Sinulog Festival Queen Candidates of 2017



Kamusta, Kia Ora, Hello. My name is Carla Mae Bito-On, I’m 20 years old and I was born in the Queen City of the South- Cebu, Philippines but I’ve been living in New Zealand for over ten years.

Currently, I am working as a full-time consultant but intend on pursuing a career in nursing. My interest in Sinulog and other cultural traditions was influenced by my family from a young age. Growing up, I admired those people who participate in the Sinulog Festivals as they not only exude grace and poise, but because they also show their devotion and faith for Sto. Niño.

This is my chance to offer my dance to Snr. Sto. Niño. I will also dance through life by making myself productive each day knowing that Sto. Niño is always there to guide me through challenges. Being a part of this competition will not only help me understand what Sinulog is about, but also how to utilize this understanding in my everyday life.

In the end, no matter what the result, you always win because He is with you on your journey to conquer your obstacles.

Viva Señor Sto. Niño! Viva Pit Señor!




Unity amidst diversity, festivals promote creativity and offer opportunities for civic pride, thus improve our psychosocial well-being.

Maayong adlaw kaninyong tanan! I am Crystle Jane Loyola, born and raised in Davao City, moved to New Zealand back in 2005. I graduated in AUT with a degree in Bachelor of Early Childhood Education.

I represent the queen of the South. Through my participation in the Sinulog Festival, it showcases our culture and tradition as well as giving praise to our Señor Santo Niño. It is an honour to be part of this event. Señor Santo Niño has a huge impact to my family. We grow up as a devotee to the holy child and supplicant for his gracious assistance may it be in times of doubts, loneliness and disappointments and or in times of being grateful, we never fail to send our heartfelt prayer.

I want to share to everyone, wherever we may be, our faith and strong devotion make us yield and make us strong as a person and as unit called FAMILY.

Pit Senyor! Viva Señor Santo Niño!




My name is Erica Soliman. I am 17 years old and have lived here in New Zealand for 10 years, originating from Manila, Philippines.

I attend St. Dominic’s Catholic College and promote the Dominican value and motto of “Veritas” – “Truth”. I consider myself as a bubbly and hardworking individual who has the motivation and determination to strive for success in all that I do. I enjoy dancing, singing, baking and the outdoors. My passion lies in going out tramping in the beautiful New Zealand bush as it allows me to connect with nature and revel in God’s works. Upon graduating high school, I plan to study at Otago University as I aspire to become a Forensic Scientist – yes, kind of like CSI.

Participating in the Sinulog Festival Queen competition has without a doubt pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me to develop into a more confident young woman as this is not only a pageant of grace, poise and personality but also an opportunity to spread our devotion and faith for Sto. Niño. Through my involvement in the Sinulog Festival as a Sinulog Festival Queen candidate, I hope to advocate happiness and gratitude in the image of our Lord, Jesus Christ, as well as be an advocate for cultural awareness for the rich and beautiful Philippine culture.

Viva Señor Santo Niño!! Pit Señor!



Born and raised in Cebu City Philippines and now a citizen of New Zealand. My name is Kimberly Tabar. 21 years of age and I am a nursing student at AUT. As a nursing student, I was taught to accept and respect the different beliefs and cultures of others.I was taught not to treat one person differently from others despite of their race and skin colour. For me, Sto Nino is no different from others. I see him as a brother, father, teacher and as a friend.

When I was still in Cebu, I would always visit Basilica del Sto Nino to ask for his guidance, for the safety of the family or friends after hearing they are currently unstable with their health, for thanking him for all the blessings he has showered upon us, and most importantly for helping and teaching me to overcome barriers in our day to day lives.

I am a Sto. Nino devotee since I was a child and growing up half of my life in Cebu, completing the Sinulog novena masses, attending the solemn processions, and witnessing the street dancing has already become a yearly routine for me along with my family.

As a Sinulog Queen Festival candidate and as a Cebuana, I am proud to represent Cebu and I am just not here to showcase the beauty of Sinulog festival to others but also to remind them that Sinulog is more than just a time for festivities and partying. The core of the feast is how we devote ourselves to Senyor Sto Nino.

To all my fellow Filipinos, let us all become one as we celebrate the special day of the miraculous Child of Jesus, Senyor Sto Nino.

Viva Pit Senyor!



Hello everyone! Maayong adlaw sa tanan! I’m Krisha Ann Nunez and I’m from Danao City Cebu. Being a pure Cebuana, it is in our culture to praise and worship the holy child Jesus- Senyor Sto. Nino. My family has a strong faith and a devotee of Senyor that I acquired for being very religious. I always look forward to the Novena which makes me goosebumps and teary eyed as the devotees wave their hands and sing the Batobalani Sa Gugma or the Gozos. The procession of the holy image that most people describe as no room for an apple to fall is also an amazing work of every devotee. The music that I usually hear on the streets during Sinulog makes me groove and feel that everybody is enjoying the festival. And also the street dancing and the dance competition is also an awaited event that added the celebration an exciting one. Lastly, the long queue to kiss and pray to the image of Senyor Sto. Nino that many devotees are longing to do. There are many reasons why a lot of people from different places in the Philippines and around the world are coming to the festival, and I’m sure the most common is to THANK our dear Sto. Nino for all the blessings and graces that he had given to us. These events are the highlights of the festival which attracts a lot of tourists in Cebu and I am very glad that the NZ- Filipino devotees made this event possible and to share how Cebuanos express their faith through this festival.

I joined the Sinulog Festival Queen to promote more religious and cultural awareness and most especially to make my faith a wellspring of mercy and compassion through the image of Senyor Sto. Nino.

Nanghinaot ko na malingaw kamu sa Sinulog dinhi sa New Zealand ug mo syagit ug kusog, Viva Senyor Sto Nino!

I’m a PROUD Cebuana!

Viva Pit Senyor!



Hi! I am Ma Nita Luz Zhao, but I love being called Lianne.

I grew up in in city of flowers, San Carlos City, Negros Occidental. I’m currently studying at Cornell Institute and Business Technology. My passion is dancing, which most positive people like me relish. As a matter of fact I love joining dance competition to exhibit my passion win or lose doesn’t matter when you do something you adore. I even joined Sinulog Street dancing in Cebu in the year 2002 up to 2004.I joined not just for my mere passion but also for my devotion of Senyor Sto. Nino in honouring his festivity.

I look at things in a positive way, thinking that the glass is half-full and not half- empty. God has taught us how to trust and have faith in him. And that is the best and what I like most about myself. I am contented to what God has given unto me. I do not regret being softhearted rather I like it the most, though some may overuse it, I am glad I have extended my hand and helped them. I am the product of my past and present, my happiness, my sacrifices, my mistakes made me into who I am now.

Joining Sinulog Queen for me take a big part of my life, why? – being a roman catholic it enhances and evolve me to become a better person inside and out. And to have a sense of achievement and a sense of fulfillment. Likewise, the excitements and memories I may encounter here are beyond measurable. And I believe dedicating myself to Senyor Sto Nino is truly a great honour. Nothing could be much more important than offering my achievements and thanking Senyor Sto Nino who is the source of all things beautiful.



Mabuhay! I’m Maria Baldaraje

I’m 18 years old. I’ve finished year 13 at Auckland Grammar Girls School and I’ll be taking Construction Engineering in AUT. I’ve been here in New Zealand for almost 2 years. I’m originally from Pasig City, Philippines. I’m an outgoing person. I really love joining pageants. When I was in the Philippines I’ve joined Miss Teen Earth Philippines and because of that, I gained confidence on joining pageants.

This is the second time I joined a Filipino Community Pageant. But this is the first time I joined the Sinulog Festival and I’m quite excited to be a part of it. I’ve never been in Cebu and maybe planning to go and learn what culture they have. This competition will also help me gain an understanding of what Sinulog Festival is all about. Being a part of this competition helps me showcase what talents I have and gives me more confidence in doing something I want and by the help of our Father God’s guidance I know I can do well. Win or lose it doesn’t matter because this is all about having fun and having experience what Sinulog Festival is.

Viva Pit Senyor!

official photos courtesy of ARNOLD VIRAY Photography