By: Leslie Ann Lagrada

Photos by: Sonnet John Llaguno

THE month of May has always been distinguished as the merry month of blooms and foliages when flowers and greeneries are profusely in full season. This natural floral occurrence coincides with the traditional celebration of Santacruzan, as Western Visayas’ prettiest lasses join the procession in their most flamboyant gowns and fineries which definitely completes the definition of the festival’s grandiosity.

Santacruzan Ciudad de Iloilo, an ostentatious, luxurious pageantry of beauties and fineries composed of thirty (30) Beauty Queen Sagalas all over Western Visayas walked the heritage stretch from San Jose Parish Church to Casa Real passing through Plaza Libertad and Calle Real on May 30 for this year’s celebration of Flores de Mayo.

Iloilo City, being the cradle of many cultural/religious structures and heritage, this event is in line with the national government of making the Western Visayas a premiere heritage tourist destination and as well as Iloilo City’s government’s efforts to thrust the city’s tourism development. Also, this is an additional cultural tourism event product to the existing activities in the city. The project was spearheaded by the Iloilo City Tourism Council, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Iloilo, and the Iloilo City Government through the Iloilo City Tourism Development office.



The Santacruzan, loosely translated as Festival of the Holy Cross, is a partly pageant, partly religious, education exercise well-marked in Filipino style.

What could be more as grandiose as various designers from Western Visayas joined forces to provide first-class quality gowns of the beauty queen sagalas joining the procession? Definitely, it becomes a grand celebration showcasing dramatically the authentic creations of Ilonggo designers. Heading the group of designers who supported this project is the Iloilo Fashion Designers Council.

The elaborately dressed queens include Reyna de las Flores, Reyna Emperatriz, and, of course, Reyna Elena, among others. The queens consistently exude elegance as they daintily display their butterfly sleeves which characterize a modern Filipiniana outfit.

Flaunting that peach pastel colored gown, this year’s Reyna Elena Ciudad de Iloilo 2018 is Miss Iloilo Dinagyang 2018Demi Patria Jainga. The floral designs did not just glamorize her look but served as a metaphor for finesse, distinctiveness, and value of the queen.

Reyna Emperatriz is Miss Iloilo Dinagyang 2017 Jeka Mae Prudente while hailed as Reyna de las Flores is Miss Teen Iloilo 2017 Patricia Beerda.

Truly, Santacruzan is a festival keenly engraved in Filipino’s heart. It may be summer’s last hurrah, but as they say, you always save the best for last.

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