A good way to start a bright and colorful Sinulog is to thank the Lord for this wonderful yearly event. Accordingly, most devotees would flock the Basilica del Santo Nino church at dawn when the breeze is cold as they heart-thumpingly anticipate the events that will unfold in a few hours. A Pontifical Mass is celebrated as early as 4:30 in the morning. The Cardinal heads the mass along with several bishops and priests.
The annual Sinulog celebration runs for nine days. Just like the nine days preceding Christmas day, a mass is celebrated each day with its culmination ending with the Grand Sinulog Fluvial Parade.
Throughout the whole morning, mass is celebrated on the day of the Sinulog festival. But for some devotees, they prefer the mass celebrated at dawn. This is highly evident due to the fact that large crowds would congregate at the Basilica and observe mass despite its early schedule. If it was a regular Sunday, only a few would be in attendance.
The Sinulog mass is a sight to see. You can say it is a tourist attraction in itself; to see devotees join in prayer as they thank the Lord for another year. But what really makes this mass peculiar from any other Eucharistic celebrations is that devotees would release balloons to the sky.
Thousands of devotees would write their prayers and intentions on a small piece of paper. This paper, in turn, will be tied to the string of the balloon. At the officiating priest’s gesture, the balloons would be simultaneously released and flown to the sky.