MANILA, Philippines—Cebu’s Binibining Pilipinas candidate Joy Dacoron found herself in hot water recently when she trended online for her Sto. Niño national costume that earned the ire of many religious individuals, and ridicule from some netizens.
In an interview with the Inquirer, she profusely apologized for the incident, and appealed for understanding from the public.
“It was not my intention to desecrate our Señor Santo Niño. I deeply love our Señor. If you only knew the stories I could tell because of my faith in him that is so deep, I will tell them all,” she told the Inquirer at the sidelines of their rehearsals at the New Frontier Theater at the Araneta City in Quezon City on May 17, the day a deluge of feedback for her costume hit social media platforms.
“I wish you would understand how deep my faith is, and that I am proud to show it to everybody,” said the professional volleyball player from the province of Cebu. “Let’s all spread love, and have that faith in our heart that our connection with one another will remain, because only faith can unite us,” Dacoron continued.
The costume was designed by Bacolod-based designer Chino Ledesma Christopherson, and made use of the religious image’s vestments, making it appear as though Dacoron herself is the Child Jesus. It was unveiled on May 16 at the pageant’s national costume photo exhibit at the Gateway Mall at the Araneta City, and was posted on the pageant’s social media accounts. It has been taken down from online platforms as of May 17.
“My designer and I had this idea of making a national costume of Señor Santo Niño because we learned that we are both devotees of the Child Jesus,” she shared. She said both of them have their own stories of faith, with Christopherson observing an annual tradition of dressing up the image of the Child Jesus, and Dacoron leaning on the Santo Niño when she encountered a low point in her life last year.
Dacoron also said they were inspired by costumes presented in pageants in the previous years that depicted religious imagery on the stage. “Those costumes did not earn as much negative comments from people as mine had. There were a few, but it did not have much of a negative impact on our nation,” she explained.
The candidate said she realized it was wrong for her to use it on the national pageant stage. “It’s also a lesson for everybody. We have different ways of expressing our faith, so let’s do it properly that we do not trample on others,” she said.
“We can share our testimony, how it helped us. But then again, we need to consider how we can make people better understand what we’re trying to get across, capture their hearts and show them we have the same souls,” she continued.
Dacoron reiterated her apology to everybody who may have been offended by her display of faith on the national pageant stage, and extended her gratitude to the church leaders in Cebu for their understanding. An Instagram post showed photos of her in her costume inside a church.
“I am really sorry, I take full accountability for the mistake that I have committed. Thank you to everyone,” she said.
Dacoron is among the 40 official candidates competing in the 2023 Binibining Pilipinas pageant. The grand coronation night is scheduled on May 28 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum at the Araneta City. Reigning Miss International Jasmin Selberg is expected to make an appearance, with 2018 Miss Universe Catriona Gray returning as host for the third year in a row. Entertainer Vice Ganda is also set to perform. Tickets are now available at Ticketnet. /ra