Supermodel Linda Evangelista once said, “ people think modeling's mindless, that you just stand there and pose, but it doesn't have to be that way. I like to have a lot of input, I know how to wear a dress, whether it should be shot with me standing up or sitting down. And I'm not scared to say what I think.”
We could have the same regard for beauty pageants - totally “mindless.” Much more if it’s a male beauty pageant. We think of it as mere display of the male body form.
But the 2005 Hari ng Negros pageant mounted last week in Canlaon, Philippines to celebrate the mountain city’s 44th charter day proved to be a battle of brains particularly when it reached the Top 5 level.
A lady doctor in the audience who is from Bacolod shared her observations on all pageants that she witnessed. She noticed that when it comes to the interview portion, the bets from Oriental Negros would always shine with their wit and flawless command of the English language.
This she shared after she heard Jericho Arnaiz, a senior Political Science student of Silliman University who represented Pamplona, spoke about the role of the youth of today when asked by the host about his exposure as the SK (Sanguniang Kabataan) Chairman of his municipality. He garnered the Best Speaker award on the first set. This male pageant had four interview portions.
The men from Negros Occidental dominated the first set of awards with Mr. Bacolod Joey Cioson, a student nurse from the University of St. La Salle, winning the Best Smile award. Auric Claridad of Binalbagan was Mr. Photogenic while Richard Javier of Pulupandan was Best in Formal Attire.
Bais City’s Nepthali Badilla Jr. of Negros Oriental State University was awarded Best Body Shot.
As expected, Joey who has the boy-next-door innocence led the Occidental bets that dominated the Top 10 slots. Jericho made an impact for he turned out to be the best dancer in the Street Jam portion.
The interview portion showed the three bets in the Top 10 from Oriental Negros outshining the rest.
Joining Joey and Jericho in the final 5 were Mr. Dumaguete Paul Brett Orozco of St. Paul University, Mr. Bayawan Siegfred Schmidt, a Tourism student from USJR Cebu; and the exotic looking Mr. La Carlota Mark Anthony Rapas, an AMA Computer student. Each of them was asked to make a question for their fellow finalist. A very impressive question came from Mr. Dumaguete who asked Mr. Pamplona if the “country will have another president within the year?” and Jericho got the applause of the audience when he answered “I don’t think we will have a new president for I am sure that Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will give her best to evidently show that the projects she will do will make the economy to sour high.” Mr. Bayawan also clinched a top slot with his answer to the question from Mr. La Carlota on how he would “promote Canlaon and what would be his first project if ever he wins?” He said, “volcanoes! But my priority would be the importance of education for it is the only way to move forward….” Mr. La Carlota failed to make a clear answer when asked by Mr. Pamplona about “what new revolution would he want if given the opportunity to lead one.” When asked by Mr. Dumaguete what could be another reason for holding the Hari ng Negros pageant, Mr. Bacolod made a simple but a very cool answer, “to give happiness to the people of Canlaon for this is an entertainment for them.” He received a thunderous applause from the audience. Mr. Bayawan asked Mr. Dumaguete about the personal characteristics that would be beneficial to his family and the crowd favorite answered “being honest, God-fearing and to value close family ties.”
On the Top 3 level, Oriental Negros bets were the eventual lords of the pageant. Mr. Bayawan, Mr. Dumaguete and Mr. Pamplona were in for the final battle for the grand titles. The final question was quite close to the question for Margie Moran in the 1973 Miss Universe. Her question was, if you had one million dollars what would you do with it? Inspired by the Love and Peace cry of streets that decade she said, "I would buy a big house where I can live with all the people I love". Her answer gave the Philippines the second Miss Universe title. For the Hari ng Negros pageant the question was “…what will you do with the prize money?” All three gave similar answers that the money would go to their families. Siegfred who was beating-around-the-bush as he tried to expound was awarded the second runner-up title. Jericho who gave a smooth answer got the First Runner-up title. And Paul who looks like the actor Diether Ocampo gave glory to Dumaguete when he answered with tears that the money will go to his family. But the 23-year old computer programmer actually made a difference when he honestly shared that his family is having financial difficulty and that, he hopes to make use of the prize for his sister’s education.
The pageant successfully captured the majestic splendor and true wisdom of the city in the sky. With Kanlaon, the highest mountain of Negros, as the “royal” inspiration; indeed Canlaon City was the perfect venue to crown the truly deserving Hari ng Negros.
It was a great evening for on stage and in the audience was the spirit of unity of the two provinces.