Freeman Cebu Entertainment

Bb. Cebu director promises 2019 staging will rival Miss Universe

Karla Rule - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — As if trying to prove that Cebu will never run out of beauties, Binibining Cebu returns once more with 54 candidates representing its towns and municipalities.

The pageant, now on its third year, is organized by the Sacred Heart School for Boys Batch 1985 Foundation, Inc. to promote Cebu and to further their advocacy of being “men for others” through different cultural and social events.

Kicking off Wednesday with the Media Presentation at the Mountain Wing Atrium of SM Seaside City Cebu, the candidates donned emerald Cary Santiago body-cons and officially introduced themselves to the press and the public.

This year’s roster is a mix of familiar and fresh faces, as national pageant contestants and Binibining Cebu returnees try their luck at Cebu’s biggest pageant stage.

Joining this year’s edition is Mandaue City bet Ena Velasco, Miss Mandaue 2015 and a Binibining Pilipinas 2018 Top 25 finalist; Poro candidate Maria Fe Loayon, a Miss Philippines Earth 2019 and Mutya ng Pilipinas 2018 finalist; Bantayan’s Juvel Ducay, Miss Hannah’s Ecotourism Philippines 2018; and Minglanilla’s Maria Angelica Pantaliano and Talisay City’s Karlita Claudine Lasquite who both competed in the recent Mutya Pilipinas edition.

Also in the running are newly crowned Pasigarbo Sa Sugbo Festival Queen and former Reyna Ng Aliwan winner Marla Alforque of Carcar, reigning Miss Lapu-Lapu Chloe Boone for Lapu-Lapu City, and Miss Mandaue 2019 first runner-up Amanda Basnillo for Dalaguete.

Candidates with national experience such as Velasco, Loayon, Ducay, Pantaliano, and Lasquite consider their previous pageant placements as advantages as they compete in Binibining Cebu. However, they don’t plan to rest on their laurels as they consider this latest undertaking one of the most unique tilts yet, knowing full well how Binibining Cebu highlights not only a woman who is beautiful, but a woman who is strong, thoughtful, and takes action.

Returning to the Binibining Cebu competition is Ginatilan candidate Princess Paraiso who represented San Francisco last year; Pilar Camotes bet Marjorie Campoamor; and former Ginatilan bet, now Ronda muse Sharon Angel, a Mutya ng Pilipinas 2010 title-holder and this year’s sole single mom.

So far, Lady Luck has smiled on the competition’s returnees, with Tracy Maureen Perez and Lou Dominque Piczon nabbing crowns on their second try.

“With all humility, I don’t feel pressure yet right now. What I’m focused on is enjoying the show. Last year, I forgot how to have fun and be myself. This year, I just want to stand here and be an inspiration and an influence to every Cebuano, every woman, especially single moms like me. If last year I was better, then this year I promise that I am my best self,” said Angel.

Reigning Binibining Cebu Steffi Rose Aberasturi urged the candidates to make the most of every moment and encouraged them to speak in languages they feel most comfortable using.

“Being part of Binibining Cebu, it has really been a door opener for me. I was given the chance to spread positivity, and they helped me develop into a better person and do what I really love most which is to inspire and help people,” said Aberasturi.

“Be positive. Enjoy this moment. It’s not every day you’re going to experience this, it’s not every day you’re going to gain 53 sisters and a new family. Good luck, enjoy, have fun, be positive. With practice, determination, and hard work plus prayers, you’ll go far. It doesn’t matter if you’re pretty or perfect. What’s important is that you believe that you are an empowered woman, that you have a voice.”

Binibining Cebu remixed its board of leaders and creatives this year, with Anthony Ting as Bb. Sugbu Charity Foundation Inc. and SHS-B Batch 1985 Foundation Inc. President, Val San Diego of the award-winning Sandiego Dance Company as Production Manager and Choreographer, and multi-awarded ABS-CBN producer and director Ahwel Paz as Overall Director. Master couturier Cary Santiago remains as Pageant Consultant who will oversee all fashion and wardrobe needs, while Kenneth Cobonpue is still Creative Producer.

Pre-pageant activities include the Swimwear and Long Gown Competition at Mandani Bay on October 16, as well as the pre-pageant interview at Oakridge Business Park on November 10.

The Binibining Cebu winner will take home P500,000 in cash and P300,00 in kind, while Bb. Cebu Tourism, Bb. Cebu Charity, Bb. Cebu Heritage and Bb. Cebu Ecology will win P300,000 in cash and P100,000 in kind; P200,000 in cash and P50,000 in kind; P100,000 and P75,000, respectively.

Paz promised a bolder and fiercer staging which he says will rival even that of Miss Universe. He said they are not only looking for someone who can look pretty, but also someone who is self-aware and socially conscious.

The brand new AVP launched during the media presentation showed the other side of the glitz and glamor, showing the reigning Binibining Cebu winners excelling in their fields whether in their studies, careers, or in their advocacies.

San Diego, for his part, said he wants to make Cebu not only the Queen City of the South, but also the “beauty queen factory of the South.”

“Expect a much bolder, much fiercer, and more relevant women in their major production numbers,” said Paz. “We levelled up not only the production but also the beauty and brains. We would like to elevate the beautiful Cebuana to become a global queen not only in Cebu but in the Philippines. It’s not merely about beauty. The queens this year will be more socially relevant. Anybody could be a queen.”

Aside from Aberasturi, Bb. Cebu Tourism Kim Covert, Bb. Cebu Charity Tracy Maureen Perez, Bb. Cebu Heritage Lou Dominique Piczon, and Bb. Cebu Ecology Isabela Deutsch will be crowning their successors during the coronation night on November 15 at the Pacific Grand Ballroom of Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino.


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