Overseas Filipinos coming home for the Sinulog 2017 celebration now have access to the Balik Cebu booth at Ayala Center Cebu starting today, January 4, 2017, to help them with festival-related activities.

Local government executives led by Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale and Cebu City Councilor Margot Osmeña led the opening of the booth, which is one component of the Balik Cebu program.

Balikbayans can buy tickets to the numerous activities lined up for January and ask about tour packages at the Balik Cebu booth.

Balik Cebu
BALIK CEBU. Cebu City Councilor Margot Osmeña and Cebu Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale (center) lead the opening of the Balik Cebu booth at Ayala Center Cebu. At the booth, balikbayans can buy tickets to numerous activities lined up for January and ask about tour packages and Sinulog events.

Airport welcome

Tetta Baad, chair of the Balik Cebu committee, said two welcome activities are planned at the Mactan Cebu International Airport for overseas Filipinos arriving in January 11 and 12.

A grand welcome dinner for balikbayans is also scheduled for January 12 at The Terraces in Ayala Center Cebu.

Now on its 16th year, the Balik Cebu program has seen an increasing number of Cebuanos and other Filipinos coming to Cebu to celebrate the Sinulog Festival.

According to Baad, the venue for the welcome dinner only has maximum capacity of 500 and tickets for this event had been sold out the past two Sinulog celebrations.

“There has been a clamor for additional tickets but we simply can’t accommodate more,” she added. The main requests of guests during the welcome dinner usually pertain to Visayan songs and dances.

Fluvial parade

Aside from the regular Sinulog activities that they look forward to during their visit, balikbayans also now clamor to join the fluvial parade, said Tourism Congress vice president for travel and tours Alice Queblatin.

To make the experience more festive for guests, Queblatin said they decorate the boats, hire Sinulog dancers and drumbeaters, and narrate the story behind the fluvial procession.



Sinulog Guide

Get a comprehensive yet portable guide to Sinulog by downloading Sinulog Guide. The app is a collaboration among InnoPub Media, Smart Communications, Inc., and the Sinulog Foundation. You can the guide from the Google Play Store for Android devices and the App Store for iPhones and iPads.

Although this isn’t the first time that guests had asked to participate in this event, she added there was a sharp increase of the number this year.

According to her, Cebu’s island destinations Malapascua and Camotes are also in high demand with Sinulog Festival guests.

Aside from the Balik Cebu booth, located at the ground level of the Activity Center, here are other Sinulog-related activities at Ayala Center Cebu.

Sinulog activities in Ayala

January 2-15, mall-wide Welcome 2017 sale
Up to 70 percent discounts plus a chance to win P10,00 BPI Amore Visa Prepaid Card or P3,000 worth of cinema multi-pass (MPass).

January 6, Activity Center: Cebu Marathon Race Briefing
Get to know the new route, gun start, and water stations for each race distance.

January 6-16, Mall Chapel: Sto. Niño Exhibit
The traditional Sto. Niño exhibit of Images continues in celebration of the Child Jesus. Novena masses will also be held every 6 p.m.

January 10-15, Around the Mall: Sinulog Dancers Parade
Celebrate the biggest fiesta of the country in the mall with festive sights and sound throughout the day.

January 12, 6 p.m., The Terraces: Balik Cebu Welcome Dinner
A welcome dinner for balikbayans complete with entertainment.

January 13, 4 p.m., The Terraces: Kapuso Fans’ Day

January 14, 4 p.m., The Terraces: Kapamilya Karavan

January 15, 9 p.m., Cebu Business Park: Symphony of Fire

Marlen is the editor of MyCebu.ph and co-founder of Cebu-based journalism startup InnoPub Media.

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