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More than a month before the Sinulog 2013 celebration, the Cebu City government already started its preparation for the Devotee City 2013.

The essence of Devotee City continuously grows and given importance by the city government since its conception decades ago. This is a concrete example of the Cebuano's hospitality as the cost of the inns, hotels, and lodging houses is beyond the means of the ordinary Juan and Juana who want to celebrate and be with our dear Santo Niño for the Sinulog festival.

It originated as a Tent city placed at the Plaza Independencia and later it was transferred beside the Campaña Maritima. For years, the Campaña Maritima has been utilized as a mess hall during meal times as there will also be a kitchen area for those who want to cook their food and though some private individuals will also donate ready-to-eat foods as observed in the previous years.

The Devotee City 2013 will be once again chaired by Cebu City Councilor Roberto Bob Cabarrubias. The councilor already called the first meeting last week with all concerned people for the preparation of the annual city government program. The group conducted a debriefing and shared concerns that will be improve next year and prioritizing safety, sanitation and basic comfort for everyone.

The stakeholders also shared to have the same amenities such as free wireless fidelity (Wi-fi) connection and other services that will be provided to the devotees.

Devotees can expect a more systematic Devotee City with its easy admission, first-come first-serve basis and giving priority to those coming from outside Cebu City like those who come beyond Danao and Carcar Cities and other provinces. Same as last year, those aiming to be accommodated needs to present a bus or boat tickets and any identification card to attest that they are officially a non- resident of Cebu City and immediately proceed to the registration area.

The admitted devotee will get an official identification card with corresponding numbers to be used in private company-sponsored raffle draws, then they will be assigned to a certain van usually comprised of 3-5 families each.

It started with around 300 devotees in 1996, and now it reached to thousands as years pass by.

Not only are those coming from far places but also Cebu City street dwellers are given importance same as last year. Worthy and cause-oriented activities will also be integrated such as formal opening program, children's party, raffle draws, film-showing, a Holy Mass and confession.

(By Greggy Jiggs P. Senados - PIO STAFF)

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