Cebu City to hold first Red Lantern Festival

THE Cebu City Tourism Commission (CCTC) is set to hold the first Red Lantern Festival in Cebu City on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023, at the Plaza Sugbo along Magallanes St. in celebration of the Chinese New Year.

The festival, to be held a day before Chinese New Year, aims to educate the public on the city’s history with the Chinese-Cebuano community, City Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera, who chairs the CCTC, said in a press conference Friday, Jan. 20.

“We will be having a video of the history of our relations with China, as well as history of our Chinese museums, and then we will also have our Chinese New Year forecast,” said Pesquera.

Activities lined up for the event include the opening of the Sugbu Chinese Heritage Museum to the public from 2 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, free of charge. Dragon dances will also be performed along Magallanes St.

Spotters will also be deployed in the area to check for the guests with the best Chinese attire known as the “cheongsam.” The evaluators will select the top eight. Eventually, the best dressed will receive a P10,000 cash prize.

City Councilor Joel Garganera said though the Chinese New Year celebration this year will be celebrated throughout the city, the Red Lantern Festival will serve as its main event.

Pesquera envisions the Red Lantern Festival as a step toward holding the same event in the following years so there will be no lull in terms of tourism year-round.

“We will make our tourism here vibrant. We will make our tourism exciting. So people even if they cannot come during the Sinulog, during the New Year, there are so many other months that they expect to be fun,” Pesquera said.

Admission to the festival is free.

Road closures

Due to the festival, the Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) said it will implement road closures in the city’s downtown area.

The CCTO said it will close the whole stretch of Magallanes St. from 2 to 9 p.m. since the festival will be held there. Jakosalem St. will also be closed as well.

The CCTO will conduct rerouting on Osmeña Boulevard, M.C. Briones St. and M.L. Quezon St.

“We have signage prepared and railings to be installed. We will be expecting moderate to heavy traffic. There will be so many people watching this because this is the first ever Chinese New Year (celebration) to be held,” said CCTO traffic operations officer 1 Julius Salcedo. (Eiver Ky Villegas, USJ-R intern)