Featured Stories Life! Sinulog Sinulog Festival 2019 Special Feature

The making of a Sinulog Festival Queen

The 16 candidates of Sinulog Festival Queen 2019. /Photo by Mich Padayhag

Who is your bet in this year’s Sinulog Festival Queen competition?

It will be a lovely night on January 18, Friday,  at the Cebu City Sports Center as Sinulog Festival Queen 2018 Shaila Mae Rebortera will crown her successor.

Last January 16, Wednesday, Sinulog Foundation Inc. presented 16 lovely ladies who are vying for the crown at SM Seaside City Cebu.

Victor Hao Cuenco, the artistic director of Sinulog Festival Queen,  said that what makes this year different is the press conference.

“The press conference is good baya to let the people know more about the candidates,” Cuenco told Cebu Daily News Digital before the presentation of candidates started.

Another pre-pageant activity to look forward to is the Runway Competition this evening, January 17,  at SM City Cebu where candidates are expected to wear their festival costumes.

Prizes at stake in the competition are P100,000 (Sinulog Festival Queen), P50,000 (first runner-up), P30,000 (second runner-up), P20,000 (third runner-up), P10,000 (fourth runner-up).

Now on its third year, the grand winner will also receive the “Inang Dolly” crown, a tribute to Dolly Suzara, one of the pillars of Sinulog Festival.

“Inang Dolly” is made of jade, corals, pearls, and Swarovski designed by renowned Cebuano designer Cary Santiago and executed by Mark Anthony Tenchavez, the owner of Shandar Custom Made and Accessories.

Special awards will also be given away for Miss Photogenic, Best in Production Presentation, Best in Group Presentation, Best in Instrumentation, Best in Festival Costume, Best Design (for Festival Costume), Best in Solo Presentation, Miss SM Sinulog Queen, and Best in Runway.

To know more about this year’s candidates, CDN Digital features the 16 candidates competing for the Sinulog Festival Queen 2019 crown. (Photos by EPiC Events Photography)

Mae Katya A. Taboada

Age: 24

Work: Junior Financial Analyst

Contingent: Tribu La Catuarba 3 of Sitio V. Rama

She is unique.

This was how Mae Katya A. Taboada described herself and why judges should pick her as the next Sinulog Festival Queen.

“Different ko sa others especially sa akong costume pa lang,” she said.

Taboada hinted she will be donning a comfortable costume to give her room to execute the dance routine.

“For that, I can dance and carry the image of Sto. Niño well,” she said.

Chielsey C. Fuentes

Age: 19

Course: BS Tourism

School: University of San Jose Recoletos (USJR)

Contingent: Tribu Suba-anon (Barangay Suba, Cebu City)

It is a dream come true for Chiesley C. Fuentes to be one of the Sinulog Festival Queen candidates.

“Bata pa ko, ganahan na ko maka try ani. Happy kaayo ko. Finally,  niabot ni nga time,” she said.

For her, she deserves to win the crown because she has exerted efforts to represent Tribu Suba-anon.

Sachi Bea Diez Leal 

Age: 15

School: Placer National High School

Contingent: Buyawanong Placer (Municipality of Placer and

Province of Surigao del Norte)

She felt lucky that among the beautiful women in her hometown, Sachi Bea Diez Leal was chosen to lead the Buyawanong Placer contingent.

“This is a big event and this is Cebu City,” Sachi Bea Diez Leal told CDN Digital.

Her preparations include training sessions in walking, dancing, and good posture.

“I am doing this to make my hometown and the entire province happy,” she said.

Ciairha Jenyne M. Monsanto

Age: 22

Course: BS Nursing

School: Cebu Doctor’s University

Contingent: Tribu Malipayon (Consolacion, Northern Cebu)

Rain or shine it does not matter for Ciairha Jenyn Monsanto.

Monsanto started her preparations since November 2018 and joined the dance practices with members of Tribu Malipayon.

“I think the effort that I made deserves to be recognized,” she said, when asked why she deserves the Sinulog Festival Queen 2019 crown.

Even break time at the hospital, Monsanto finds an empty room where she can practice her dance routines.

Love Ivy Gabrodino Handog

Age: 19

Course: BS Tourism

School: University of San Jose Recoletos (USJR)

Contingent: Lumad Basakanon (Barangay Basak, Cebu City)

She believes that all candidates deserve to win the Sinulog Festival 2019 crown.

But what makes Love Ivy Gabrodino Handog more deserving than other candidates is her dedication.

“I dance with all my heart,” she said.

She is happy to lead the Lumad Basakanon and this is her way to show gratitude to Santo Niño.

Phoebe T. Godinez 

Age: 19

Course: Mass Communication Major in Film Media

School: Cebu Normal University

Contingent: Talisay City

Although she is a born-again Christian, Phoebe T. Godinez believes that the essence of Sinulog Festival is to praise and worship one God which is  Jesus Christ.

“You know like Jesus Christ, he never stayed in one place and he is always going out there and making difference.  I also wanna do something like that in my own way like despite being different, participating in a huge and very well known cultural festival such as Sinulog will be a great chance to improve myself and give myself substance,” she explained why she joined Sinulog Festival Queen 20019.

Godinez is not a newbie in the pageant industry.  She has earned titles like Miss National PASUC 2018 and Binibining Toledo 2017.

Samantha Rose Parel

Age: 20

Course: Occupational Therapy

School: Cebu Doctor’s University

Contingent: Pundok sa Maampuong Cogonanon (Barangay Cogon Pardo, Cebu City)

Samantha Rose Parel’s flexibility is her key to winning the Sinulog Festival Queen 2019 title.

“I am not really into this (pageant) but I am up to new things. I took this opportunity for myself and learn new things,” she said.

She also maximized time management as she also balances school and internship.


Mary Angel Tuason

Age: 21

Course: BSED – MAPEH

School: Cebu Normal University (CNU)

Contingent: Banay Labangon (Barangay Labangon, Cebu City)

Call her rookie in the world of pageantry but Mary Angel Tuason assures that she will do her best in the competition.

“For me lang, I am not really sure kung kinsa’y makadaog. But akong prinsipyo lang ron kay I will really fight because I will really give them a good fight,” she said.

Talking about dance experience, she joined Rampada Festival in Lapu-Lapu City back in college.

“Akong preparation lang gyud is paso paso kay lahi man ang pageantry sa ong world namo na mag sayaw sayaw sauna and so on,” she said.

Chloee Boton Boone

Age: 18

Grade: Senior High School

School: Colegio San Jose de Alaminos

Contingent: Tribu Higaonon sa San Nicolas Proper (Barangay San Nicolas, Cebu City)

Last year, Chloe Boton Boone played with paints, enjoyed the night parties, and met a lot friends at the Sinulog parade route.

This time, it is totally different for her. Boone will be dancing for Tribu Higaonon sa San Nicolas Proper.

“When this (Sinulog Festival Queen) was offered, I grabbed the opportunity. This is my dream,” she said.

For her, all the candidates have own advantages and weaknesses.

“We give effort and hard work. Depende na lang sa mga judges kung kaning hard work ang nag shine and kaninong hard work nakita nila,” she said.

Teresa Benita Roma

Age: 23


School: University of Cebu

Contingent: Pundok Nagkahiusang Day-asanun sa Sugbu (Barangay Day-as, Cebu City)

Wearing eight-inch heels is challenging for Teresa Benita Roma.

“Akong nahaguan ron ang pag wear og high heels. It’s eight inches. Need gyud siya og practice. Para nako mao na ang struggle,” she said.

But why she should be the next Sinulog Festival Queen?

“Akong nabuhat ang mga dapat buhaton para ma ready ko,” Roma added.


Niña Blytheg Boniel 

Age: 14

School: Abellana National High School

Contingent: Tribu Mabolokon (Barangay Mabolo, Cebu City)

Based on the official roster, Nina Blytheg Boniel is the youngest candidate.

She might be a little nervous but she promised to do her best to win the crown.

“Kahibalo ko mosayaw unya confident sad ko,”  Boniel talked about her strengths.

Just like other candidates, Boniel’s preparation in the competition is to gracefully walk and dance.



Chery Mae Geraldez

Age: 20

Course: BSBA-Marketing

School: University of San Jose Recoletos (USJR)

Contingent: Barangay Inayawan Talent’s Guild Cultural Dance (Barangay Inayawan, Cebu City)

She is spiritually, mentally, and physically prepared.

These are the reasons she enumerated why judges should choose her to be the next  Sinulog Festival Queen.

“I am devoted to Señor Sto Nino. This is my halad,” Geraldez answered when asked why she joined the pageant.

If others are too focused on their walk and dance, Geraldez also prepares herself with having enough sleep and eating good food.

Nicole Yance Borromeo

Age: 18

Course: Senior High School

School: Cebu Doctor’s University

Contingent: Carcar City

Her training started last December. She lifted weights and did bicycle crunch.

This is how Miss Silka Cebu 2017 and Carcar City’s lead dancer Nicole Yance Borrome prepared for this pageant.

“I also got advice to treat Sto. Niño not as a prop but I and Sto. Niño are connected,” she told CDN Digital.

Borromeo hopes that her personality and belief will make her win the crown.

Sapphire Doble Garton

Age: 17

School: University of Cebu

Contingent: Tribu Kandaya (Daanbantayan)

Saphire Doble Garton wants to win the crown because she wants to promote advocacy which is equality.

“God created us all. He wants to love and respect each other,” she said.

At first, there was self-doubt if she could represent her hometown since there would always be pressure to perform in front of everyone.

“But I thought how I can express my love for Sto. Niño,” she said.


Mary Jae Therese Abellana Felizarta 

Age: 18

School: High school graduate at Green Hope High School

Contingent: Mambaling Performing Arts (Barangay Mambaling, Cebu City)

After Binibining Cebu 2018, Mary Jay Therese Abellana Felizaeta tries her luck and this time in Sinulog Festival Queen 2019 pageant.

“I have the work ethic and I am just here ready to sacrifice myself and offer myself to the Lord and that is Sinulog Festival is all about,” she said.

Her preparations also include long practices which start from 7 p.m. and ends at 3 a.m.



Marie Kristine Agibal 

Age: 23

Course: BS-HRM

School: University of Cebu

Contingent: Hugpong Kabatan-onan Mananayaw sa Sapangdaku (Barangay Sapangdaku, Cebu City)

Just like other pageant enthusiasts, Marie Kristine Agibal promotes equality as she joins Sinulog Festival Queen 2019.

“We have to accept everyone. Dapat sad wala’y negativity and magkahiusa ta,” she said.

Sinulog Festival Queen 2019 is her pageant and she hopes the judges will look for a beauty with a heart which she all has.


TAGS: 2019, festival, making, Queen, Sinulog Festival
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