Photos by: J & R Digital Family Studio

THE GLITTERING and flamboyant grand coronation night of this year’s Iloilo Festival Queen and Hiyas sang Iloilo Beauty Pageant at the sprawling Fountain Area of Robinsons Place Iloilo concluded last Wednesday.

Romping away with the Iloilo Festival Queen title is 16-year-old stunner Rijene Apryl Marie Ayupan of Sta. Isabel International School, while 19-year -old Diseree Grace Paranpan of West Visayas State University was adjudged this year’s Hiyas Sang Iloilo.

In addition, Queen Rijene was named Miss Kapuso, a special award given by GMA 6 Iloilo. She also won the Miss photogenic, Miss Shoe-up and Best in Production Number special awards. While Hiyas Sang Iloilo Diseree Grace got the Miss Close-up and Best in Swimsuit awards.

Coming close is 1st runner-up and Best in Festival Costume awardee 18-year-old Jenny Rose Victoria of West Visayas State University, followed by 2nd runner-up and best in gown awardee Gweyn Policarpio also of WVSU. University of Iloilo’s 19-year-old Cherry Ann Panes is third runner-up.

Other candidates who did not make it to the top five but took home special corporate awards are Miss Ponds Lady Ann Dunlao, Miss Sunsilk Joy Lynne Yap, Miss Talent Beverly Saraza and Miss Friendship Ruffa Mae Marterior.

The members of the board of judges were GMA6 Iloilo Station Manager Jonathan Cabillon, Iloilo City  Administrator Norlito Bautista, PCSO Chief Operating Officer for Visayas and Mindanao Jeanette Oberio, businesswoman Amy Aguillon of F& E Enterprises, Vice President of United Medical Corporation Putli Fuerte, jetsetter businesswoman Hazel Buaron of Filscandia Manpower and Recruitment Services, Jun Tuangja of Globe Telecom, philanthropist socialite Dolly Chua of J&R Digital Family Studio, fashion designer Nic-Nic Manderico, AMA Computer Learning Center school director Ben Silayro, Leocel Gallenero ,  topnotch lawyer Dwight Trasadas, Iloilo Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Joeboy Agriam of Cream Magazine and Renew Placenta’s honcho Jugie Contreras.

Adding glam to the event was the much awaited serenade of Kapuso celebrity RnB King Jay–R who performed his two romantic songs before a jampack crowd that cool evening.

Iloilo Festival Queen and Hiyas sg Iloilo is spearheaded annually by Director/Choreographer Eddie Juatas, Artistic Director/CEO Zedrick Señeres and Stage Manager Roland Cabrera.

This year’s pageant was hosted by Kapuso’s Jason Gregorio and Kate Chavez.

Iloilo Province first lady Cosette Defensor did the honors of crowning the winners.


Henry’s presents Grand Wine Romance on February 14

WHILE EVERYBODY is high on its celebration of the Dinagyang Festival, Iloilo’s wine haven, Henry’s MJCJ Wines & Liquors is on the go in its preparation to host the Grand Wine Romance this Valentine’s Day. This will be the best ever treat one can offer to a love one in celebrating the day of love in the most special and memorable day.

The Grand Wine Romance will be a parade of some wines around the world and best cuisines from two of the sought after chefs in Iloilo.  This will be a dinner buffet and drink all you can wine, beer and mixed drinks to be held at the Amigo Plaza Mall’s activity center which will kick off at 7:30PM till 12MN.

The mall’s activity center will be transformed into a romantic fine dining, starry eyed and in glistening color of love.

Guests will be entertained with songs that touch the hearts, a live performance from famous violinist John Lesaca and will be capped with dancing. It will certainly be a night of romance, fun and excitement.  Book your seat now. Please call 3382838, 5085858, 3011168 and 3333788 for details.

The event is organized by TMX, your travel and marketing experts.



Text and Photos by: Henrylito D. Tacio

CAGAYAN de Oro City, the gateway of northern Mindanao, is dubbed as the “adventure capital” in the Philippines.  After all, it is home to the most scenic and exhilarating whitewater rafting in the country.

The Kagay-anons, as the people from the city are called, are some of the friendliest folks around. In fact, the city is one of the more colorful ground zero for the many cultures in the Philippines where Christians, Catholics, Muslims, foreigners and various mestizos in equal concentrations.

As for the peace and order situation in the city, one journalist commented: “Despite its close proximity to the more notoriously turbulent areas of the Philippines, Cagayan de Oro maintains a relatively tension-free environment where one can usually safely walk the streets, taho vendors sing in the streets, and almost everybody closes up shop after ten or eleven in the evening, with a few exceptions.”

Recently, a group of journalists from Manila came to visit the city.  On their second day, after doing the strenuous interviews here and there, they decided to make their rest and relaxation.

The whitewater rafting adventure was not on the list.  But the group wanted to experience something thrilling. So off they went to Macahambus Gorge and Adventure Park in barangay Lumbia, some 25 minutes from the hotel where they were staying.

“We designed this place as an alternative destination to extreme sports enthusiasts,” says Chisum Factura, the park’s operation manager.  “We give our visitors a chance to test the limits of their nerves.”

The sky bridge alone is enough to give agoraphobic people panic attack. Its zipline – a hanging slide of more than a hundred feet of high-tension cables strung up a hundred and fifty feet from the bottom of the Macahambus ravine – gives a guest an experience of a lifetime.

Multi-awarded Imelda Abano, who headed the group, almost wanted to return to where she started when she was at the middle of the sky bridge, a canopy walk which runs for 135 meters across a height of 150 feet.  “I was terrified by the height,” she said.

Imagine immersing yourself in the full glory of nature, walking in the midst of gigantic century-old trees and swinging from the top of an enormous gorge, nothing between you and the ground except hundreds of feet of air, giving you a different perspective of the majestic Macahambus gorge.

Those looking for more adventure, they can take a crack at rappelling down the gorge.  It is about 180 steps going down.  “Experience the thrill of slowly making your way down into the forest floor and looking up to the canopy of trees from a totally new perspective,” the 39-year-old Factura says.

For that ultimate, heart-pounding, adrenaline-laced thrill, try the 120-meter zipline.  “The rush of hanging from a heavy-duty cable at a height of 150 feet is incomparable,” says Factura, “but sliding through the same cable across the two edges of a gorge is nothing short of exhilarating.”

To experience this different kind of adventure is not expensive.  To take the sky bridge and zipline, the charge is only P300.  If rappelling is included, all you have to do is add P200.  But if only rappelling is your interest, you have to pay P500.

Just a few steps from the adventure park is the historical Macahambus Cave, the last stronghold of Filipino soldiers during their battle against the Americans in 1900.  Despite the cave’s large opening, its interior is very dark so a flashlight is needed to navigate the numerous paths, one of which leads to a promontory with a view of the Cagayan de Oro River.

Both the Macahambus Cave and the Macahambus Gorge and Adventure Park are located at the Carmen Hill, a sprawling mini-mountain with impressive scenery and natural formations.  It is about ten minutes from the Lumbia Airport, also known as Cagayan de Oro Airport.

Philippine Airlines runs daily flights from Manila to Cagayan de Oro.  Cebu Pacific and Air Philippines has also the same route.  Zest Airways offers budget rates.

There is an overnight trip by sea from Cebu to Cagayan de Oro.  Boat trips from Manila to Cagayan de Oro take a travel time of about 28 to 30 hours.

By land, several bus companies ply their routes to Cagayan de Oro from all points in Mindanao: Rural Transit, Bachelor Express, Super 5, and LCI.

Within the city, it is easy to catch a bus, jeepney, multi-cab or pedicab. White and yellow metered taxis and car rentals are also available. A bit of warning: Do not agree to a flat-rate taxi fare unless you want to pay triple the meter rate. Only agree on meter only fares except for an airport or late-night pick up.