Thursday August 16, 2018

Looking back with Bb. Cebu winners

LAST year’s Binibining Cebu had the whole island in a pageant craze. Now, organizers of the prestigious beauty contest are calling out for young and talented Cebuanas, who can handle strutting responsibilities, to be the next ambassadresses of Cebu.

The search for Binibining Cebu 2018 was launched last May 27 at The Pyramid Cebu. It was founded by the Binibining Sugbu Charity Foundation Inc. and the Sacred Heart School for Boys Batch 1985 Foundation Inc.

Apriel Smith, the Badian representative, was crowned as the first Binibining Cebu. She sat on the throne on her birthday.

“It was the best gift I’d ever had. I wanted to cry on stage but I didn’t want to ruin my makeup. Instead, I had a nice smile and walked with my crown,” remembered Smith.

At 22, Smith said the title helped in her personal growth.

“Bb. Cebu is a real life changer,” said Smith. “It has shaped the girl that I was into the woman that I am today.”

Having the crown also brought on many opportunities for Smith: “More jobs, opportunities and events and also projects. I also get to help other people who are in need.”

Smith attended the launching of the search for her successor. Also in attendance were Samantha Ashley Lo of Asturias, who was crowned Binibining Cebu Tourism, and Maria Gigante of Bantayan, who claimed the Binibining Cebu Charity title.

“Binibining Cebu flipped my perspective on pageantry because now I already think that it is more about social responsibility,” said Gigante. “It’s more about affecting change in my community, to make the world a better place.”

Lo said the adventures following her coronation made her more grateful about the pageant. Although she doesn’t have a trickle of Cebuano blood, her experiences have made her a true-blue Sugboanon.

“It has made me proud to serve my fellow Cebuano,” said Lo. Local affinity, after all, can either be through birth or residency.

The three crowned Cebuanas said their titles came with responsibilities. Each of them is working on her own advocacy.

Gigante said she has meshed her passion for fashion and volunteer work by closely working with Gawad Kalinga and the Fashion Institute of Design and Arts. She plans to organize a five-day livelihood workshop, which would teach the community, especially unemployed women, basic sewing, cutting of hair and some Tesda (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) courses.

Lo, who called herself an adopted daughter of Asturias, with the help of the Sacred Heart School-Boys Batch 1985, gave a solar panel system to a government infirmary of Asturias. As a nursing student, Lo believes that hospitals—and their patients—should be taken care of.

The solar panel system is Asturias’ share in Lo’s winning. The local government unit represented by a winning Binibining Cebu candidate got a counterpart prize from the contest.

Lo said solar panel systems are very effective during typhoons.

As for Smith, she plans to channel her athleticism as a volleyball player to help influence Badian children to be more sports-minded and active so they will stay away from drugs. She wants to hold Pinoy Olympics featuring old games like takyan, tubig-tubig and playing Jackstones. But the main event for the Olympics will be the volleyball games.

Apart from the winners’ initiatives, the Binibining Sugbu Charity Foundation Inc., along with the candidates, went to the tent houses in the evacuation area in Ormoc City last year following Leyte’s 6.5 magnitude earthquake in July. They also traveled to the mountain barangays where they distributed assistance to over 1,000 families.

The group also distributed goods to over 700 families who survived a fire in Barangay Pasil, Cebu City last January.

The organizers also want to improve this year’s pageant.

Kenneth Cobonpue, creative director of Binibining Cebu, said they are brainstorming on ways to take the Binibining Cebu 2018 up a notch higher and are planning to use more Cebuano talents, reinventing them to make things world class. And nobody knows what “world class” entails better than Cobonpue, whose furniture are popular in the international scene.

“This will be a celebration of Cebuano talent,” the creative genius said.

Except for the entertainment acts, all those involved in last year’s contest were Cebuanos--from the designers to the makeup artists and other.

Ladies who are interested in becoming the next Binibining Cebu should check themselves if they are at least 5’4” in height (when barefoot), naturally born female, 17 (on or before Aug. 1) to 26 years old, and a resident of the country for at least six months. Prospective contestants should also have knowledge of their municipality’s history, products, tourist attractions and festival.

Pageant chair Cary Santiago sees the six months residency requirement as an opportunity to make the pageant more inclusive and borderless to non-Cebuanoes who consider the place their home.

Lo and Gigante agreed with the six-month requirement, while Smith was torn, saying “It depends, so I’m 50-50.”

With plans to join Binibining Pilipinas soon, Smith imparted a little wisdom to the hopeful candidates for the next staging: “For me, the best weapon is your personality and attitude to your co-candidates and the organizers as well, and the second is your skills.” (Tessa Frances T. Aguilar, Contributor)