Friday, January 28, 2005


"At the end of each rainbow, so the saying goes, is a pot of gold. As a woman of the earth, what else would you rather find at the end of the rainbow?"

That was the final question in last year’s Miss Earth. It’s one of my favorites for beauty pageants final questions. My list includes the “the essence of a woman” fame of Miss Universe 1994 Sushmita Sen of India.
With the Miss Earth 2003, the final answers didn’t actually matter much as the ladies gave sensible replies: “I’d rather find God and to give love to people,” “ world peace”; another went Biblical: “I’d rather find that Adam never ate the forbidden fruit so we all would be living in Paradise still”; the simplest answer: “ to find clean waters”; and the unexpected answer: “ I’d rather find nothing more than the pot of gold, for with I, I will have everything.”
The judges made their decision and the one who mentioned “God” eventually won. But really, it wasn’t her answer that made her the winner. It was more of her regal stage presence in white gown -- as she shared her wisdom –that won her the crown. She was every inch a queen. And everyone was happy with the choice for after all, the final answers were all in pageant-flavored standard lines and kind of roundabout.
The 2004 Miss Dumaguete final question moment was somewhat similar to the Miss
Earth 2003 climax. Sandurot Fiesta Chairperson Glynda Descuatan read the question: “Dumaguete as a Student City has done a lot of things to entice visitors to come. What do you think should be done to make these visitors stay longer?”

The question may sound easy but when one is under pressure, I think it’s hard to crack a witty response that calls for a “doable idea.” Afterall, it was a serious question, not a
simple trivia. And for that, I salute all the Top 3 finalists as they managed to think on their feet and speak so spontaneously.

Louella Dawn D. Chiu of Dumaguete Science High School enumerated
three points to ensure the visitors’ longer stay: sustain the “gentle people” stature, continue to offer quality education; and maintain the tranquility. The audience gave
thunderous applause. She had the best answer that night, which redeemed her beating-around-the-bush answer in the semi-finals.

Miss Foundation University Naddie May Kadusale Orillana answered with the phrase “quality education.” And added, “That’s it!” to signal the host that it was her final answer.

Josephine Karen Carlia M. Milio of Silliman University also had “quality education” as the only focus and took time to mention the four universities. In trying to recall the names of the schools, there was this uncomfortable gap, drowned by the audience’ reaction of surprise. She finally managed to end her reply with an emphasis on the “need for quality education.”

With Naddie’s brief answer, she was moved farther from the crown, giving Louella a step closer to the final glory as first runner-up.
The crown eventually went to the one who was leading in the semi-final round with the Best in Interview award, and a harvest of all the ramp fashion awards. Josie, who looked stunning in Silliman red gown, made the final march to victory as Miss Dumaguete 2004.

Clearly that evening, her answer to the final question was overshadowed by her physical presence that simply mesmerized almost everyone!

If we were to ask our Dumaguete visitors what would have been the best answer, I’m sure it wouldn’t be so much the offering of quality education “since it’s already being done, and in fact, taken for granted that it’s happening.

Neither would the “gentleness of the people” make the visitors stay in Dumaguete longer since it’s common occurrence here, and therefore, ordinary.

Maybe the visitors to Dumaguete would stay longer if air pollution problem in the City could be checked and managed, especially that which is caused by exhaust from the growing number of pedicabs. Many foreign residents have actually expressed concern over the culprit.

They would also stay longer if local government officials demonstrate better senses in not sacrificing their sense of history and their fervor for the cause of the environment for the sake of their own version of “generic” progress: reclamation and “eco-tourism” projects.

Visitors to Dumaguete would also extend their stay if our local police were more vigilant so that crime cases are solved immediately. We regret the case of Jonathan Marie Aguilar Sibala, a 23-year old balikbayan nurse from California, who stabbed by young men last week. Jonathan came to visit Dumaguete to celebrate the centennial of St. Paul University. He saw many things beautiful, and decided to extend his stay to celebrate the Sandurot fiesta with relatives here.

But the joyful homecoming ended with a painful twist of fate. His violent ending just gave this “City of Gentle People” a bad image in the Filipino-American community in the US. I can’t blame them if prospective visitors will be paranoid towards Dumaguete henceforth.

So you see, answering the seemingly-simple question was no easy task. It required a doable, relevant idea.

The final question in the recent Miss Dumaguete beauty pageant is still crying out for more concrete answers not necessarily from the beauty queens parading on stage, but more importantly from those in active public service.

Josie, Miss DumagueteJosephine Karen Carlia M. Milio,in white, of Silliman University

November 27, 2004
SCHOOL PIE by Moses Joshua B. Atega
Published in METROPOST

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