‘Cry of Santa Barbara’ wins float parade tilt

(Capitol handout photo)

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

The Cry of Santa Barbara float, created by the provincial government of Iloilo and the Municipality of Santa Barbara, was declared the champion in the Parada ng Kalayaan, the highlight of this year’s Independence Day celebration.

Iloilo received a cash prize of P1 million after beating nine other local government units that participated in the float competition for the historical events category at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila on Wednesday, June 12.

The Cry of Santa Barbara event is marked by the first instance of the Philippine flag being raised outside Luzon, symbolizing the unity and determination of the Visayans in the fight against Spanish colonial rule.

“The float of the Province of Iloilo is a vibrant tribute to the Cry of Santa Barbara, a pivotal event in Philippine history that symbolizes the Visayan region’s crucial role in the struggle for independence,” the provincial government said in a statement.

It added that Santa Barbara was not just a location but a beacon of resistance as it became the strategic headquarters of the revolutionary forces.

Central to the float’s design are the Santa Barbara Church and convent, where General Martin Delgado, as the general-in-chief of the army, convened the junta, a council that orchestrated the first cry for revolution against Spanish rule in Iloilo.

“The float aims to convey a powerful message of unity, resilience, and the enduring spirit of freedom. It celebrates the collective strength of the Ilonggo people and their pivotal role in the broader narrative of Philippine independence,” it added.

As the float moved through the parade, the Tribu Kahilwayan, composed of students from Santa Barbara, enacted a dramatic play that brought the historical event to life. This performance allowed spectators to experience the legacy of Santa Barbara and the resilient spirit of the Ilonggo people.

Meanwhile, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) declared the Department of Foreign Relations as champion in the Original Agencies and Branches of the Philippine Government Category.

The judges, composed of a panel led by National Artist for Dance Alice Reyes, NHCP Commissioner Regalado Trota Jose, Jr., Artist Al Modesto Valenciano, Collector and Digital Creator Jayson “Boss Toyo” Luzadas, and Travel Host and Advocate Kyle “Kulas” Jennerman, selected the winning floats with the tabulation support of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).

The NHCP said the participating floats will remain on display at the CCP Complex until June 16, 2024.

Around 30,000 people attended the event, according to estimates by the Manila Police District.