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Another Beauty Contest Fiasco: Kerosene "burns" wet bikini bet

Sandra Reppi gets ready to pick up a bottle for her turn at the “Wet and Wild” portion of a bikini contest, not knowing it did not contain water but kerosene used by “fire-eater”dancers. JOY TORREJOS

CEBU, Philippines - This does not seem to be a good year for “beauty constests.”

A gimmick that was supposed to involve wetting herself with water from a bottle instead landed a bikini open contestant in the hospital early Sunday.

The reason? It was not water that was in the battle but kerosene, or some other substance that caused a burning sensation on her skin.

The “accident” came on the heels of the controversy that hounded last month’s Miss Cebu Pageant, in which a Texters Choice award was given to the “wrong winner.”

In last Saturday night’s Ultimate Body of Desire Bikini Open competition in Lapu-Lapu City, a “Wet and Wild” talent portion had the contestants getting themselves wet onstage.

One of the candidates, 18-year-old Sandra Reppi, a Filipino-Norwegian, drenched herself with a clear liquid from an ordinary water bottle, not suspecting it would contain anything but ordinary bottled water.

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But as she continued to perform, she began to feel an uncomfortable burning sensation on her body. An oily sheen covered her body, in a way that was different from wetness caused by ordinary water.

“Nahibulong bitaw ko nganong nagsinaw iyang lawas (Indeed I was surprised by the oily sheen of her body). Maybe she got carried away during the show that she did not notice she had picked up a bottle that did not contain water, “ said Annalou Reyes, the event organizer, in a telephone interview with The FREEMAN.

According to Danny Booc, the talent manager of Reppi, the girl became more uncomfortable after the talent portion and, unable to stand the burning sensation as the night wore on, rushed to the sea to immerse herself, hoping to quash the burning feeling on her skin.

But immersion in the sea only made the burning more intense that, eventually, Reppi had to be rushed to the hospital, Booc said.

Reyes said the Wet and Wild portion came toward the end of the show and called for the girls to wet themselves while performing individual talents.

Apparently, Reyes said, Reppi took the wrong bottle from among several that were at the back of the stage.

It is believed that the bottle contained kerosene because there were several “fire-eating” dancers who danced along with the contestants on stage.

Fire-eaters normally put kerosene inside their mouths and blow over lighted objects such as candles or lamps to generate huge tongue of flames.

Reppi is reportedly now out of the hospital and resting at her temporary residence in Talisay City. No further information about the state of her health had been available.

Reyes said the mother of Reppi attended to her at the hospital and took care of the bills. She did not say if the organizers would reimburse Reppi for her expenses as a result of the accident.

Reyes said the event, her very first venture, had been “very well organized” despite the incident.

The claims of Reyes notwithstanding, the incident was the second one this year in which organizers may have failed to foresee otherwise “small” glitches turning into major fiascos.

Last January, during the Miss Cebu Pageant, a side contest featuring texted in votes from the public, resulted in a controversy that continues to hound not just the pageant itself but Cebu City officials as well.

In the contest, Kimberley Burden came out with the most number of texted in votes, but the award was given to Kris Tiffany Janson, the eventual Miss Cebu winner.

The Burden family denounced the fiasco, which they said caused severe emotional distress to Kimberley.

Demands for a public apology and later on threats of court action came in the wake of the controversy that continues to be unresolved to this day. — /JST (THE FREEMAN)

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