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Naga Smiles to the Earth

Is Steve Harvey coming? Oh sorry. That was Ms. Universe.

I suppose everyone’s excited. Naga is hosting Ms. Earth pageant. No, not the Ms. Earth Philippines with local candidates, the one with international candidates. Yes, this old city is hosting an international beauty pageant. Really? Naga? Now, we’re at par with Manila, Cebu, Boracay, Angeles City and all the host of cities that host international events. For the sake of curiosity, in its 18 years of annual beauty competitions, Miss Earth had been held out of the Philippines only twice; in Vietnam in 2010 and in Austria in 2015. The rest of the time, it has been held here, in the Philippines, most of the time at the UP Theater. So, close to 90% of the time, the international beauty pageant has been held locally. According to online sources, the organizers in Carousel productions have made several attempts to hold it outside the nation but had been unable to do so, due to flood in Bangkok, failure to submit requirements in Bali, Indonesia, and failure to meet requirements in Santiago, Chile.

To its credit, Ms. Earth is (in my opinion) the international beauty pageant with the most palpable advocacy of protection of the environment. I believe I have watched some portions of the show and environmental programs really do take prominence and not the showcase of physical feminine aesthetics. I don’t instantly get that from the more popular Ms. Universe and the other long standing pageants, Ms. World and Ms. International and the other ones that have propped up recently. I suppose they stand for some advocacy but a viewer could have a hard time getting it past the faces and flesh. I’m not sure if other international pageants have had the privilege of promoting respect for cultures by letting Ms. Tibet and Ms. Rwanda strut their stuff on the swimsuit competition fully clothed. Ms. Earth has done a good job of encouraging secluded nations, Bhutan and South Sudan make representation in the field of beauty competitions. For the Philippines, this is all too commonplace; but for unnoticed nations struggling for international recognition, that was a big boost.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Naga. I grew up here. Yes, this is all exciting for tourism and economy. But in the times that I have gone to JMR Coliseum, the acoustics were not very impressive and those big electric fans did not do a good job at ventilation. On the times I was there, I just wanted to get the event over with. Maybe it was the place or I’m simply a bore. News reports say that there would be around 90 candidates. Each of them would have their own entourage. In addition, we’ll be welcoming organizers, judges, media, and of course, audience. Do we have sufficient hotel rooms to meet international beauty pageant standards? I guess the resorts could open their doors. A news article indicated that hotels around the city could help in the accommodations. From what I know, what the adjacent municipalities could offer are modest hostels fit for transients staying for a night. Legazpi City would be a two to three ride away. On a regular day, a tricycle ride from downtown to CBD 2 would be an unbelievable annoyance for such a short distance. I could only imagine an exponential exasperation when guests supposedly come flooding in. One time during fiesta, I had a very hard time getting a vacant seat in SM Food Court. Anyway, there are a number of big malls now. Oh my, the dump at Balatas better not betray us when the candidates go on a night out along Magsaysay.

However, we could presume that the Carousel Productions in their almost two decades of holding this event have upon evaluation deemed the City of Naga with its smile to the world, worthy and ready to hold an occasion of such scale. Similarly, it is our presumption that the local government has judiciously assessed the city’s qualifications across all areas and sectors. Most probably, the authorities have already started conferences to discuss how we’ll all make way for this wave that will sweep across the city. The public would probably expect some modifications and innovations for the hosting of the event. So, the Peñafrancia Fiesta would be a quasi-dry run for the pageant the month after. Now, brief the public transport drivers. Fix the hotel rooms including their bars and restaurants. Make sure the food shops and the convenience stores have enough stock. Make the resorts ready. Cook up a massive amount of pili candy. . And let’s pray to the Lord no typhoon comes along at that time.

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.”May 22, 2017” Proverbs 31:30

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