Hairs are smouldering. Faces were smudged with black soot. Dresses and clothes stained black. Slippers and shoes covered in dust. Voices chanting Viva Senior Sto. Nino. These are the things that you’ll get to experience in Kabankalan City also known as “Rising City of South” in Negros Occidental. The Rising City is lionized for its very own version of Sinulog Festival.
Sinulog Festival is popularly celebrated in many places, especially in Cebu City. If you want to deflect the mainstream party in Cebu City and go for a savvy celebration. Then the Kabankalan route is open for you! It is celebrated every 3rd week of January to monumentalize the Negrosanon’s victory against the Moro pirates.
History says that during battle, locals saw a figure of a small child at a church tower, wagging a shining sword causing the Moro pirates to retreat leading to their triumph. Thus, the festival was born as a form of thanksgiving celebration for the saviour Sto. Nino.
Tourists from all over the world flood the City to indulge themselves with the tradition and culture of the locals. Clad in colourful tribal suites, townspeople show off their religious dance rituals in street performances. The jovial beat of the drums and cheerful chanting definitely hypes up the mood! The crowd goes wild when fresh music and mixed beats are played by hottest DJ’s! When your tired of the partying, food stalls are everywhere to offer the City’s delicacies.
They say you can’t have the fire without soot! I say this Festival is on fire because people are covered with soot! You read it right! Black soot! Tourists and visitors get to experience being a native Aeta through the Lamhitanay event. It is smearing of black soot, charcoal or worst car grease on anyone’s faces or body. Definitely a fascinating experience you might want to try! Of course, no one is exempted so ready yourself with a black or white shirt or any clothes you don’t mind getting dirtied!
As it has been quoted by David Binder: “Festivals promote diversity, they bring neighbours into dialogue, they increase creativity, they offer opportunities for civic pride, they improve our general psychological well-being. In short, they make cities better places to live.” Explore the rising city of the south and experience their very own “Sinulog de Kabankalan”.