Miss Manila 2010: ‘A cockfight entertainment’

Community News & Features Jun 16, 2010 at 1:54 pm

The Miss Manila Beauty Pageant 2010 appeared to have the right ingredients to produce an elegant and beautiful event: prominent sponsors and judges, decent venue, good schedule programming and pretty candidates. Except for one major thing, many guests went home with an indelible experience and a haunting question: What went wrong?


By mid afternoon of May 29th, the atmosphere at the Korean Cultural Centre in Toronto was already buzzing with activities. Outside the hall, families and friends were waiting anxiously; participants can be seen preparing their costumes while others were having their meals at the parking lot. Eleven candidates were assembled at around 5:00 p.m. for a preliminary interview by 13 judges who took turns talking to each one.

The program started on time. Lo and behold! All the candidates came out with an authentic Pacific costume followed by their stunning casual outfits. Most of them can hardly be recognized with all the heavy make-up, well-coiffed hairdo and artificial lashes. Indeed, each candidate was transformed into a lovely princess. A thunderous applause engulfed the entire hall coupled with loud cheers, and teasing whistles from young boys.

Unfortunately, a technical problem with the microphone did not do justice to the candidates’ lovely appearance. No one seemed to bother to rectify the problem in spite of some guests pointing their ears in a hopeless effort to let a technician check the sound system.

The Question and Answer portion became the event’s highlight and a display of wits. As the 13 judges gazed pensively on each candidate and taking notes, young teens in the audience were like hawks ready to take siege on their prey. Like in a rehearsed script, when a candidate’s name was called, the supporters cheered in unison and pompously showed off their banners. With the element of a musical concerto that slowly ascends to momentum, the supporter’s euphoria increased by every moment too – at the expense of other guests who already showed signs of discomfort.


While the judges were deliberating and everyone anxiously waiting for the winner’s proclamation, the male host gradually started his “cockfight” stint. Addressing the excited crowd, he yelled, “Who will vote for No 2?” The crowds cheered, stomped their feet, banged the chairs. Pleased with the young crowd’s heightened emotions, he went on with his supposedly “entertaining break”. But for other guests, it was not entertaining at all. It was “disruptive”. Some people slowly walked out from the hall, perhaps too overwhelmed by with the noise. His lady co-host smiled wryly but had to show her support for the unscripted ad lib. Regardless of whose number he called, it was very obvious that there were only two camps competing with each other.

As the rowdiness increased, some guests appeared disgusted, others had cynical smiles, and some were stunned while others were simply shaking their heads (perhaps a feeling of surrender to the hopelessness of the situation?). The young crowd, however, was enjoying. After all, it is believed that their behavior had the blessings of the male host.

The following day, it was not surprising when a news report from a USA daily carried the headline: “Ms Manila 2010: A Rowdy Search for a Beauty & Brains Filipina.”

News reporter Romeo Marquezwrote: “…. The kids were having fun. Except that their fun was not funny at all. Their shrill was uncalled for, annoying and disrespectful….They roared every time their candidates’ names were called. They cheered and jeered as each candidate approached the microphone. ….

“Once the candidates opened their mouths to speak, the kids in the audience stomped their feet, shook their chairs, sat and stood, flashing banners and posters of their candidates.

“With so many young people finding ways to expend their energies, this beauty contest was a misguided target of their enthusiasm. They were venting, for sure.

“The sad part was when one rowdy group tried to drown out the other in what might as well be a shouting match.

“ In truth, they have practically taken over the contest itself, their uproar reverberating throughout the entire selection process.”


Was Miss Manila 2010 considered a cockfight event? Ms Tess Cusipag, chairman of the said pageant replied to the above article: “Pageants are always noisy. These are classmates and friends of the candidates and we encourage them. That is their way of enjoying themselves and how they support their candidates. We always advise candidates to invite more people to cheer for them. It is always like a cock fight, noisy but for us organizers, we are happy that they enjoy it. They paid $25 to watch. For a student that is a lot of money so we just let them have a good time.”

Good time? It is considered by some critics as worse than a boxing match or a rock concert. Evelyn Pagkalinawan, an active community leader believes that adults should serve as role models in guiding the young people to behave according to the appropriate occasion.

“I do not agree that a pageant has to be treated like a cockfight neither do I accept such rowdy behavior whether they are young or old. A beauty pageant ought to be treated with elegance.” Pagkalinawan said.

“The pageant may be entertaining, but its audience had to treat the candidates with utmost respect. They can cheer and applaud but not to be disrespectful.” echoed Julie Asfur of Fort Erie.

One 14-year old girl who refused to be identified defended her unruly action and said, “Well we were not supposed to scream but we saw everyone doing it so we did the same.”

When Cusipag was asked to explain further about the pageant’s “cockfight comparison,” she was quick in replying that the crowd’s action was normal in every Filipino-sponsored pageant and that “we are in Canada so we need to change our conservative outlook and learn to adapt the Canadian way Adding, “One should watch the other Filipino pageants in Canada, they are worst than us!”

Rosemer Enverga, one of the organizers of the PIDC (Philippine Independence Day Council) beauty contest, vehemently denies any close similarity with the Ms Manila pageant. She said, “Yes, the crowd in our pageant cheer but they do not jeer. They show excitement but it is not rowdy.”Ayet Evangelista of Belo Essentials who attended the event said, “In fairness to the organizers, the organizers treated the candidates fairly. I just found the crowd rowdy and uncontrollable. Sad to say, it did not reach my expectations for a supposedly elegant beauty pageant. In fact, my friend who came in a formal outfit had to change to something more rugged upon seeing the crowd.”

Referring to some of the guest’s agitation, Evangelista added, “the guest sitting next to me was angry because he cannot hear anything. There was so much screaming, she told me, ‘ano ba ito, parang perya (what is this, it is like a circus).”

“Daig pa ang Wowowie” (referring to a famous noontime variety show in the Philippines), commented another guest.

“I think parents need to be very selective and do their homework before letting them join any beauty pageant to avoid further disappointments,” said Norma Kehoe, a resident of St Catharines who used to pursue various entertainment events in USA. She agrees that a beauty pageant is a search for ladies that embody grace, beauty and intelligence and that regardless of the budget, organizers pursuing such quest should provide an elegant affair. “Organizers and the crowd then need to project the appropriate beauty pageant image event based on these guidelines,” Kehoe added.