FESTIVALS are in effect contributed to the vivacity of a locality. Be it to honor a patron saint or a national holiday, everybody would surely welcome the brief respite from the long tedious work and invigorate themselves in revelry or just plainly stay at home. The most awaited event, however, of perhaps every known fiesta is the introduction, the pageantry and coronation of a Miss So and so of a place. For the organizers, the chosen candidates won because of their beauty and brains duly competent to represent the tourism aspect of the locality.

Nothing wrong with it actually, as I even always got my eyes glued to the recent pictures of the candidates for this city's festivity. The candidates have the right to participate in the pageant, haven't they? For some, it may be just for kicks, while others may be hoping to land into an acting gig after getting

enough exposure on the cameras. Whatever their motives, let us just wish them good luck and may the best lady wins the crown.

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Let me just remind these pretty young ladies of the religious aspect of the festivity, as much of the fiestas in this country is deeply rooted on the patronage of a saint or saints. I hope it is not only on promoting ecotourism that they have to take part of the contest, but also need to ask themselves if they are the embodiment of virtues that the saint or saints have excelled. No, I am not talking about enticing them to become nuns nor that they should be saintly enough to participate. I am talking about what virtues they knew about the saint have that they can practice and put into influence on other people, especially the youth of today. If I get it correctly, questions about virtues practiced by the saint or saints are most of the times omitted or neglected by the judges. I believe that being asked of this aspect is a wakeup call for every candidate especially on how they can contribute to the moral well being of the society.

I also hope that the organizers would not lose sight that to promote a city does not only mean exposing the beautiful sights and culture of the place. I believe it is also promoting the common moral integrity of the people living in the city. I hope I am not a killjoy for those who have gotten used to the system, but hey, who says that I can't wish for these things? I may be a bit odd, yet I am very much normal. I am pretty sure my pupils will always dilate every time I look at these pretty ladies parading and romping. Even my wife would pinch me whenever I stared too long at them as an act of playful jealousy.

I pray that the candidates would put their best foot forward not only on their beauty, brains and talents, but also on their moral integrity. The winner and her entourage would have a year to represent the city and all its beautiful sights and wonders. Well, I hope at least they also have a year to guide the younger generation on the right path based from the virtue of the saint from whom the city is celebrating the festivity.

(Comments? Send at jaliviado2001@yahoo.com)