INCLUSIVITY and acceptance for members in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community were at the forefront in the 2019 Bangus Sireyna gay beauty pageant with the theme: “Be gay, be loved, be respected.”
Some 20 candidates, all from the city, competed against each other in terms of beauty, poise, bearing and intelligence in the competition held on the evening of May 1.
During the Question and Answer portion of the competition, candidates were given an opportunity to discuss issues and problems commonly encountered by the LGBTQ community.
Jeanica Santiago, a freelance makeup artist, bagged the title as 2019 Bangus Sireyna when she relayed her experiences with negative stereotypes in gay pageantry.
“People would judge me for being a ‘plus size’, but joining pageants was one way that I could prove to myself that they were wrong. Beauty pageants allows us to showcase our God-given skills, talents and intelligence, but it’s also an avenue where we can develop and grow to become the best versions of ourselves,” said Santiago.
For her confidence and beauty, Santiago received P10,000 cash prize along with the title. She also received P2,000 as Best in Festival Costume and other minor awards such as Miss Kawaii Spa and Miss Skinful Wishes Global 2019.
Kaycee Villanueva received P7,000 as this year’s first runner-up while also bagging two special awards amounting to P2,000 each, as Best in Swimwear and Best in Evening Gown.
Meanwhile, second runner-up Marvie Sabado received P6,000 as cash prize and P2,000 as Darling of the Crowd. She also received minor awards as Miss Maarte Fashion and Miss Elite Concepts Productions.
Airan Bautista and Arabella Manuel received P5,000 and P4,000 as third and fourth runners-up, respectively.
Elessiah Balolong also received a minor award as Smart Choice.
Top 10 finalists received a cash prize of P3,000 while non-winners were able to take home a consolation prize of P2,000 each.
As part of their inclusivity campaign, the candidates also led a cleanup activity along the coast of Tondaligan Blue Beach, Bonuan Gueset for their Pride Parade.
Their performance in this activity was also judged, in addition to other pageant categories such as Creative Costume, Swim Wear and Evening Wear.
GMA-7 artist Anthony Rosaldo entertained the candidates and guests during the competition.
In the same occasion, free HIV counseling and screening was also made available in the course of the program as part of the city’s continued efforts in raising awareness on HIV/AIDS.
Free HIV tests can also be readily availed at the City Health Office, with each case to be treated with utmost confidentiality in consonance with the law.
The Bangus Sireyna gay beauty pageant was chaired by Councilor Luis “Chito” Samson and was facilitated by Resty Fernandez and the Bangus Festival Committee.
It served as the concluding event of the 2019 Bangus Festival. The month-long festivities was headed by Mayor Belen T. Fernandez as honorary Chairperson, Executive Chairman Councilor Alvin Coquia and Vice Chairman Councilor Marvin Fabia. (Verdelle De Vera/CIO)
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