The Sinulog Festival is one of the most famous festivals on the Philippine calendar, attracting millions of visitors each year. At the center of it all is the full-day procession—the Grand Parade—for which dancers come with vivid costumes and choreographed routines from all over the country. The Grand Parade takes place on a Sunday about mid-way through the festival and begins at 4am at the Basilica Minore Del Santo Nino where the statue is housed in glass casing. There are also street parties, fairs, booths, and other cultural and religious events during the festival.
The festival, like a number of others in the Philippines, is held in celebration of one of the country’s most famous historic relics: the Santo Niño de Cebú. This was the statue of the baby Jesus that was handed to the Rajah of Cebu by the Portuguesel-born Spanish explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1521—one of the most important events in the Catholic history of the country. The word Sinulog in fact refers to the flowing movements of the dancers who act out the scenes of this Spanish encounter.