Cancel Miss Cebu tilt for the right reasons

By: Malou Guanzon Apalisok July 04,2016 - 10:20 PM

Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña has ordered the scrapping of the Miss Cebu beauty pageant in line with his administration’s cost-cutting measures.

The beauty tilt which has an annual budget of P300,000 is handled by the Cebu City Tourism Commission in coordination with the Sinulog Foundation. Tommy described the beauty contest as “elitist” and “only for the rich”.

I welcome Mayor Tommy’s move of setting his priorities right, but he may be scrapping the event for the wrong reasons.

When he said the P300,000 is a waste of money, did he mean the beauty tilt failed to deliver in its goal of enhancing the city’s tourism program?

Quantifying the impact of Miss Cebu in terms of its avowed objective would be complicated. Besides one cannot simply analyze on the basis of a single program like the Miss Cebu tilt. Its outcome on the tourism industry has to be evaluated in the context of other factors like peace and order, good infrastructure including access to telecommunication services, as well as sufficient and better than good service in government agencies and tourist-oriented facilities.

The goodwill generated by a well-run public utility to local and foreign visitors, service by a genial parking assistant or an honest cabbie, who in their personal ways contribute to the success of the beauty program, would be hard to compute.

“Experiential tourism” is the in-thing among tourists because they remember engagement with locals more than the white beaches, exotic food and dreamy hotels.

On the other hand, it is no secret the business sector also contributes hugely for the program, through sponsorships in exchange for media values in ads via numerous media platforms. Top that with ticket sales on presentation and coronation nights and you have an idea why Cebu City is holding this money-making machine of an extravaganza year in and year out.

If there’s a good reason to scrap the Miss Cebu tilt for the time being, it would be to focus all our attention and resources, both private and public, to restoring order in the city.

The deaths of high profile drug lords and the surrender of small-time drug peddlers and addicts have made us realize how terrible really the drug problem is. For those who perceive narco-politics as just a fluffy term, this is it, in the way drug syndicates have pierced our law enforcement agencies and bought off politicians to look the other way.

These past few days, Cebu City, including the cities of Mandaue and Talisay, has experienced flash floods due to incessant rains. We tend to blame local governments for failing to address the drainage problem, or the lack of political will in demolishing illegal structures along riverbanks and canals. But let’s face it, we are also to blame for throwing away garbage recklessly, especially plastic materials that end up in waterways that clog the drainage system. These problems have bedeviled the city for many years now, but some quarters are still assessing solutions in the context of BO-PK or Team Rama.

The scrapping of the Miss Cebu tilt should be in the context of a “call to arms” — the way President Digong is seizing the mood of the population to put finis to corruption and the drug problem.

Mayor Osmeña can ride on the national pulse by calling on all Cebuanos to act collectively on a host of serious problems before they take over our city.

* * *

Of all the food fare offered to VIPs and guests who attended the inaugural of President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte, the lowly maruya or banana fritters has gotten the biggest attention. A Manila columnist wrote on the subject and referred to the Pinoy dessert as a “social metaphor” by the new Chief Executive.

I still think that if there’s a symbol to be had out of the food served during the inaugural, the one that makes the grade is the sautéed mongos soup with strips of smoked fish laced with alogbati.

The simple mongo dish, either sautéed in garlic and onions mixed with small slices of pork or simply boiled with shrimps and served with alogbati, kangkong or malunggay is an all-time favorite of ordinary Filipinos. When I’m in the mood to cook, I add ginger and squash to this comfort food.

The simple lifestyle of President Digong is very endearing. He is familiar with survival strategies of the majority of Filipinos, like meals with one viand. I bet he is not one to complain if he is served with bahaw (kanin lamig) or rice cooked the previous day eaten with another of his favorite, inun-unan or fish boiled in vinegar.

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TAGS: beauty pageant, cancel, Cebu, Cebu City, Cebu City Tourism Commission, Miss Cebu, pageant, Tomas Osmeña

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