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All is set for today's Sinulog Grand Parade that starts at 9 a.m., rain or shine. By 7 a.m., all roads along the carousel route will be closed to traffic.

At least 140 contingents will dance their way to the Cebu City Sports Center, whose center stage has been transformed into a Chinese-inspired pagoda of red and yellow, following this year's theme of “Sino-Sugbo.”

President Benigno Aquino III is scheduled to deliver a speech at 10 a.m. and watch some of the performances, all competing for awards including the Best Sinulog-based Dancing or Free Interpretation.

The final performances, covered live by TV stations, will be made in the 13,000-capacity sports center with a growing audience around the country and among Cebuanos abroad following the contest on the Internet. Judges, however, require Sinulog dance contingents to show their full routine on the street for the public to fully appreciate the dancing.

The weather bureau forecast cloudy skies and some rain today, prompting advice for spectators to bring umbrellas and water-proof gear. Organizers are expecting a full stadium with all tickets sold out as of Friday. By 6 a.m. gates will be open for early spectators.

The parade will be preceded by a Mass at 8 a.m. celebrated by newly installed Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, who will be coming from the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño where he officiates a 6 a.m. Pontifical Mass for the feast day of Cebu's patron.

In the morning, the center stage will be styled as a Chinese garden. At night, it will look like a temple with a small lake with lotus flowers and pyrotechnic surprises.

The parade for Sinulog 2011 has the longest lineup in recent years. At least 143 groups—dance contingents, higantes, floats and pupetteers will be on the streets, compared with 133 in 2010, and 112 in 2009, 137 in 2008 and 121 in 2007. This year's increase was seen in entries for Free Interpretation dancing and puppetteers.