Lunch Date with Beauty Queens
Dr. Nestor Alonso II (The Freeman) - November 15, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Spain’s Chaiyenne Huisman is crowned the winner of the Miss Asia Pacific International 2019. Her prize package includes travel around the Philippines with her royal court: Dominican Republic’s Eoanna Constanza (1st runner-up), Canada’s Jessica Cianchino (2nd runner-up), Brazil’s Carolina Schuler (3rd runner-up) and Costa Rica’s Fiorella Cortez Arbenz (4th runner-up). Their itinerary in Cebu includes courtesy calls to the officials of local government units and two days of sun and fun.

I grew up in a world with three major beauty contests: Miss World (1951), Miss Universe (1952) and Miss International (1960). As the earth’s population grew (from 2.5 billion in 1950), so did the number of beauties and the need for more organizations to sponsor these beauty pageants. Miss Asia Pacific International was founded in 1968 as Miss Asia Quest for contestants from Asia and Oceania, and then renamed as Miss Asia Pacific Quest (with countries in the Americas added) until in 2005, the current title was selected to accommodate contestants from around the globe.

Casino Español de Cebu Inc. hosted a business lunch for the currently reigning international beauties and general manager May Ocaba with sales and marketing manager Vannah Ang welcomed a select group to share lunch with these winners. Entrantes (Appetizers) served were Jamon Serrano y Surtido de Quesos (Spanish Ham and Assorted Cheeses with Melba Toast) and Gambas al Ajillo. The appetizer food plating was a pretty sight and the sautéed shrimps in olive oil were, as usual, in Casino Español tradition – delicioso!

The wooden paddle, however, was a grim reminder that 50 years ago I was at the receiving end of that apparatus, excuse me, in a fraternity’s initiation rites. It was quite useful, however, when I did my own laundry during my stint as an impoverished U.P. student.

While the Sopa de Lentejas (Lentil Soup) and Ensalada de Mango were served, we talked about the Filipino food culture with Miss Brazil’s Carolina Schuler. Brazilians speak both Portuguese and Spanish, and Carolina was surprised when she heard many Spanish words spoken at the airport. I told her that there are 6,000 Spanish words adopted in the Cebuano language. Dominican Republic’s Eoanna Constanza spoke perfect English and she did an excellent job in translating.

For the Plato Principal (main course), it was a choice between the Salmon a la Parrilla y Verduras a la Mantequilla (Grilled Salmon with Lemon Zest Served with Buttered Vegetables) or the Pollo al Horno y Puré de Patatas (Oven-baked Herb chicken served with Mashed Potatoes). I selected the baked chicken and it was moist without being mushy – and it was delicious.

Postre or Dessert was Leche Flan (Creamy Egg Custard with Brown Sugar Sauce) and then my lunch date with the newly-crowned beauties from the Miss Asia Pacific International 2019 was over.

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