The Sinulog Fever
Brent Montecillo (The Freeman) - January 17, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The Yuletide holidays may be over, but the season of celebrations lingers on in Cebu. In fact, the city is currently on a crescendo to “the biggest fiesta of the Philippines!”The Sinulog fever is on!

Everyone is overcome with giddy feeling of anticipation right now. It is fiesta time and the days sizzle with fun events. Entertainment performances are taking place nightly – mostly for free, particularly at the city’s Plaza Independencia at the waterfront area.

The celebrations are all to culminate in the Sinulog Grand Parade on Sunday, January 21. It’s still a few days away, which means there is still time to prepare and make sure everything goes smoothly on the big day. Huge gatherings of people do have certain concerns that need looking after.

Some people worry about security, especially in the light of recent scenarios in the country and abroad. Certain groups may want to draw public attention. Petty criminals may also have a literal field day running their trade.

Huge crowds can trigger anxieties. Tempers often become volatile as everyone tries to push through a sea of strangers. People are on edge. Even those who’d choose to stay away from it all are not spared – the feeling of being “left behind by the world” can be just as unbearable.

It helps to try to sift the possibilities, and figure things out in advance in order to be able to emotionally prepare oneself. Certain things are good to keep in mind to help keep one’s perspective in check and one’s sanity intact through it all. Sparing some time to think things through can bring some sense of order to the chaos.

Social media posts.Those amazing Sinulog-related photos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – and on blogs – are not the whole truth. The happy faces are intended for the camera. The frowns resulting from discomforts are mostly edited out. The photos posted on social media are not reflective of reality. They are small sliver of the truth; often, the best version of the truth, but not the whole truth.

The Sinulog events. First of all, it’s unrealistic to want to be in all Sinulog events. Some events take place at the same time; others just a few short minutes apart and at venues that are a good distance from each other. And these events don’t have exclusivity of the fun; it can probably be more fun to invite a couple of friends over to enjoy a home-cooked meal, some drinks, good conversation, and maybe some games.

Going out is great, of course, if one really has someplace fun to go to and in good company. But going out to just a few events will make these more memorable, because there’s not too much to remember.

Going alone.When it comes to public celebrations, a person who is single often tends to feel blue. The self-pityis founded on the fact that a single person does not have close company in going around during the festivities. In fact, it’s okay to be alone – at least it’s better to be alonewithout a relationship than being alone in a relationship. A single person is free to go anywhere without having to consult someone, and may instead bump into someone nice and alone too.

A happy face. Sinulog is a fiesta event, a time for merrymaking; thus, people are expected to wear happy faces. But there’s no law forcing someone who is feeling blue to put up a happy face. But the thing is, the person may not have to go out and join the merry crowd. Staying put at home is the best way to indulge one’s dark feelings.

Good distraction.If, for one reason or another, one just finds himself or herself in the midst of crowds in celebration and begins to feel anxious, the thing to do is to look around to distract oneself. Doing something kind for someone else can be very effective. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, but simply seeing where one can make things a little bit easier or more enjoyable for someone else. The act can bring good feelings, both to the doer and to the recipient, and the anxiety.

See? There are ways to rule over the festival madness. Sinulog is to be enjoyed – not to be endured.

SINULOG
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