I waited until after the Sinulog weekend to be over to write this post so here I am. It’s our first Sinulog experience ever as a family and I must say, it was fun yet it’s not as awesome. We didn’t get to witness the parade on the streets, where colorful floats and dancers in elaborate costumes perform for all the people to see.
Still, the Sinulog weekend is special because it’s Kai’s first. The partner and I haven’t attended the festival ever since I gave birth to Kai. But we’ve done it this year, and we hope to make it as something that the kids will enjoy every year. Thinking back on what happened over the weekend, I’ve come up with some realizations that should help us make the Sinulog experience better next year for our family.
#1. Prepare, prepare
Obviously, this was something we didn’t do. We didn’t prepare for the day. In fact, we didn’t even realize during the Sinulog week that the Mardi Gras is only days away. We were so caught up in our responsibilities that we didn’t notice Sinulog is fast approaching.
If you want to have a better Sinulog experience next year, don’t be like us. Ha-ha! Keep in mind things like what to do, where to go, what to wear (matching family shirts), what to bring, etc.
#2. Book a hotel
Honestly, we’ve already planned for this. We’d talk about booking a hotel on Sinulog to make it easy to get to the festival area. It’s a disadvantage for us living on the island and having to endure the bad traffic conditions of the city. But because we kept procrastinating and pushing the thought of booking a hotel aside, we completely forgot about it.
#3. Celebrate early
If you want in on the Sinulog fun, you have to be in the city or festival area early. Not only were we late, but we were super late. We planned to leave the house by 10 a.m. but since Chelsea and I kinda slept late, we weren’t able to wake up early. The result? We left home around 1 p.m. and arrived at Plaza Independencia, where the food stalls (the major reason we wanted to go out) were at, at around 5 p.m. We just ate barbecue there and left for SM for the fireworks.
#4. Scary fireworks
Fireworks display is very much part of Sinulog. We had planned to watch the Saturday display and thought Kai would enjoy it, although we know that he has this tendency to be really scared of the loud sounds. I said we “thought,” because he was raving all about wanting to see the fireworks while we were in the car. But the moment the first entry started, he cried like a pig that was about to be slaughtered. No joke. He was hysterical.
I then realized he didn’t want to watch in an open area. He kept saying he doesn’t want to watch “outside.” We were on the rooftop, BTW. So, after going home that night, we had a plan for Sunday’s pyroworks. We would secure a spot on the rooftop parking and get inside the car to watch the display.
Here are a few of my fireworks display shots taken from inside the car.
But not as awesome as this guy’s photo.
But because we failed to follow #1 and #4, we arrived in SM a bit late and the fireworks display had started. We ran up towards the rooftop, anyway, but Kai was hysterical again. But but but!!! We parked nearby so we ran as fast as we could, me carrying Kai, just to get inside the car. And boom! He stopped crying. We got a close view of the fireworks display from inside the car.
#5. It’s not easy.
So yeah, going out to attend such a crowded event with a little kid is not easy! Although I felt that we may need to start a “thing” that we can bond over each year in January, at one point I thought that we should’ve stayed home. Ha-ha! But that was a start. I’m still glad we got to do it. If it weren’t for this experience, I wouldn’t learn these lessons. Here’s hoping we’ll make it better next year.