The traditional Sangyaw Festival of Tacloban City made a grand comeback after two years of hiatus following the devastation of Super Typhoon Yolanda in 2013 that killed thousands and destroyed millions worth of property.
More than 5,000 Taclobanons filled the Astrodome last weekend to witness the beauty pageant and celebrate the fiesta. This is the same venue where people sought refuge in November 2013 as Yolanda pounded the province. At least 30 people died inside the Astrodome because of the storm surge brought by the typhoon.
“The return of this year’s grand Sangyaw Festival is a celebration of the resilience and recovery of the people after the typhoon,” said actress-turned-public servant Cristina Gonzales-Romualdez, who is currently a Tacloban City councilor.
She informed The Manila Times that Sangyaw is held in Tacloban to honor the Child Jesus. This year, the celebration also featured different activities under the leadership of Romualdez who was formerly known in showbiz as “Kring Kring,” and one of actor Jose Mari Gonzales’ lovely daughters.
The Grand Parade of Lights took place on June 29 and was attended by thousands of local and international tourists, for example, which also featured a competition for the best “style and symbolism of worship” to the Child Jesus.
Exciting concerts featuring Jaya, Pokwang, Chokoleit and Michael Pangilinan, and Rocksteddy also took turns entertaining the Taclobanons and their guests throughout the fiesta weekend.
The Miss Tacloban Pageant capped the celebrations with town beauty Reena Vivienne Pineda winning the crown. Pineda also bagged the People’s Choice Award, Best in Swimwear, Miss Talent, Best in Production number and Best in Philippine Terno.
“Resilience is seeing Taclobanons with their smiles back on their faces again. It is about standing here again in the Astrodome celebrating life after Haiyan,” said the 18-year-old student of the Asian Development Foundation College.