Organizers decided to pause the performances around 3 p.m. for the safety of the dancers.
Despite the challenges, the ritual showdown that featured 23 contingents, including one guest performer, continued 15 to 20 minutes later.
The street dancing lasted for about two hours, or from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
The first to perform on stage was the seven clustered barangays in Carmen town that were competing under the local category.
These were Hugpong sa Nagkahiusang Truimbanayon (Triumfo, Hagnaya, Baring), Tribu Maampoon (Cantumog, Corte, Lanipga, Sac-on, Liboron), Tribu Cogonanon (Cogon East, Cogon West), Tribu Luyanganon (Luyang, Puente), Tribu San Roque (Dawis Norte, Dawis Sur, Cantucong), Tribu Panaghiusa (Cantipay, Cauransan, Lower Natimao-an, Upper Natimao-an) and Tribu Ipilacion (Poblacion, Ipil).
Around 6 p.m., 15 contingents from other towns, cities and Cebu City barangays began their performances for the Open Category.
Nine of these came from the municipalities of Tuburan and Moalboal; cities of Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu, Talisay, Carcar, Naga and Toledo; and Consolacion town, the guest contingent that featured Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia as its lead dancer.
The contingents from Ce-bu Province pulled out on Jan. 12 from competing in the Sinulog Grand Parade and Ritual Showdown at the South Road Properties in Cebu City on Jan. 15, citing several concerns that included the performers’ safety.
The other seven competing contingents in the Sinulog sa Carmen were from Cebu City. These were from Barangays Tejero, Labangon, Guadalupe, Mabolo, Tisa, San Roque and Basak San Nicolas.
A sizeable crowd flocked to the Carmen Grandstand even before the event started.
Because of the limited seats, some locals brought mats for them to sit on, while others made some makeshift shades to cover themselves.
Meanwhile, some Carmen residents expressed their disappointment over the limited accessibility to the grandstand.
Carmen tourism officer Max Villamor explained that the grandstand area was only accessible to residents and visitors with wristbands issued by the Province of Cebu.
The wristbands, Villamor said, were distributed accordingly to Carmen residents, different participating contingents and guests.
“Ang wristbands gikan sa Province (Capitol). Gibahin na na siya, gitarong bahin according sa seating capacity pud nato. Ang uban wristbands naa pud na sa uban na mo-cheer sa ilang contingents pud, pero mas daghan ang wristbands sa Carmen pero pa-unhanay gyud,” Villamor said.
(The wristbands were distributed by the Province. These were divided according to our seating capacity. The other wristbands were given to the cheering squads of different contingents, but the majority were given to Carmen residents on a first come, first served basis.)
According to Carmen’s official online portal, its Sinulog preceded that of Cebu City’s. It said its Sinulog started in 1974, or six years ahead of Cebu City’s Sinulog, which was first organized in 1980.
“The event was started by Fr. Jose Motus from Kalibo, Aklan, who, with the help of Carmen residents, organized contingents for what was then called the Ati-atihan sa Carmen but renamed the year after to the Sinulog Festival. Without doubt, the Sinulog in Carmen precedes the Sinulog Festival of Cebu City. This festival is now held on the fourth Sunday of January,” it said.
The Sinulog sa Carmen was still ongoing as of this writing. (IRT, USJ-R INTERN EIVER KY VILLEGAS, WITH KAL)