LOOK: Sinulog 2018 officially opens

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  • The weeklong Sinulog 2018 festival was formally launched Friday afternoon.

Cebu City (CNN Philippines, January 13) — This year's Sinulog 2018 festival was launched Friday afternoon at the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño.

The launch kick-started the activities leading up to January 20, the Sinulog Grand Parade, one of the biggest festivals in the Philippines.

The parade gave a glimpse of the candidates vying for this year's Sinulog Festival Queen title, as they paraded the streets on floats.

Dancers clad in elaborate and colorful costumes filled the streets as towns and cities competed for the Sinulog sa Lalawigan prize.

Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmena led the ceremonial opening of the festival at the Basilica.

Security is tight for the weeklong celebrations with thousands of policemen deployed as the city expects millions of local and foreign tourists to arrive.

The Sinulog-Santo Niño Festival is an annual religious festival held every third Sunday of January. It is held in honor of the Santo Niño de Cebú, which is believed to be miraculous.

The Department of Tourism calls it Cebu's biggest and most popular festival.