel, and force multipliers, including about 1,000 augmentation forces, he said.
Miranda said that despite the challenges of the pandemic, Typhoon Odette, and lack of budget due to the reduction in the city’s national tax allocation by about P268 million, they were able to push through with the festival with the support of the Sangguniang Panlungsod led by Vice Mayor Miguel Zayco.
He recalled aside from the Covid-19 pandemic the locals also have to “rise up” after being badly hit by Typhoon Odette in December last year.
“As long as there is unity, there is victory,” he said, adding they could achieve many things together.
He also thanked everyone involved in the success of the festival, particularly the Kabankalan Sinulog Foundation, Inc. led by Councilor Rey Cordero.
Miranda said this year’s theme is “Sto. Niño Modelo sg Tingub nga Pagpanglakatun sang Katawhan sang Dios.” They hope to upgrade the festival next year to make it more colorful.
Early this month the Bailes de Luces Festival of La Castellana town was attended by about 20,000 people, both local and out-of-town crowds, including abroad.
Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said that the Bailes de Luces or the Festival of Lights of La Castellana town served as the opening salvo of festivals in the province held face to face.
Also slated this month is the Lubay-Lubay festival of Cauayan town and by end of the month is the Dinagsa Festival of Cadiz City.
This coming weekend, Bacolod City is holding the Bacolaodiat Festival.
In February, the town of Don Salvador Benedicto is set to celebrate its Kalikalihan Festival.
Also slated in April this year is the Panaad Festival in Negros the mother of all festivals in the province.