Sinulog success lifts host’s confidence

By Linette C. Ramos

CEBU CITY -- As the Sinulog 2006 came to a peaceful close Sunday night, preparations for the hosting of the Asean summit kicked off with much pomp that impressed locals and tourists alike. 

Close to 1,000 dancers performed the finale of the Sinulog festivities, which segued into the dance numbers representing the 10 member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

It was a world-class performance that equaled the opening production at the 2000 Olympics, said Mayor David Borger of Parramatta in Sydney, Australia, a sister-city of Cebu. 

“This is world-class. The Cebuanos’ hearts must be bursting with pride,” he said. 

Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña said Sunday night’s show is a preview of the presentations in the Asean summit, and also served as an exercise for the City Government. 

Impressed with the contingents’ numbers, grand finale and the 15-minute fireworks display that capped the parade, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Frank Benedicto said Cebu is ready to host the Asean summit in terms of cultural presentations. 

“I think they were really, really very good in coming up with something like this. In the area of performing arts and cultural presentations, I think Cebu is ready for the Asean,” he told Sun.Star Cebu. 

Osmeña and Sinulog Foundation Inc. officials felt Sunday’s celebration was better than last year’s, although out-of-town contingents need to be given more exposure. 

Sinulog executive director Ricky Ballesteros attributed Sunday’s success to the cooperation and discipline of close to 50,000 revelers who watched from the grandstand. 

“Everything just flowed smoothly, the flow of the parade and the performances was even smoother than last year’s. The audience was very disciplined and that helped us,” he said. 

Bigfoot Entertainment’s CEO Michael Gleissner, one of the VIP guests, said the program was exceptional and deserves to be featured in a show that his company can produce next year. 

“I didn’t expect this level of professionalism here in Cebu. I’ve been blown away,” he told reporters after the grand finale. 

Benedicto, over-all head in the preparation for the Asean summit here, said the performances would be good production numbers for the gala dinner during the Asean summit, which is usually filled with musical and cultural presentations. 

“They put on a good show today and I think the best contingents will have a good chance to be asked to participate. They were very good but the final decision will come from the foreign affairs secretary,” he added. 

The grand finale featured the guest contingents of the Cebu Province, the Cebu City Government and the Cebu City Dancesport Team. 

As the dancers left the stage, a streamer that read “Cebu your host to the Asean Summit 2006” welcomed 17 dance troupes representing the Asean member-countries and its seven dialog partners. 

A fireworks display provided a backdrop for the dancers garbed in the colorful national costumes of the countries they represented, as they performed traditional dances to the Sinulog beat. 

Although he was impressed, the mayor was also dismayed with the fewer out-of-town contingents, which he said is a strong signal that the organizers and the City Government should take better care of them. 

Besides, he said, it is the out-of-town contingents that make every Sinulog a successful event. 

He promised better exposure for the participating local government units on television and tourism promotional materials next year. (Sun.Star Cebu)


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