In a couple of weeks, it’s time to blow that whistle “prititit!” and join one of Philippines’ grandest and most colorful festivals, Sinulog. For those of you who don’t have any idea what Sinulog is, it is Cebu’s annual celebration to honor Santo Nino or the child Jesus – so yes, it’s basically a religious festival and it falls on the third Sunday of January.
(Read more about the Sinulog festival HERE).
However, let’s admit, not all people attend Sinulog for what it is – a religious event. Whatever reason you may have for attending the big celebration, it’s none of my business. Whether you go hear mass and honor Jesus or simply attend the grand street parade and have fun, it is important to remember to be safe always, most especially when you bring kids with you. Here are helpful Sinulog safety tips for parents to keep in mind.
#1. Give instructions in case kids get separated from you.
Because it’s a grand festival, the streets are expected to get crowded. People from different countries visit Cebu to experience the vibrant and happy event, as well as witness the spectacular street parades. It’s easy for kids to get lost, especially if parent’s don’t take extra precautions to keep kids close. If you have older kids who can understand simple instructions, give it to them before leaving your house. You can tell them to approach a police officer or go to a particular location that the family is familiar with, in case they get lost.
#2. Provide identification/DIY Temporary Safety Tattoos
This is one of the most important Sinulog safety tips for parents to remember. Let your kid carry around a form of identification, his or her school ID perhaps. I’ve never tried but I believe a temporary stick-on tattoo that has your kid’s details will also help. You can order such product from Lazada or Amazon (check out below).
You simply write your phone number, peel the sticker and stick it on your kid’s arm. If you want to go DIY, simply write your contact number on your kid’s arm and top it off with a liquid band-aid. Check out these DIY ideas on safety tattoos by Cherise McClimans and the Nerd’s Wife. These safety IDs are not only useful during big events like Sinulog. Parents can also use them when going out to the mall with kids or any crowded places.
#3. Avoid heavy crowds
Yes, streets during Sinulog will be crowded but there are areas that are not so filled with people. When you have a kid, go to those areas. You may not get the best spot to view the parades, but you can stay safe – and at the same time – still enjoy Sinulog. Safety is top priority!
#4. Infant safety
If you have an infant, it’s best to leave him or her at home – and maybe skip Sinulog altogether. The place is just too crowded and too loud and everything can be too much for the little one. Very small children won’t even remember going to big festivities so you might just skip it until they’re old enough to participate in such events.
That’s how it was for Kai. Ivan and I used to attend the festivities every year but we haven’t gone since Kai was born. This year, though, we’re ready.
#5. Protect kids from the sun
The weather can be unpredictable during Sinulog. There had been rainy days during Sinulog; other times it can really be hot and humid. Regardless, be prepared by bringing protective gear for your kids like umbrella, caps, and hats, and of course, don’t forget the sunscreen (Try this reef-friendly sunscreen for kids).
Most roads are blocked to make way for street dancing candidates so you need to walk to get from one place to another. Your kids might easily get thirsty so bring with you some water and make sure they are well-hydrated. If you run out, there are street vendors selling bottles of water so no worries.
#7. Hold on
Hold on to your kids tight, especially if you plan to bring as young as three years old. Don’t let them out of your sight, not even for one second. If you can, give them shoulder rides as you enjoy the parade.
If you plan to make Sinulog a family affair this year, don’t forget to keep these Sinulog safety tips in mind. Enjoy the event and always be safe!