The search for Sinulog Festival Queen 2023 continued as 11 contestants wowed Cebuanos with their big, lavish gowns during the Parade of Costumes and Runway Competition at SM Seaside City Cebu on Jan. 9.

While the Coronation Night will still be on Jan. 13, Talisay’s festival queen contestant stood out the most, bagging the titular “Best in Runway” and two more special awards which were “AweSM Sinulog Festival Queen” and “Miss Listo Ganado.”

“It felt very overwhelming and I was very surprised that the judges saw me while I was performing. I also feel very blessed and I thank Sto. Niño for guiding me,” Kiara Liane Wellington said in an interview.

Wellington dazzled in a pastel pink ensemble with gold-plated embellishments looped around her skirt. The blue and silver rays she carried as her backpiece gave more glow to her radiance as well.

“The inspiration was Mother Mary for Sto. Niño,” Wellington answered.

Meanwhile, the second runner-up was Toledo City’s Amor Beah Singh and the first runner-up was San Nicolas Proper’s Angel Myrna Theia Layam.

The event generally showcased a visual spectacle that wedded Cebuanos’ love for fashion and their deep devotion to the child Jesus, Sto. Niño.

Aside from that, Sinulog Festival Queen 2021 Dixie Lee Oca from Barangay Subangdaku also graced the stage for her final walk before the new festival queen will be crowned on Jan. 13.

Executive director of Sinulog Foundation Inc. Elmer Labella, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, first lady Malou Rama, Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia, second lady Kate Garcia and City Councilor Donaldo Hontiveros unveiled the new and official Sinulog Festival Queen 2023 crown designed by Rhodel M. De Silva.

“The crown named ‘Viva’ is a sight of magnificence and elegance that shall be worn by a worthy queen” said the Sinulog Foundation Inc. in a statement.

The success of the night with the contestants sashaying down the runway of this year’s Sinulog Festival Queen competition has truly and elaborately marked the return of the grandest cultural and religious celebration. Its grandiose show of culture was just one of the many major events awaiting the religious celebration of the Sinulog Festival.

Prior to the competition, Mayor Rama, who is also the overall chairman of the Sinulog Foundation Inc., attended the event and stated his confidence in the Sinulog’s success.

“Let’s see each other on Sunday, don’t be part of the skeptics and non-believers, we will make it happen: One Cebu Island Sinulog 2023 in SRP,” Rama said in his speech.