The Lovely Lin-ays of Silay-A A +A
By Betsy Gazo
Saturday, June 16, 2012
THE search for a beauty queen is a tough job, as I have discovered at the Lin-ay sang Silay 2012 pageant. Yet it’s a really rewarding one, not only because I get to meet up close the lovely candidates but also because I get to realize that there are a lot of young ladies who possess inner beauty as well.
Judging at the search gave me a more intimate view of the 16 women who represented the barangays of the city and I was impressed by their intelligence, their drive, their love for their families and country, and pride in their city.
I am sure that my fellow judges were equally impressed at both the pre-pageant and the pageant night itself.
Pre-pageant events were held at Patag for the swimsuit competition and the interview, of which I was part of, at the Sen. Jose Locsin house. My co-judges were accomplished architect, urban planner and president of The Heritage Conservation of the Philippines Nathaniel von Einsiedel; the rector of San Carlos Seminary at Guadalupe, Makati, former rector of the Manila Cathedral, and former Secretary General of CBCP Msgr. Ding Coronel; artist Roy Lopez who is a graduate of the Parsons School of Design in New York; and former Bench model Larry Brill. Obviously, I was the only rose among the thorns.
We checked the girls’ wits, career and life ambitions, and values. At the final night on June 10, the judges were then given the chance to confirm the collated scores.
The citizens and candidates were honored by the presence of two lady judges who took the place of Msgr. Ding and Roy, namely, the first lady of Don Salvador Benedicto Lovelyn de la Cruz and Pagsanjan mayor Girlie Javier Ejercito who both came with their spouses DSB mayor Marxlen de la Cruz and Laguna governor ER Ejercito. The two judges have roots in Silay.
I would like to congratulate the City Tourism Office of Silay who put together the unforgettable event from start to finish. So much effort, creativity and resources have been expended to give the city people something to be pleased about.
The opening number of pageant night, for instance, was a fusion of indigenous and modern dance with the lithe dancers wearing stylized native costumes. I acknowledge at this point the superb Hugyaw Silay Dancers who brought the event to life.
The production numbers were so well done it was evident that so much preparation had gone into the whole show. My favorite scene of the night was the Traje de Silay portion which transformed the stage into a Spanish-era ballroom or dancing hall complete with three delicate chandeliers under which young couples danced the waltz to the tune of Tanda de Valse composed by prominent Silaynon Jose “Pitong” Ledesma. The setting was reminiscent of a genteel era when Silay was at its economic peak and its people enjoyed the life of a privileged society of unsurpassed wealth in that era.
The pretty candidates donning their demure gowns walked around with graceful movements, carrying themselves as ladies should.
In just a few days from the pre-pageant interview to the final night, I have noticed a profound change in the ladies. On stage, they have transformed into confident women and gone were the gauche demeanor noticed days before. Oh, how I was proud of them and as the cliché goes, we judges had a tough job to do.
Difficult or not, we, more or less, agreed on our winners because a handful of girls stood out not only in physique but also in personality.
Declared winners were Riah Angelica De Ocampo (Brgy. Rizal), 1st runner-up Ma. Enriquita Montilla (Brgy. 1), and 2nd runner-up Rachelle Golez (Brgy. Guinhalaran). The two other finalists who made up the top five are Christal Jane Abogador (Brgy. Patag) and Marjorie Manlangit (Brgy. Mambulac).
Ms. De Ocampo was also chosen Best in Swimsuit, and Talent and Skills. Ms. Montilla was Miss Photogenic while Ms. Manlangit was Best Festival Costume Design and Best in Traje de Silay. Best in Festival Costume was Cherrylyn Flores (Brgy. V). Most Punctual was Ms. Abogador.
I would like to thank Silay’s very supportive first lady Mrs. Marissa Montelibano who hosted a cozy dinner at her residence just before Pageant Night. Her callos and lengua estofada were melt-in-the-mouth tender. She caught me red-handed (hopefully, not red-faced) at the buffet table coming back for my third serving.
I extended my kudos to Tourism Office consultant Solo Locsin on the success of the event and he said, “Silay is living up to its name as the seat of culture and the arts in the region. It was known as the Paris of Negros with talent and artistry concentrated among the hacienderos. Later, it became a way of life for everybody. In effect, there were no barriers [where arts and culture were concerned].”
Ah, Silay! The Beautiful City of Beautiful Women.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on June 16, 2012.