Ayanna Angela Espino(center) of Barangy. 35- Pampango was crowned this year’s Reyna Elena during the May 30 Grand Santacruzan. (CIO)

TACLOBAN CITY – To mark the culmination of the month-long observance of Flores de Mayo in the city, at least 9 barangay contingents participated in the Annual Grand Santacruzan of the city government on May 30.
The iconic Filipino tradition that commemorates the search of the Holy Cross by Reyna Elena and her son, Emperor Constantine was organized by the City Government under Mayor Cristina G. Romualdez to highlight the religious fervor and intimate devotion of Taclobanons to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Holy Cross.
A procession of sagalas (beautiful maidens) and elaborately-decorated arches adorned with flowers and children donning angel costumes was the main attraction of the late afternoon event.
The highlight of the festivities was the crowning of the 2019 Reyna Elena and the announcement of the Best Barangay Contingent and other special awards at the Balyu-an Amphitheater. The winners received trophies, sash, and cash prizes.
Ayanna Angela Espino of Brgy. 35- Pampango was crowned Reyna Elena 2019 and received a cash prize of P 10,000.
First runner-up Donnelyn Kate Espadilla of Barangay 96 Calanipawan received P 8,000 and, while second runner-up Mary Rose Ricafort of Brgy. 31 Pampango got P 5,000.
The grand champion honors went to Barangay 37 Reclamation Area which received P 60,000 cash prize; 1st runner up was Brgy. 35- A Pampango which won P 40,000 and Brgy. 65 Paseo de Legaspi won 2nd runner up and got P 25,000 cash prize.
Third and fourth runners up were Barangay 43-B Quarry District and Brgy. 96 Calanipawan which got P20,000 and P15,000, respectively.
Consolation prizes of P 6,000 were given to the remaining barangays.
Special awardees were Brgy. 99 Mercyville Diit for most disciplined barangay, Brgy. 37 Reclamation Area for the Most Participated Barangay, the best arch award went to Brgy. 35-A Pampango Anibong and Brgy. 37 Reclamation Area for the Best Lantern Award. The special awardees each received cash prizes.
According to the City Tourism Operations Office (CTTOO), the holding of the grand Santacruzan, one of the major tourism event here in the city, is part of the efforts to keep the religious tradition ‘alive’ and relevant to the younger generation.(HENRY JAMES ROCA/CIO).