Borongan beauty is Sinulog Festival Queen 2020
Vanessa Balbuena (The Freeman) - January 19, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Going up against experienced performers and at least one well-applauded ballerina, Monika Afable of Borongan City, Eastern Samar’s Tribu Rayhak said she struggled during training since she wasn’t a dancer to begin with.

“At ako yung pinakabata, so nag step by step ako para matuto ng dance,” the five-foot-four mestiza told The FREEMAN. “And inalay ko lang talaga lahat ng ginagawa ko kay Señor Sto. Niño. This is for the Sto. Niño so I really did my best.”

The newly crowned Sinulog Festival Queen bested 10 other contenders for the title during the finals held Friday evening at the Cebu City Sports Center.

She was selected Miss Mega Sardines, Miss Mang Inasal, Miss Tender Juicy, Miss McDonalds, Robinsons Galleria Cebu Festival Queen and Best in Runway.

Aside from her P150,000 cash prize as Sinulog Festival Queen 2020, she was also given a Driptea franchise worth P280,000 and will be the brand’s ambassador for an entire year.

Afable, a 17-year-old Miss Borongan title-holder, is a Grade 11 student at Eastern Samar National Comprehensive High School who plans to study Accounting in college.

Like last year’s winner, she will automatically represent Cebu in Eat Bulaga’s Miss Millennial Philippines 2020 pageant (“I’m very excited”), which in the past two years have been won by Sinulog Festival Queens Shaila Rebortera (2018) and Nicole Borromeo (2019).

Finishing first runner-up was another award-hauler, Jesselle Saniel of Talisay City’s Inasal Festival. The 23-year-old Tourism student at the University of San Jose-Recoletos was selected Best in Opening Production Number, Miss Pioneer Adhesive, Miss Toughest Queen, Miss Shell Advance, and Miss Magnolia.

Saniel has previously won as Pasigarbo sa Sugbo Festival Queen 2019 second runner-up, Miss Mandaue 2019 second runner-up and Miss City of Talisay 2018.

Second runner-up is Carcar City’s Jane Darren Genobisa, a 22-year-old Literature major at the University of Southern Philippines. The Binibining Pilipinas 2019 finalist was also named Miss AirAsia, Best Festival Costume designed by John Aldo Loquinario and Best Solo Performer.

Sabrina Ruth Bogard, a 21-year-old Marketing student at the University of San Carlos, and representative of Barangay Labangon’s Banay Labangon is third runner-up and Best in Runway first runner-up. Her group also won for Best in Instrumentation/Musicality and Best in Group Presentation.

Completing this year’s court is Nutrition Dietetics student Nathalie Shaw of Tribu Maampoong Cambihanon of Barangay Cambinocot as fourth runner-up.

They received P100,000, P50,000, P30,000, and P20,000, respectively.

Other awardees were Beverly Binghay of Tribu Pinta Flores, San Carlos City, Negros Occidental as Miss Photogenic, Miss PLDT, Miss Face of the Night and Miss Phoenix Super LPG; Shelah Faye Juntilla of Sinanduloy Cultural Dance Troup of Tangub City as Miss Friendship; Catherine Tabaniag of Kulturang Panglaoanon of Panglao Bohol as Miss Smart Communications, Miss Cignal, Miss Coca Cola and Best in Runway second runner-up.

Judging this year’s pageant were Cary Santiago, “Eat Bulaga” host Paolo Ballesteros, Hwang Woon Ki, Annie Divinagracia Sartorio, John Herrera, Shaila Rebortera (Sinulog Festival Queen 2018, Reyna ng Aliwan 2018 second runner-up and Miss Millennial Philippines 2018), Angie Louie, Nestor Jardin, and Al Ryan Alejandre.

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