I was never one for beauty pageants be it Binibining Pilipinas, Miss Gay or the slew of male pageants that seem to pop up in every corner where some not so goodlooking shrimp is willing to strut around in a bikini. This is the reason why I do not attend nor watch these pageants unless I absolutely have to (i.e. coverage).
The latest Binibining Pilipinas though had one element worth looking into (No, it isn't Xian Lim although I'm sure he was his usual dashing self there) - Risa Hontiveros as one of the board of judges. Much like the time when Lea Salonga was seated as one of the judges for the 2011 Miss Universe Pageant, I was more interested to know her thoughts than all of the candidates combined :))
Here is what she posted on the recently concluded Binibining Pilipinas pageant:
Was a judge in the Binibining Pilipinas pageant last night.
I have to admit that I started to overdose during the swimsuit competition, hehe; being a woman, too, I thought that many of the candidates were sexy, and after a while, I started to get confused about whom to select as best in swimsuit.
I translated the question I was given for the Q&A portion because I think the candidates should be allowed to understand, think about and answer their respective question in the language they're most comfortable in.
If I could have asked my own question, I would have asked: Should women be allowed to learn about family planning, including the use of contraceptives? The Binibining Pilipinas would have been a wonderful platform to amplify the public conversation about the Reproductive Health bill.
Or I could have asked: Would you support transgender women competing in the Binibining Pilipinas? For me, a transgender woman is a woman, and if her dream is to become a beauty queen, she should have equal opportunity to that. As Simone de Beauvoir said, One is not born a woman; one becomes one.
In the end, we affirm that we value women not only for how we look outside, but how we are inside. To the queens, runners-up and other candidates of Binibining Pilipinas last night, mabuhay kayo! To all other young Filipinas creating your selves and shaping the world, tuloy ang paglalakbay, mga kabaro!
Bit of a trivia, Risa Hontiveros shared the stage with Lea Salonga (plus Monique Wilson and Menchu Launchenco-Yulo) playing the Von Trapp children in Repertory's Sound of Music. Spot them on the video below.