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A BEAtiful Cebu

by Allain Dumon Fonte

For every tourist that I have met who have visited Cebu, there are three common things that they find most beautiful:  the weather, the beaches, and the women.  Cebu’s weather has always been favourable to travelers who are touring around Cebu; the sun can be strikingly hot, but the cool breeze of the island entices visitors to stay longer.  The beaches in Cebu are always voted the best in Asia; and some beaches, like the Bas Daku in Moalboal, is even voted as one of the best in the world. This is the reason why Cebu has been graciously hosting an average of 1.1 million tourists every year.  Our waters are not just crystal clear; they are also the home of the most exotic corals and the most interesting array of tropical sea life. Finally, when it comes to the women in Cebu, they are undeniably what they mean to as “beauty, body, and brains”.  The women in Cebu do not just charm you with their smiles, but they can delight you with their wits.  From beauty queens like the Miss Universe-Philippines 2019, Gazini Ganados, to music and art geniuses like the world-renowned pianist, Madam Ingrid Sala Santamaria; and, even business tycoons like Robina Gokongwei-Pe, the Cebuana excels above all.

Binibining Cebu 2020 Beatrice Luigi “Bea” Gomez

Last night at the Grand Ballroom of the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino, a Cebuana was crowned and hailed as the fairest of them all at the Binibining Cebu 2020 pageant.  Competing with 54 other beauties, Beatrice Luigi “Bea” Gomez, representing the municipality of San Fernando, bested them all.

Bea is a professional model for AD models homme et femme talent management.  At a very young age of 21, she has already enriched her background in leadership; serving as a protocol officer for the former mayor of the city of Mandaue, Hon. Gabriel Luis Quisumbing.  After her stint in public service, Bea manages a fitness center and continued modeling, on the side.  Working for Dexter Alazas, a Cebu-based fashion entrepreneur, Bea’s modeling career took off to greater heights, and she became a highly sought-after brand ambassador; from retail and shopping brands like The Metro to hotels like The Maayo Chain of Hotels, Bea’s beauty has become a brand landmark.

At 24 years old, just like her answer to the final question in the pageant, Bea is self-sufficient.  The final question was very apt for her because even if she was raised by a single mom, this did not stop her from setting her goals and achieve them.  Bea was an athletic scholar in college, but temporarily put her college degree on hold after being offered a job as a protocol officer for the city mayor.  Bea makes sure that she grabs every opportunity that comes her way, and seize the moment.  This is what she wants to share to the children; that we can be independent and self-sufficient by recognizing opportunities and not let them pass.  What is also admirable about Bea is her honesty and being true to herself.   She is very proud to admit that she is in a same-sex relationship and she believes that love should not be labeled.  She believes that love should make us happy; regardless of sex, race, religion, and colour, love should bring out the best in us.  She wants to inspire people to be true and honest to themselves because in accepting of who and what we are, we attain freedom and inner peace.  Moreover, Bea believes that the only way to start accepting and appreciating other people is by accepting and appreciating our true selves, first.

Bea will now be busy with her duties as Binibining Cebu until 2021; but she always dreamed of starting her own business.  She wants to set up her own events management company.  When I asked her if she is doing it right after her Bb. Cebu duties, Bea responded:

“I think it would be really nice to start up my own business but I have to be wise enough to invest in something that I am really sure of; especially that businesses are risky, and I don’t feel very secure yet.  So, the idea of starting up my own business is exciting at the same time also intimidating.  We will see about that next year.”

Bea just wants to be focused with Bb. Cebu for now; and, probably a property investment, which she aims before turning 30 years old.  She wants to make sure that her business investment must be a very well-calculated risk.

Bea also won the best in swimwear award and two other minor awards during the pageant.  Her Binibining Cebu 2020 court includes Bb. Cebu Ecology Amanda Basnillo (Dalaguete), Bb. Cebu Heritage Marla Alforque (Carcar City), Bb. Cebu Charity Betty Davis (Cebu City North), and Bb. Cebu Tourism Ameena Allababidi (Cordova).  It was truly BEAtiful night for Bea, and we wish her more success as she represents Cebu to the world; making our islands not just a first class province but a world-class destination.  As the song goes “the beauty of the south, simply Cebuana.”

Culture

Maayo Hotel to hold Sinulog 2020 Activities

Ringing the year with a bang, Cebu’s first and only wellness hotel, Maayo Hotel brings Cebuano tradition and culture to life with its lineup of activities for Sinulog 2020.

Maayo Hotel prepares a feast for a wonderful culinary journey at Uma Restaurant in time for Sinulog Festival through Kumbira: A Cebuano Heritage Cuisine Feast. Have a fill of the different featured dishes around Cebu for an amazing food trip. It is priced at Php 750 net per person during lunch and Php 870 net on dinner.

Capture the ritual prayer dance and music to celebrate the Sinulog Festival in honor of Cebu’s Sr. Sto Niño. Catch Mandaue City School for the Arts Dance Troupe at Maayo Main Lobby on January 18 from 1:00 pm-3:00 pm and 6:00 pm-8:00 pm and on January 19 from 7:00 am to 9:00 am.

Light up the night and dress to illuminate in neon or white at Maayo Hotel’s Annual Sinulog Roof Deck party this coming January 18, Saturday. Dance the night away with some of the renowned DJs in the metro. Have a glowing-good time together with your friends and family! Tickets are sold for Php 300 net per person with a round of drink and Open Bar tickets are sold at Php 1,100 net per person.

For reservations and inquiries, call Maayo Hotel at (032) 517 0200 or follow them on their social media pages on Facebook and Instagram @maayohotels.

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Eats

MAAYOng Pasko in Maayo Hotel

Take delight in the pleasures of the Yuletide season. Make way for a #MAAYOngPasko and celebrate Christmas with your family and friends. Holiday moments deserve a gratifying feast here at Maayo Hotel. Mark your calendars for this season’s good deals!

Starting December 16-30, 2019 guests can enjoy a festive Christmas Lunch and Dinner Buffet with popular Christmas specialty dishes alongside an international buffet spread at Uma Restaurant. Eat to your heart’s content and revel in this wonderful season. This offer is priced at Php 999 net per person inclusive of free-flowing chilled juices and drink. It is available by lunch from 12:00nn to 2:30pm and by dinner from 6:00pm to 10:00pm.

Celebrate Christmas Eve and Christmas Day through Maayo Hotel’s Christmas Delights. Savor on an international lunch and dinner buffet spread featuring all-time Noche Buena favorites. Create heart-warming moments as you dine together with your loved ones this holiday season. Christmas Delights is priced at Php 1,100 net per person from December 24-25, 2019 only. It is available by lunch from 12:00nn to 2:30pm and by dinner from 6:00pm to 10:00pm.

Feel that Christmas Spirit with a meaningful serenade by a Christmas Choir. Have yourself enjoy the music of the Yuletide season given to us by The Tuners—composed of some alumni from the University of the Visayas Chorale. Hear them sing at Uma this December 16 and 24 at 12:00nn and 6:30pm, respectively.

And finally, meet the merriest man this Christmas. Kids and kids at heart can be merry as they meet and greet Santa Claus at the Maayo Hotel Main Lobby this December 21-24 from 4pm to 8pm only. Little ones can have their photos taken with the jolly old man—for free!

For table reservations and inquiries, call us at (032) 517 0200, email us at reservations@maayohotels.com or follow us on our social media pages in Facebook and Instagram @maayohotelcebu.

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Entertainment

Will Philippines’ Gazini Ganados Conquer the Universe?

by Allain Dumon Fonte

There are only two international events that can stop traffic in the Philippines; a Manny Pacquiao match, and the annually awaited Miss Universe pageant.  This year, the Miss Universe pageant is hosted by USA, and will be staged at the Tyler Perry studios in Atlanta, Georgia.  Steve Harvey will still be hosting the pageant alongside Miss Universe 2012, Olivia Culpo, and American-Filipino actress and super model, Vanessa Lachey.  Because beauty pageants have a massive following in the Philippines, everyone is excited and are preparing for the pageant as it unfolds tonight at Fox Channel for US territories and at Telemundo Channel for the Latin American region.  Pageant enthusiasts could not wait for the pageant to unfold after seeing the preliminary competition yesterday; some have already organized a pay-per-view live screening with their friends. A number of beauty salons and fashion houses in the Philippines have already informed their clientele that they will be closed on Monday morning for the Miss Universe pageant.  For those who have work on Monday, they have already processed their off-days; while some expressed that they might call-in sick for work.

Last year, the Philippines conquered the Universe for the fourth time with Catriona Gray.  With Gloria Diaz (1969), Margarita Moran (1973), and Pia Wurtzbach (2015), the Philippines is considered a power house in the pageant world; and, beauty experts who study the symmetry of physical features have ranked the Philippines as the second country with the most beautiful women, after Venezuela that was ranked first.  This year’s Philippine representative is a Cebuana beauty, Gazini Christiana Jordi Ganados.  Gazini is the third Cebuana to represent the Philippines in the Miss Universe pageant, after Pilita Corrales’ cousin, Mary Ann Corrales (1957) and Pilar Pilapil (1967).  With the reigning Miss Universe, Catriona Gray, from the Philippines, the weight and pressure are on Gazini’s shoulders.

During the preliminary competition, Gazini surely has put her best foot forward with a national costume that is worthy of being a museum-piece for the MET, and a gold long gown, all designed by Cary Santiago.  The intricacy and the labor-intensive workmanship of her gown will surely get the attention of the crowd; yet, is it fitting her well? Her gown received several comments from netizens and pageant followers. Although many have commented that her evening gown is stunning, many netizens have also commented that Gazini’s motions seem restricted with the dress, and that she was not able to give her best catwalk.  I, personally, find her long gown very stiff and has too much going on.  I feel that the judges and the crowd will be drawn to the dress more than to the beauty of Gazini.  I believe that instead of her carrying the dress, the dress is carrying her.   While her national costume is no doubt a show-stealer, Gazini seem struggling with the weight of the dress.   So, the big question is, will Gazini bring a back-to-back win for the Philippines?

Tati Fortuna (photo courtesy of escariofortuna.com)

Tati Fortuna, an image and style expert from New York and managing director to the Escario-Fortuna fashion and image consultancy, believes that Gazini has got what it takes to be the next Miss Universe.  According to Miss Fortuna,

“Gazini has a great styling team. They are on point with her hair and make up. She always looks polished. She also has a good mix of outfits for her activities. Wears the right colors for her skin tone. I specifically like the stylized tuxedo she wore – she comes across as very well prepared. I’m excited to see her being crowned as Miss Universe 2020.” -Tati Fortuna

Harley Ruedas

Fashion designer and an avid fan of the Miss Universe, Harley Ruedas, believes that every Miss Universe aspirant should always have high hopes and high spirits to keep them going throughout the pageant because the pageant can be very stressful and draining.  For Ruedas, Gazini has the same spirits that Pia had during her pageant night, and Gazini is also as focused as Catriona.  Ruedas said that aside from Gazini’s good looks, her passion and her eyes on the goal are her stronger forces to win the crown.  Ruedas added, “her dedication in taking care of the elderly is something that could touch the hearts of the judges because a true queen is someone who is willing to sacrifice to reach out to those who are in need.”

Speaking of judges for this year’s Miss Universe, the panel have been selected and it will be an all-women panel.  With former Miss Universe winners in the panel, Paulina Vega (2014) and Riyo Mori (2007), the selection can be very tough.  Other members in the selection committee are Venezuelan actress, Gabi Espino; American marketing executive, Bozoma Saint John; former Miss America and juris doctor candidate at Georgetown University Law Center, Cara Mund; lifestyle blogger, Sazan Hendrix; and American actress, host, and Miss USA 2008, Crystle Stewart.

Dr. Mark Tenchavez

Proprietor and Senior Arts Director of Shandar shoes and accessories (Gazini’s official pageant footwear designer), Dr. Mark Tenchavez, commented that the selection committee will also matter; most especially if one of the judges shares the same interest with the candidate.  According to Dr. Tenchavez that a back-to-back win is almost impossible at the Miss Universe, except for Venezuela who did it once.  However, Dr.  Tenchavez expresses confidence in Gazini’s win because most of the members in the selection committee are beauty queens who run their own charities; and Gazini, being passionate and vocal with her charity, will surely win the interest of the judges.  Dr. Tenchavez said that Gazini must not let her guards down and must be focused all the time, since she already got the votes of many Filipinos and pageant supporters worldwide with her performance at the preliminary competition.

Peter Sereno (photo courtesy of ph.asiatatler.com)

Australian beauty pageant coach and branding expert, Peter Sereno, shared his thoughts on Gazini’s chances.  Sereno believes that her face and stage presence are her strengths.  While beauty queen and super model, Bee Urgello, agrees with Sereno that Gazini’s beauty is very unique and captivating.  Urgello is very hopeful for Gazini and she wishes that Gazini can overcome her shyness.  Urgello said, “Gazini is very sweet.  She may look fierce on the runway, but she is very shy in person, and I hope that she can overcome it.”  To show her support, Urgello is hosting a live screening of the Miss Universe pageant tomorrow at 7:00 in the morning at the Marco Polo Plaza Hotel.

Bee Urgello

Different experts, different comments; but, it all boils down to our common goal, which is Gazini’s win for the Miss Universe.  Whether she wins or not, she surely has raised our flag high.  The Miss Universe pageant will be aired live at 8:00 in the morning tomorrow in the Philippines, and at 8:00 in the evening tonight in Atlanta.

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