Throwback: Sinulog 1985, the pamanhikan and memories of my dad

How in love we both were ( and still are). Sinulog 1985 holds precious memories as that was the day Butch asked my dad for my hand in marriage. On that day, the two loves of my life finally got to talk for the first time. In all the 7 years that Butch and I were steadies, Dad never spoke a single word to Butch except “hi and bye”. That day, I finally asked Dad why he treated Butch that way . Dad’s two lame explanations were that he didn’t want Butch to be too familiar and secondly , he didn’t know how to talk to the boyfriend of his daughter. Oh well, that was cleared up that fateful Sinulog eve.

My then fiancee, now my husband of 30 years. Taken on the stage of Sinulog 1985 celebration

My then fiancee, now my husband of 30 years. Taken on the stage of Sinulog 1985 celebration

Born in Cebu, the Sinulog Festival was alien to me until I went home to Cebu on January 1985 for my “pamanhikan” (engagement). My dear father, was the overall organizer for the 1985 Sinulog Festivities. Sure I have seen old women dancing in front of the Santo Niño at the Basilica. You gave them money to dance and ask blessings from the Sto. Nino. In the Sinulog version, the dance moves two steps forward and one step backward to the sound of the drums.

Sinulog 2012

Sinulog 2012

As Sinulog nears, I remember my dad. After all, he suffered a stroke while promoting the Sinulog in California. In 2007,  I did a search for the origins of Sinulog, no word is mentioned of my dad, Jose P Lardizabal. One thing I have learned about my dad’s illness is that you know your friends at your worst times. One by one, dad’s friends forgot about him. Due to dad’s incoherent speech, he was often ignored and humiliated. I can’t blame them for the distance. There are a handful of friends who stayed behind who had compassion over a sick man. Inspite of his disability, my dad is a great man who lived a new life without his speech faculties. In my little corner of cyberspace, I want to remember dad.

sinulog 85 chairman jose lardizabal

Back in 2007, and with the help of my sister, Lorna who assisted dad during the Sinulog, I was able to piece something about dad’s last Sinulog as the overall organizer.

Dad was the chair for the Board of Judges committee — to judge the higantes and floats, starting 1981. I helped him find the judges and investigate their reputation and credibility. It is possible that the 1985 festival was the largest since it started but I do recall that even 1981 had already elbow-to-elbow crowds. I cannot remember the numbers. All I truly remember is that the 1985 model was a great organizational model.

The Sinulog Festival that started in 1980 was a modestly-managed event. David “Boy” Odilao had started this project as a competition among school-based dance troupes. 16-year old Shelley Ann Roper from Connecticut, USA, the Rotary Exchange student hosted by the Rotary Club of Cebu-West (and who was living with us in our Lahug home) who was a member of the Southwestern Dance Troupe, was acknowledged as the first American to dance in this first official celebration that had commercial appeal. Shelley certainly stood out : blonde hair, fair skin, dancing barefooted in Sinulog attire.(read more of Lorna’s comments below)

My sister graciously scanned the Sinulog 1985 souvenir program (see below). Sinulog 1985 as my dad predicted was the longest and most colorful Sinulog celebration in Cebu City since it started in 1981.

plaque of recognition to jose p lardizabal sinulog

It was a pleasant surprise that my dad received a posthumous award in ” grateful acknowledgment of his being one of the original incorporators of the Sinulog Foundation and of his wisdom and unwavering support in the institutionalization of the Sinulog Festival.”

A 2010 posthumous award given to my dad, Joe P. Lardizabal, who was one of the original Sinulog Foundation's board members (board of trustees). To the left is Ricky Ballesteros, Executive Director of the ExecCom, Sinulog 2016, and to the right is one of the original volunteers since 1981, Dolores Suzara, project director (festival director) of the Sinulog Foundation, Inc. My sister, Lorna Lardizabal-Dietz, received the award in behalf of my family

A 2010 posthumous award given to my dad, Joe P. Lardizabal, who was one of the original Sinulog Foundation’s board members (board of trustees). To the left is Ricky Ballesteros, Executive Director of the ExecCom, Sinulog 2016, and to the right is one of the original volunteers since 1981, Dolores Suzara, project director (festival director) of the Sinulog Foundation, Inc. My sister, Lorna Lardizabal-Dietz, received the award in behalf of my family

Ricky Ballesteros, Executive Director of the ExecCom, Sinulog 2016, informed my sister that he told the committee that these original board members (and other unsung heroes among the volunteers) needed to be recognized because if it wasn’t for their start-up efforts, resources, and sacrifices, the Sinulog Festival wouldn’t be what it is today.

Dad must be smiling .

smiling dad

Sinulog 1985 holds precious memories as that was the day Butch asked my dad for my hand in marriage. On that day, the two loves of my life finally got to talk for the first time. The glitters, the dances, the fancy trimmings and the pageantry are only expressions of how important Santo Niño is but for me Sinulog is a day filled with treasures of love .

Sinulog 1985 Cebu Souvenir Program, From Lorna Lardizabal Dietz’s Archives by Lorna Dietz

Noemi Lardizabal-Dado (1346 Posts)

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ gmail.com) for speaking and consultancy services in the following areas: Parenting in the Digital Age (includes pro-active parenting on cyber-bullying and bullying) ; Social Business ; Reinventing One’s Life; and social media engagement. Our parenting workshop is called "Prep to Prime (P2P): Parenting in the Digital Age (An Un­Workshop)" P2P Un­Workshops are conducted by two golden women in their prime, Noemi and Jane, who have a century’s worth of experience between them. They are both accomplished professionals who chose to become homemakers. This 180­degree turn also put them on a different life course which includes blogging, social media engagement and citizen advocacy. They call their un­workshops Prep to Prime or P2P, for short, to emphasize the breadth of their parenting experience. They tackle different aspects and issues of parenting ­­ from managing pregnancies, prepping for the school years of children, dealing with househelp, managing the household budget, to maximizing one’s prime life and staying healthy through the senior years.


About Noemi Lardizabal-Dado

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ gmail.com) for speaking and consultancy services in the following areas: Parenting in the Digital Age (includes pro-active parenting on cyber-bullying and bullying) ; Social Business ; Reinventing One’s Life; and social media engagement. Our parenting workshop is called "Prep to Prime (P2P): Parenting in the Digital Age (An Un­Workshop)" P2P Un­Workshops are conducted by two golden women in their prime, Noemi and Jane, who have a century’s worth of experience between them. They are both accomplished professionals who chose to become homemakers. This 180­degree turn also put them on a different life course which includes blogging, social media engagement and citizen advocacy. They call their un­workshops Prep to Prime or P2P, for short, to emphasize the breadth of their parenting experience. They tackle different aspects and issues of parenting ­­ from managing pregnancies, prepping for the school years of children, dealing with househelp, managing the household budget, to maximizing one’s prime life and staying healthy through the senior years.

The comments posted on my blog are moderated. I reserve the right to remove comments, words or phrases that are defamatory, abusive, incite hatred and advertise an email address or commercial services or just plain spammy. I also reserve the right to remove posts that to my opinion are off-topic, irrelevant, ad-hominem, personal attacks and or just plain rude.
  • http://www.tingog.com Nick

    The Sinulog is definitely close to me as well, being half Cebuano it always gave me great pride having the spotlight on Cebu…

    Noemi, my father suffered two strokes and succumbed to the third, it’s something that too little Filipinos realize the need for screening and knowing the signs of.. but then again, too little Filipinos have the means for quick emergency procedures needed to halt the effects of a stroke…

    my prayers for your father.. God Bless

  • http://aboutmyrecovery.com Noemi

    @Nick- ah your domain shows Cebu Pride. My dad suffered a mild stroke in California but ignored it totally. he succumbed to the ravages upon his return to Cebu.

  • http://www.RadiantView.com Lorna Dietz

    Hi, Noems! I apologize for the lateness of this entry. Do quote whatever you need from my memories.

    The Sinulog Festival that started in 1980 was a modestly-managed event. David “Boy” Odilao had started this project as a competition among school-based dance troupes. 16-year old Shelley Ann Roper from Connecticut, USA, the Rotary Exchange student hosted by the Rotary Club of Cebu-West (and who was living with us in our Lahug home) who was a member of the Southwestern Dance Troupe, was acknowledged as the first American to dance in this first official celebration that had commercial appeal. Shelley certainly stood out — blonde hair, fair skin, dancing barefooted in Sinulog attire.

    I recall the students being pumped up in performing the Sinulog. The drumbeats were infectious! We were dancing in the streets. Years later, Tom Cruise (in the Philippines, filming “Fourth of July”) was said to have danced incognito in the streets of Cebu City. I was never able to fact-check this rumor.

    Sometime ago, San Francisco-based dentist, Richard Kempis, and I were comparing notes about what we did during the first Sinulog (1980).

    It is impossible for me to forget the first time. Dad, the certified public accountant, was in charge of the board of judges for the dance competition, the “higantes,” and floats. Walking in the typical humid Cebuano sunshine, edging gingerly through the thousands of people as we escorted the judges to their judging posts, was an exercise in courage. Remember, there was no bottled water sold at that time. I do recall that people were very friendly and courteous. No mob scenes. When we finally arrived at Fort San Pedro later that day, I can remember standing behind 15-year old Sharon Cuneta backstage. I could even visualize what she was wearing: tight black lycra pants.

    Richard Kempis recalls, “Since I was a student at the Dentistry department of Southwestern University, I was delegated to first aid duty at Colon Street.” Another friend from the San Diego area, Ditas Yamane, remembers Dad. “I was in media then, working with Cris Samia. I got to work with your dad a lot!” Tetta Baad, then known as Tetta Cantos, the smart-as-a-whip Cebu Plaza Hotel executive who marketed Cebu as “An Island in the Pacific,” also reminisced about their successful 1985 sales blitz to the United States.

    The years 1984 and 1985 were significant because Cebuanos like my dad made the time to promote the Sinulog abroad. From Hongkong, Seoul, to Honolulu, Dad spent his personal funds to spread the word.

    Just before his stroke, Dad felt devastated by some newspaper accounts that unfairly accused him of going abroad on a junket trip. Whatever controversy there was, then-Mayor Duterte visited Dad in the ICU during that October 1985 and reassured Dad that he knew the true story. Dad felt vindicated by the mayor’s visit to his hospital bed.

    Noemi, Dad’s contributions in organizing the Sinulog Festival may not be recorded in history books — but those who were a part of the team during those first seven years would remember. One of my STC classmates, Daisy Zabala Mah, a Singapore-based architect, will surely have memories about her first stint as a judge for this festival (oh yes, I recommended her to the group).

    Dad was chosen specifically to be one of the Sinulog Foundation members because of his event management expertise. From the soap box derbies that the Cebu Jaycees organized — to the Rotary District and PICPA conventions he chaired, Dad had found the perfect formula for event management — and the people he wanted on his team — the ones who made things happen.

    Imagine the nostalgia I felt when I successfully coordinated the Third Global Filipino Networking Convention in Cebu a few days after the 25th Sinulog Festival in 2005. I believe that I had honored Dad’s contributions in the Sinulog through my own work.

    Cebu City — as a strong community of doers and shakers — really lucked out with civic leaders like our Dad. I am truly honored and privileged to have trained with him.

    From your darling sister,

    Lorna

  • http://www.tingog.com Nick

    Lorna and Noemi, My thanks to your Dad… I’ve always been fond of The Sinulog, and sometimes, we don’t really know what goes behind the scenes of such a big and historic celebration…

    Lorna, thank you for your accounts, it must have been an inspiration to have been in the presence of such a devoted civic leader..

    God Bless

  • http://www.RadiantView.com Lorna Lardizabal Dietz

    Noems, here’s a reply from Teresa Dosdos Ruelas, visionary of http://offeringsmagazine.com.

    From: Teresa Ruelas
    Date: Jan 18, 2007 3:26 PM
    Subject: Re: A LITTLE CEBU HISTORY: Check out the 1985 Sinulog Festival souvenir program (lots of historical information for our news archives)
    To: Lorna Dietz

    Hello, Happy New Year and Pit Senyor to you, Lorna!!!

    How wonderful to get this just before the weekend’s Sinulog activities…as I am here in Cebu (until end of the month) and will be present at Sunday’s parade/celebration. I was at the Heritage House for the opening of the Banglos exhibit (wood sculptures out of driftwood from flooded town of Banglos – “Bangon Kilos!” And was sitting beside Madame Delia Villacastin (used to be English/Art teacher in STC College) who is documenting whatever is left of the original and indigenous rituals and dances of Sinulog as lived many generations before. I kept stressing the importance of this with her. Maybe I can send her this link and we can support each part of the bigger story coming together?

    Thanks Lorna….will be thinking of your Dad and the story unfolding when I am there.

    Warm regards from our balmy breezes to you in the Bay Area!
    Teresa