Basketball and boxing aside, Filipinos are also crazy about beauty pageants.
Where the fascination roots from is an unexplainable idiosyncrasy.
Nonetheless, it reflects a facet of culture— one that particularly latches on its notion of beauty in the woman— her face, curves, height, sway, wit, demeanor, etc.
Despite the feminist uproar that roots from the female body being deconstructed and reconstructed in terms of the male fantasy, beauty contests have subsisted for decades.
Call these pageants frivolous or superficial, but the competition among these beauties takes strong will and discipline.
Prior to gliding through that stage in a designer evening dress with a signature walk or sauntering the ramp to show off that flat stomach and toned curves in a dazzling swimsuit, contestants have to go through rigorous diets, workouts, and training to look that good.
Of course, the maxim that “beauty is only skin deep” is defied in such pageants. When the contestants are down to some five finalists, the competition turns into a battle of wits, specifically in the question and answer portion where a contestant either makes it or breaks it.
In the Philippines, the prestigious Binibining Pilipinas, an annual national pageant, has crowned beauty queens over the last 50 years.
Yearly it picks four to five of the fairest young women out of a bunch of contestants and these winners head on to international beauty battles namely, the Miss Universe and Miss International pageants.
In recent years, Binibining Pilipinas also carried the Miss Maja-International and Miss World titles, the latter now relegated to its own contest.
This 2013, the pageant also gives out crowns to the chosen Binibining Pilipinas-Tourism and Binibining Pilipinas-Supranational.
Every year, the whole world stays glued to these contests on the final coronation night, praying that their respective representatives will take home the crown.
The annual display of beautiful faces and bodies and the standard segment of pageants— the swimsuit and evening gown competition— has not quite changed over the years but beauty contests have managed to keep its glitter.
Why, we ask? Perhaps having one’s representative, as in having a Filipino named the fairest of them all on earth or in the universe, makes one feel proud to be part of a particular race or nation.
Crowning one beauty means crowning the country, its people that one young woman stands for.
Her reign may expire after a year, but a winning contestant’s title is immortalized. The Filipinos particularly have a prolonged admiration for its “beau-con” personalities, which is an advantage for these towering queens who commonly dabble into modelling, hosting, or acting.
And it’s a fact that beauty queens turned showbiz beauties are not rare in the industry, some have become icons as PEP.ph reckons in a 2008 feature article. (CLICK HERE to read related story)
As an update on and tribute to beauty pageants, in particular the Binibining Pilipinas, which continues to strongly produce beauty queens in its golden year, PEP.ph names the top Binibining Pilipinas pageant winners who have successfully made a name in showbiz.
(CLICK HERE to view gallery).