Tangub City’s Sinanduloy Cultural Troupe wows the crowd with spectacular performances year after year at the Sinulog Grand Parade.
I first witnessed them perform in 2007. They eventually clinched the Best in Street Dancing award and the first place in the Sinulog-based category.
My then senior reporter, Doris Bongcac, (currently CDN’s central desk supervisor), was the first person to introduce me to the magnificence of the troupe.
It was her vivid stories of each contingent’s performance that influenced me to look forward to the Sinulog Grand Parade.
In the succeeding years of covering the grand parade, I learned that then Mayor Jennifer Wee-Tan was Miss Cebu City Tourism 1986 and Jojin Pascual, who was chairperson of the University of San Carlos’ Department of History, is the artistic director.
Aside from these details, I know nothing else about Tangub. I was curious to know more but never found the time to visit.
Last week, in the middle of the celebration of Cebu Press Freedom Week, I received an invitation to serve as judge in the — wait for it — the Miss Tangub City Tourism 2018. CDN contributing fashion editor Clint Potestas was also one of the seven judges.
I have previously written about myself being a pageant junkie and being invited to participate in a beauty pageant as a judge was too exciting of an opportunity to pass.
The Philippine Airlines’ flight from Cebu to Ozamiz was delayed for three hours.
We were able to land safely in shortly before noon time.
I was dead tired but there were two women who welcomed me and another judge, Cebu-based designer Angela Dado, with yellow leis and a statement I was waiting for them to say: “We are going straight to lunch.”
It was 25-minute drive from Ozamiz to Tangub and as we devoured platefuls of crabs and shrimps, I took in the positive vibes of the people and the subdivision-feel of the city.
Several buildings were constructed in some parts of the city but the poblacion area was free from cement and debris.
Trees lined up the streets and there is a progressive, rural feel in the air.
We were checked in our pension house and were given close to two hours to rest as the casual interview portion, part of the pre-pageant activities, will happen at 4 p.m. on the same day.
I was introduced first to Vice Mayor Edemar Alota who was hands-on in the entire pageant operations.
I have never seen a vice mayor going around the city with a folder and a checklist of things.
On pageant night, Mayor Philip Tan and First Lady Jennifer Wee-Tan showed us what a city can do if you mix supportive local government officials, passionate show director that is Jojin Pascual and locals who truly espouse pride of place.
The production quality of the show is world class.
The 15 candidates — although still have a long way to go in the question and answer arena — are all standouts in catwalk and projection.
I was told a team from Cebu flew to Tangub to train the girls.
The candidates wore playsuits — no swimsuits — and it turned out to be sexy and classy.
Beside me that night was Director Marie Elaine Unchuan, who leads the Department of Tourism Northern Mindanao.
She was also given the task to be the pageant’s chair of the board of the judges.
We were joined by three celebrity judges — model Marx Topacio, Miss Silka Philippines 2015 Kimberly Weber and Miss Earth Philippines 2018 Silvia Celeste Cortesi — and at some point, actor Tom Rodriguez sang for the crowd and the candidates sent a wave of insanity to 89% of the crowd.
Behind me were the men and women of the City Council, who were dressed to perfection.
We ranked our preferences using a computerized system with the able assistance of the staff.
It was clear to me that night why Mr. Jojin Pascual left Cebu to embrace Tangub City as his second home.
Its local government is composed of leaders, who advocate for culture and heritage promotion and preservation; a city that did not leave behind the treasures of the past to accommodate future developments.
This is a city whose citizens work together to uplift each other.
I believe this is the reason why the Sinanduloy Cultural Dance Troupe remains to be one of the best, if not the best, performers of the country.
I left Tangub on a Monday morning, less than 24 hours since I set off in the city, with a promise to come back.
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