Miss Cebu 2016 is coming up and my thoughts about it are recurring. (I have no idea why I’ve never written anything about it yet.) To start, I have nothing against pageants but I have always wondered why this local pageant holds that distinct Westernized standard in screening applicants.
For one, I thought this was meant to celebrate our Cebuano culture and the winner was meant to represent the Queen City of the South to promote tourism, yet I am sensing little ‘Cebuano-ism’ from this activity.
I’m starting off vague here, so allow me to expound.
General requirements to join the contest is pretty straightforward and conventional.
- Filipino citizen
- Pleasing personality
- At least 5’3” in height
- Of good moral character
- At least a graduating high school student this school year
- Fluent in English
- A resident of Cebu for 3 years
- 18 years of age by Oct. 1 and not turning 25 years old on Dec. 1
- Willing to travel and to reign for a one-year term
- Not a participant of other beauty searches for the duration of the pageant
We always end up with that usual ‘pageant-girl’ and I’ve constantly wondered why at least one out of the 12 contestants isn’t the least bit covered in tattoos, piercings, and a different perspective on things. Yes, the psychographic of it may not fit. In fact, sporadic but pretty sure not impossible.
Now you may wonder why I actually want one to exist. Here’s a fact: Before the colonization, the Spanish used to call us the Pintados because our people were covered in ink. The tattoos and extravagant jewelry were indicative of our pride, bravery and affluence. Although men ruled, women were still empowered.
These artistic expressions are part of the essence of our culture – just one of the extremely rich and prominently interesting things about it. But as far as I can see, we don’t look past the Maria Clara caliber that the Spanish have granted on us.
I feel uneasy at the thought of having probably 90% of the population believe that the identity of Cebuanos is the one dictated by foreigners when we already have this depressing reality to deal with of not having a documented history dating before the 1520’s.
It’s like deleting our roots altogether.
By stating these facts and my personal preferences, I don’t necessarily promote going backwards and showcasing our primitive side. I’m just ultimately baffled and continually wondering why we can’t go beyond the norms and embrace more of who we truly are.
In a way, I guess I’m challenging the pageant committee to be more open with their choices and for the contestants to be unrestrained by convention.