About 12 candidates from all over Cebu vying for the Sinulog Festival Queen crown will star in a parade of costumes along the runway at the SM City Cebu’s Northwing Atrium at 6 p.m. today.
One of the 12 candidates, Isabel Luche of Daanbantayan, drew raves from social media after a photo of her in native costume went viral. The costume is decked with designs of the “bahay kubo” or native hut, coconut trees and green fields.
Luche represents the Tribu Kandaya contingent of Daanbantayan.
A photo of Luche taken by netizen Shanikka Compuesto was posted at the Cebu Daily News Facebook page and drew 17,000 likes and 6,200 shares as of 6 p.m. yesterday.
Sinulog Foundation Executive Director Ricky Ballesteros said this year’s Festival Queen should represent the modern Queen Juana — the wife of the local chieftain Rajah Humabon.
“It is not a typical beauty pageant. It has something to do with the dancing, the performance, the culture and the arts. The Sinulog Festival Queen is the icon of the Sinulog,” he said.
Ballesteros said Cebuana beauties always stood out in a national beauty pageant as shown in the Aliwan Festival Queen.
“For nine years that we’ve been joining the Festival Queen, seven are (hailed as) the Aliwan Festival Queen, while the two are on the runners up. Wala pa gyod ta kasuway nga pildi (We have not yet lose in that competition),” he said.
One of the youngest contenders in the Sinulog Festival Queen pageant is Jewel Alexei Image of Pundok Maampuong, Barangay Tisa in Cebu City.
She said it’s a challenge balancing school and rehearsals for the event.
“Through these challenges, I know I will learn more. I have to overcome it and motivate myself, so that I can perform well and give my best,” the 16-year-old Grade 10 student said.
This year’s Festival Queen will receive P100,000 cash prize, and special awards including Best Solo Performer, Best in Production, and Best in Musicality.
“We choose judges from the best of the field of culture and arts. No Cebuano will sit as a judge,” Ballesteros said, adding that they invited judges from Manila, South Korea and the US to evaluate the contestants.