In the Philippines, Sinulog is definitely the grandest festival in the country. A huge number of spectators are expected to witness the festival in Cebu every third week of January.
I am also one of the many individuals who flocked into the streets to dance in the Sinulog beat in honor of the holy child. Ever since I was a child, I was taught on about the steps in the said ritual dance. It involves“two steps forward, one step backward” footwork. It amazes me as how everyone can follow rhythmically to the beat.
But did you know that there is a Sinulog beat keeper? She is Ms. Estelita Diola also known as Nang Titang. She began dancing the the Sinulog at the age of seven with the songs and prayers. She was taught by her father Buenaventura Diola. Before the Sinulog festival began in 1980, the folks of Cebu are dancing the steps in a simpler celebration.
Nag titian has been officially recognized for her historic role in the Sinulog celebration. She received the Sugbuanong Laiko award last year for the Archdiose of Cebu. She was also given a plaque of recognition by the Sinulog Foundation Inc. during its 30th anniversary.
Now, at the age of 83, she continues to dance the original and authentic Sinug or Sinulog dance steps with her nephews, nieces and grandchildren as part of a family tradition during the feast of Señor Sto. Niño.
The devotion of the people to Senior Santo Niño has grown throughout the years and celebration also vevolved into more than just devotion.
I will forever be grateful to Tatng Diola for keeping the Sinulog beat. Without her, the younger generation will never have the chance to experience the richness our culture. Thank you Nang Titang!
Viva Tatng Diola!
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