“Lami kaayo to,” an excited Lory Mer Villareal exclaimed on the day after he danced as Teresin Mendezona’s escort during the finale of the Sinulog 2010 parade at the Cebu City Sports Complex.

Of course, Villareal meant the construction of the dress his partner wore, which was another haute couture signature by Philip Rodriguez. (Apologies, but in a pool of fashion designers, language isn’t the same as how the rest of us perceives it to be.)

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“She wore a plum mestiza gown with an overlay of soft tulle, intricate pattern of beadwork, using rhinestones and cut beads in gold. I don’t want to sound biased because I was her partner, but I think she stood out that night,” continued Villareal, a fashion designer and stylist who appeared on the fashion reality television show, “Project Runway Philippines Season One.”

Among the ladies who performed along with Cebu City First Lady Margot Osmeña, dubbed the Carnival Queen, were Kris Janson who was youthful in floral beadwork and Carmen Campbell who kept her elegance in a fully embroidered dress.

Maria Lester Ybañez, on the other hand, enjoyed the jersey gown detailed with chiffon draperies on the bust, extending to the back that also appeared as a strip of train.

Then there was jeweler Amparito Lhuillier in an ash evening dress—the glitter gave us a clue on how she enjoyed the performance, the spotlight, and the applause.

But hours before these society ladies closed the parade, the festival queens—usually the female lead dancer who carries the image of the Sto, Niño de Cebu—had already showcased another definition of fashion on the streets: the more, the merrier.

In other words, add some more, and she’d be the queen of the tribe.

Take for example Sheila Paulino, Masbate’s festival queen, who opted for a gold lame bodysuit with tattoo-resembling patterns.

It was quite a strategy, indeed. Since the emphasis was on hand movements, a fan-like accessory was attached on her back designed with feathers, sequins, and stones.

But could it match the glittering accents that Lota Correos, festival queen of Lanao del Norte, sewed herself? Perhaps not, but anyway, the beauty lies on each designer’s interpretation.

“The festival queen costume depends on the storyline of the festival. She is representing (as) the queen of the tribe, (who) must embrace the history, the culture, and the thrust of the festival, being evident in the costume she wears.

“She must be full of enthusiasm, and the costume is the aesthetic representation of it,” comments Joseph Navales, a fashion designer who has worked with several Sinulog contingents.