Roxanne Toleco of Talisay City (left) is named Muse of the Media-North while Leila Jules Sarino of Hinoba-an is awarded Muse of the Media-South during the press presentation of Lin-ay sang Negros 2019 at Robinsons Place Bacolod on Saturday evening. The pageant, now on its 25th year, is one of the highlights of the 26th Panaad sa Negros Festival slated from April 8 to 14. (Photo by Nanette L. Guadalquiver)

BACOLOD CITY -- One of the highlights of the annual Panaad sa Negros Festival is the crowning of the festival queen called Lin-ay sang Negros.

The local beauty pageant, which showcases beauties from the 13 cities and 19 municipalities of Negros Occidental, turns 25 this year and continues the tradition of celebrating the unique Negrense charm and beauty -- being a woman of strength with a “sugar-sweet” smile.

Lin-ay is the Hiligaynon term for young lady.

Twenty-six candidates, who are vying for the Lin-ay sang Negros Silver Year title, were introduced during the press presentation held at Robinsons Place Bacolod on Saturday.

The winner will be crowned during the finals’ night on April 12 at the Panaad Park and Stadium.

Tetchie Viñas, committee head of Lin-ay sang Negros pageant, said she is grateful that the beauty search has come this far and proud of the achievements of the past winners.

“We are really happy of what they have become -- the epitome of a Negrense woman which is the primary purpose of this pageant. After they are crowned, we give them the role as an ambassadress of the province,” she added.


Lin-ay sang Negros 2009 Vickie Marie Rushton of Talisay City, who was one of the judges last year, has become one of the most recognizable faces in the national pageant scene after her stints in two major beauty competitions.

In 2011, Rushton was crowned Mutya ng Pilipinas and in 2018, she was adjudged Binibining Pilipinas first runner-up.

She is again competing for one of the titles in the Binibining Pilipinas 2019 pageant in June.

Lin-ay sang Negros 2018 Danice Decolongon of Ilog town said she has “learned a lot of lessons and experienced a lot of new things” in the past year.

“l learned more about the culture of Negros Occidental. I met a lot of people who helped me become a better person and improve myself,” the 19-year-old reigning queen shared.

Her advice to the girls aspiring for this year’s crown: “Dreams do come true. Just believe in yourself and believe in what God has planned for you. If you have reached that goal in your life, stay put and be humble.”

This year’s official candidates are Joanna Angelica Ortillo of Bacolod City; Kryztstar Angel Gustilo of Bago City; Judy Mae Gracia of Binalbagan; Jasline Batiller of Cadiz City; Gwyneth Avigail Lambot of Candoni; Eunice Mejica of Cauayan; Jhudiel Micha Maris Lianda of Don Salvador Benedicto; Rea Marie Jimena of E.B. Magalona; and Deanne Marice Buenavista of Escalante City.

Also included in the lineup are Weny Joy Azuelo of Hinigaran; Leila Jules Sarino of Hinoba-an; Helcie Jamili of Isabela; Patricia Louise Zayco of Kabankalan City; Jan Marie Bordon of La Carlota City; Mary Louise de la Cruz of La Castellana; Mheralyn Belanario of Moises Padilla; and Ma. Avedale Berondo of Murcia.

Also competing in the pageant are Caira Victoria Juarez of Pontevedra; Jarizz Borcelas of Sagay City; Ma. Rita Sol Requieron of San Carlos City; Angelica Janine Bautista of San Enrique; Shaira Dorilag of Silay City; Jonnabelle Hilary Lara of Sipalay City; Roxanne Toleco of Talisay City; Gene Warmae Gascon of Toboso; and Ma. Vachel Anna Ramos of Victorias City.

During the press presentation, Roxanne Toleco of Talisay City was named Muse of the Media-North while Leila Jules Sarino of Hinoba-an was awarded Muse of the Media-South.

The Talent Presentation followed, and the winner, who will be announced during the coronation night, will advance as one of the 12 semi-finalists. (PNA)