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The Franciscan Youths (YOUFRA) of Enrique Villanueva, Siquijor: Feeling triumphant after giving their share to the community. Tree planting and clean up activities are one of the regular activities of these youth to help mitigate the adverse effects of climate change following their weekly formation at the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in Enrique Villanueva, Siquijor. (pia-siquijor/Rizalie Anding Calibo)
Central Visayas Region

PIA Press Release
Monday, January 16, 2012

At least 3.8M people join Cebu’s Sinulog festival, biggest turnout in 32 years

by Fayette C. Riñen

CEBU CITY, January 16 (PIA) -- The Sinulog Mardi Gras here yesterday gathered at the height of festivities an estimated 3.8 to 4 million peoplea record turnout in the last 32 years.

Cebu City Police Director Ramon Melvin Buenafe said there were no major untoward incidents reported.

Last year's crowd was estimated to be over 2 million.

This year, there were also more contingents that joined the grand parade at 135 while the program at the Cebu City Sports Complex (CCSC) ended close to 9:00 p.m. that was capped with a spectacular fireworks display.

Vice President Jejomar Binay briefly greeted the crowd at the CCSC “Pit Senyor” before leaving to walk and mingle with the people outside along the carousel route.

Politicians also seen during the event were Sen. Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla Jr., Sen. Teddy Casiño, and former senators Francisco Tatad and Miguel Zubiri.

Yesterday’s grand parade drew appreciation from first-time tourists who watched the event. One was Kristin Kidd, a Canadian actress who said that the Cebu’s festival was more fun compared with other festivals in other countries. It was also very unique and very cultural, she added.

Kidd, who was dressed in comical costume, said they were shooting a film to be posted in the internet channel ‘Channelfix’ which was part of a reality gag show.

Another was 911 hero Rebecca Canalija, a Cebuana nurse in her 50s now based in New York but came here to watch the Sinulog for the first time.

According to Canalija, she has heard good things about the event from her friends in the US who have experienced the Sinulog in previous years.

Canalija was given recognition for her help in tending to the needs of the wounded and the dying at the hospital during the 911 tragedy. Her services extended until the rescue operations were completed which earned her a recognition as one of the 9/11 heroes in a book about them, this is reported.

Because of the huge crowd along the carousel route especially in identified chokepoint areas such as Fuente Osmeña, crowd control was the common problem as revelers tried to push cordons to be able to watch the performances of the contingents, Buenafe said.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) meanwhile, just last week launched the homecoming “hospitality’ counter for balikbayans at the Mactan Cebu International Airport.

The counter will address the travel needs of the balikbayans and other tourists providing them a list of guided tours with special discount rates.

It was the sixth counter established by the DOT nationwide. The other tourist counters were installed at the NAIA Terminals 1, 2 and 3, Davao City International Airport and the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport. (PIA-Cebu)

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