Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sunday, May 11, 2014
One of the Board of Judges at the Hiyas ng Manaoag 2014 - Miss Maria Venus Raj.

Officially, it’s a sunshine city, the town of Manaoag in Pangasinan, teeming with activities this week, and literally with the sun scorching hot.  If this town was blessed with a sandy beach, then it could have been one of the best tourist destinations in the Philippines.  But, heaven is always rational and impartial.  You just can’t be all pretty, talented and intelligent, there’s got to be at least one flaw, right?  You can’t just have it all.

The town doesn’t have beaches and nature attractions but they have the “Our Lady of Manaoag” that attracts sizable volume of tourists daily, especially during the weekends.  The local government know how to tap this town’s strength, making pilgrimage as its core tourism allure.  And speaking of local government, the whole town had another entertaining evening last night, as the town fiesta culminated with the coronation of the “Hiyas ng Manaoag 2014”.  The occasion sparkled with showbiz celebrities gracing the event, something new, making this year’s fiesta a memorable one for the townspeople.

I’ve never watched a beauty contest live and this one was in par with national competition that I see occasionally on television.  It was well organized, staged in a lovely podium complete with video projecting on giant screens, vibrant lightings and sound system, gorgeous candidates, capped with the presence of popular celebrities.

The pageant opened with the parade and presentation of the 12 pretty candidates in their casual wear, followed by the introduction of the judge celebrities that includes no less than one of the country’s prominent beauty queen – Maria Venus Raj, flanked by other GMA Kapuso luminaries.

The crowd went roaring when the contestants were presented in their lovely turquoise  two-piece for the swimsuit competition.  I, for one, would never think that a provincial town like Manaoag has a lot of stunning ladies until such beauty competition is staged. 
A hip-hop dance number was rendered by a dance troop who have won a local television program performing energetic dance moves that brought the audience into frenzy.

Like any other beauty competition, there is the “question and answer” portion where the candidates have the chance to demonstrate their eloquence and acumen.  It’s the substantiation that there’s more to good look than meets the eye.  This is the part where – like any other pageants – some contestants are expected to excel and some, to stutter.  It plays a big part in breaking up the beauty with a brain from simply beauties.  Filipinoes by nature are competitive people, that, we vehemently admit.

After the Q&A portion, the ladies then strutted in their vibrant ball gowns designed by local couturiers, while being serenaded by Kristofer Martin, a rising young actor of GMA Kapuso.  This was subsequently followed by the selection of the “Top 5” finalists, the cream of the crop.  Another engaging Q&A was directed to the five candidates, this time, coming from the panel of judges.  This is the part where they make it, or break it.  Some contestants faltered, some paused in hesitation, but luckily, no one replicated the legendary Q&A moments of 2008 Binibining Pilipinas World - Janina San Miguel, and somehow I was waiting for that, naughty me.
Then the announcement of the runner ups as the sound of the crowd went thundering with excitement and tensions gripped the audience with two ladies remaining.
Top 3 candidates.

And the WINNER is – - -

The moment she garnered 3 (or 4?) of the special awards during the first part of the competition, I knew she ‘ll bag the title, she was one of the crowd’s favorite, perhaps third?  Her winning stake was intensified during the final Q&A when she responded in the national vernacular – Tagalog – and to top that, she praised the efficiency of the local police force for the town’s peaceful ambience – BAM! Winning answer.   Very much in contrast from all her competitions who addressed the questions in the English language albeit faltering.
Maria Venus Raj smiling before announcing the decision.

On top of that, she has what I call the Cinderella factor, definitely not the ugly duckling in a bevy of swans, but she is the only one with the color, a bit dark – not at all mestiza - that really embodies a true Filipina beauty, that makes her stand out among the candidates.
Congratulations to the finalists and to the winner of this year’s Hiyas ng Manaoag - “Mary Grace Galvez”.
"Hiyas ng Manaoag 2014 Winner" still in tears, flanked by Miss Venus Raj and Mayor Kim Amador.

And big applause to the local government of Manaoag headed by the young and charming mayor of the town – Mayor Kim Mikael De Guzman Amador.  A job well done Sir!  Happy Fiesta.
Mayor Kim Amador

Getting to Manaoag from Manila, there are direct buses from Manila to Manaoag. Dagupan Bus (phone (02) 727-2330) from their terminal in New York Street, Cubao has several trips a day (24/7).  Victory Liner (phone (02) 727-4688) is running direct to Manaoag.  Fare is P360.  Travel time is about 4 hours.
Address: Manaoag, Pangasinan, Philippines
Google Map Direction: Manaoag, Pangasinan

Author's Note:

I'm open for invitations, if you have any event - town fiesta, pageants, weddings, concerts, even private parties, with guest celebrities or not, and you need a photo coverage and write ups, please click on "Contact" tab and send me a message.  Free of Charge. :) Thanks.



Post a Comment