SINULOG QUEEN 2018. Shaile Mae Rebortera is the 2018 Sinulog Queen. All photos by Nathan Soriano
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Shaila Mae Del Mar Rebortera of Tribu Talisay City may not have won any of the major awards but she romped off with the most coveted title of all, as she was named as the Sinulog Festival Queen 2018, on Friday, January 19, at the Cebu City Sports Center.
“Super grateful jud kaayo ko, I’m so grateful kay Sto. Niño, and the next is sa akoang team for being here with me and telling me to just dance for Sto Niño instead of pressuring me to do other stuff, so tinuod jud so maka-ingon jud ko sa uban na salig jud,” said Rebortera.
(I am very grateful. I’m grateful to the Sto. Niño, and next to my team for being here with me and for telling me to just dance for Sto Niño instead of pressuring me to do other stuff, it’s really true, I can really tell others to just have faith.)
The newly crowned Sinulog Festival Queen 2018 had to deal with a few challenges leading up to the competition, such as examinations week, her somewhat heavy festival costume, and late night rehearsals. Her mother said her daughter had to sleep on a bench at the sports center the night before while waiting for the rain to stop so they could rehearse for the competition.
“I really felt sorry for my daughter, she was hugging the image of the Sto Niño and wouldn’t let it go even when we tried to take it from her so she could rest better,” Rebortera’s mom said.
The 21-year-old is the only daughter of a Filipino mother and a British father. She’s a 5th year Dentistry student.
Rebortera admitted that she wasn’t really expecting to win the title because she was feeling the pressure going into the competition.
She became the crowd favorite after bagging 10 of the 16 corporate awards. The crowd would shout “9,” her candidate number every time the winner of a corporate award was announced. The winners of the corporate awards were decided during the pre-judging, which was done an hour before the actual competition.
THE NEW QUEEN. Shaila Rebortera smiles at the audience after winning the competition
Rebortera's awards include Ms Casino Femme, Ms Mang Inasal, Ms Magnolia Pambansang Manok, Ms Skygo 2018, Ms Pioneer, Ms PLDT, Ms Novelino, Ms Skin Magical, Cignal’s Ms Awesome, and Ms Air Asia.
The Talisaynon beauty must have set the tone when she was named Miss Runway of the Sinulog Festival Queen 2018 Parade of Costumes and Runway competition held at the SM City Cebu Northwing Atrium on January 18.
Runner-up honors went to Mary Faith Voz Libres of Tribu Katbalaugan of Catbalugan, Leyte (first), Bianca Wilhelmina Willemsen of Carcar City of Carcar City, Cebu (second), Isabel Dalag Luche of Tribu Kandaya of Daanbantayan, Cebu (3rd) and Maerylle D. Blauta of Tribu Buyoganon of Abuyog, Leyte (4th).
Luche, whose Filipino rural life-themed costume went viral on the internet, also won the Best in Production Presentation and Best in Festival Costume awards, while the designer of her costume, Mark Barry Luche, won Best Festival Costume Designer. She was also named as the Ms Photogenic, and chosen for the Ms Grab Award and Ms McSmile.
VIRAL BEAUTY. Isabel Dalag Luche of Tribu Kandaya of Daanbantayan, Cebu clinched the Best in Festival Costume Award designed by Mark Barry Luche in the Sinulog Festival Queen 2018 competition. The costume's theme is diversity becoming unified in homage to the Sr Sto Niño
Other major awardees were Blauta for Best in Musicality, and Libres for Best in Group Presentation and Best in Solo Performance.
The rest of the corporate awards went to Willemsen as Ms Flexi Finance and Ms Lecit-E, Ma. Sonia Fate C. Cal of the Tisa Performing Arts as Ms Sky and Blauta as Ms Coca-Cola Swakto, and Ms Sinulog App Users award.
The Sinulog Festival Queen is no ordinary beauty pageant competition. It does not have a swimsuit competition or a question and answer portion, and in lieu of an evening gown competition, candidates are judged for their festival costume.
PIT SENYOR. Mary Claire Briones of Hugpong Karasikas of Barangay Santa Cruz, Cebu City performs with her contingent during the Sinulog Festival Queen 2018 coronation night at the Cebu City Sports Center
Sinulog Foundation Inc. executive director said that the Sinulog Festival Queen should embody the modern Queen Juana, the wife of Cebu’s Rajah Humabon.
The tales say that when Queen Juana received the image of the Sto Niño as a gift from Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, she started dancing because she was so overjoyed. Some say that this was the start of the Sinulog.
Thus, the Sinulog Festival Queen will be judged not on beauty alone but she must have queenly traits and dance gracefully while carrying the image of the Sto Niño. She must be able to interact well with her contingent, with the audience, and with the judges. She will also be judged on how well she can convey the Sinulog culture as she will be the ambassadress of goodwill to promote the Sinulog festival in the Philippines and in the world.
Another thing that sets the Sinulog Festival Queen apart from other beauty queens is that she must be the lead dancer of her contingent. She must dance during the Sinulog Grand Mardi Gras which, aside from the feast day itself, is the highlight and culmination of the Sinulog festivities. Otherwise, she will be stripped of her title.
REGAL IN WHITE. Bianca Wilhelmina Willemsen of Carcar City is the 2nd runner-up in the competition
The Sinulog Foundation Inc will also require her to have roots in the place that she is representing.
This is why the search for the Sinulog Festival Queen is one of the most highly anticipated activities of the Sinulog festivities.
Some of the Sinulog Festival Queens have gone on to win international beauty pageants. There is Jaime Herrell, who after becoming a Sinulog Festival Queen went on to win Miss Earth Philippines 2014 and Miss Earth 2014i. There is also Cynthia Thomalla who was named Miss Eco Tourism during the Miss World Philippines competition.
Sinulog Festival Queens have also gone on to become the Reyna ng Aliwan 6 times, including last year’s Marla Alforque. – Rappler.com