Sinulog sa Jimalalud
The festival year in Negros Oriental kicks off with the Sinulog sa Jimalalud. It is also widely known as the Hambabalud Festival. According to one of the organisers, while Sinulog is the original name of the festival, the municipality named it Hambabalud festival for traditional and branding reasons. Many foreign visitors certainly will remember this tongue twister, once they mastered the correct pronunciation.
This cultural and traditional celebration is annually taken place yearly on January 13 and on the surrounding days. The Sinulog sa Jimalalud is celebrated with rhythmic dancing and moderate Latin-American steel-drum beats.
The Hambabalud Festival of the municipality of Jimalalud is always celebrated as a thanksgiving for the service of a tree nymph, who guards their most treasured and sacred tree called the Hambabalud, which is believed to be sign of God’s natural blessings to the religious people of Jimalalud.
With colorful tree-like costumes for men and radiant floral festival gowns for women, the festival creates a very pleasing sight of mother-nature with a touch of modernization. The energetic dance moves of the festival create a pattern and design as the costumes of the dancers’ sways and glide across the town’s streets. Floats and head wear are also used to entertain the thousands of spectators along the streets of Jimalalud.
In honor of their Roman Catholic patron saint, Santo Niño, the celebration of a community mass is celebrated in their community church of Jimalalud just after the Festival. After a few days of festivity from the Sinulog sa Jimalalud, an Independence Day celebration and town fiesta, or Charter Day celebration, is held to commemorate the freedom as one happy Jimalalud community.
With great cultural events and tradition, this Hambabalud tree played an important role on the daily lives of every person in Jimalalud. Whether legend or not, the Hambabalud has no doubt change the early living and culture of Jimalalud.
Other events such as Miss Jimalalud, street dancing, showdown, carnival, food booths, trade fair, cultural shoes, live bands and of course fireworks display plays an important role in making the Sinulog sa Jimalalud Festival a huge successful event, not only for the municipality, but for the whole region.