One Beat, One Dance, One Pandoo Nation

By: Denise Cristobal

This weekend is an exciting time for everyone in Cebu. It is Sinulog weekend and the city is buzzing with anticipation as it prepares to celebrate the feast of Señor Santo Niño. As both a cultural and religious festival, there is something for everyone during Sinulog. Whether it is street or fluvial processions, masses, street parties, parades, firework display – everyone can celebrate Sinulog in their preferred way.

One of the main events during the Sinulog celebration is a day-long parade on Sunday. The parade will showcase dances, festive floats, and higantes (giant puppets) that will go around the city to honor and celebrate the Holy Child.

At Pandoo Club, since we can’t bring the children to see the street parade, we have decided to have our own celebration at the community center on Saturday. Under the guidance of Center Mother Joy Barnayja and volunteers Paolo, Manman, and Cindy, everyone (yes, including the team) at Pandoo Club learned the dance.

Mama Joy is happy that the kids are having their own Sinulog dance celebration. According to her, it’s going to be the first time for most of the kids to dance in a Sinulog event. It is clear that Mama Joy is not the only one who is excited about the celebration this Saturday. The kids are excited as well! What started with just a few dancers grew into a big contingent of almost 40 Pandoo Kids.

Mama Joy and the volunteers have made it clear to the kids that the dance is a form of thanksgiving to Señor Santo Niño. When I asked Paolo and Manman if having this mindset helped keep the kids well-behaved, they both agreed that it did help.

Pag-ingon lang nga practice ug sayaw para sa Sinulog, attentive kaayo sila. Paspas kaayo sila mu[ingon]: hala, mag-tinarong ta ani,” said Paolo. (They’re very attentive when they know it’s time for Sinulog dance practice. They are quick to remind each other: we need to behave.)

Everyone at the Pandoo Club is excited to celebrate Sinulog. We definitely have a lot of things to be thankful for, and to be able to show our gratitude in a very concrete way is just one of them. I hope this weekend will help instill the spirit of gratitude and of giving back in Pandoo kids and team. Learning and practicing a dance routine is by no means easy, but it’s nothing compared to the gifts and opportunities we’ve had in the past year.

Viva! Pit Señor!