CULTURAL POTPOURRI| Lea May Sinsano, Mutya ng Tagum 2017

WITH the traffic owing to the construction of elevated cement roads leading to Tagum City, it was, indeed , a long ride than what I had earlier expected.  Happily, I hitched a ride in the van of Mr. & Mrs. Leo Luna who drove all the way to Tagum Tagumpay to support their beloved daughter, former Mutya ng Davao 2000 Lea May Luna-Panisales, who was invited to sit as judge in the Mutya ng Tagum 2017.  The long trip through dark streets was worth it after seeing the well lighted, modern architecture of steel and glass that is the New City Hall of Tagum.  Goodness, Tagum’s City Hall looks like and is planned like a mall complete with a spacious atrium for the City’s entertainment center.  What a strong contrast to Davao’s antiquated City Hall.

THE FULLY packed atrium of the New Tagum City Hall for the Coronation Night of Mutya ng Tagum 2017

THE FULLY packed atrium of the New Tagum City Hall for the Coronation Night of Mutya ng Tagum 2017

     Tagum is a first class city (yes, it has Jollibee unlike Monkayo) and is the capital of the Province of Davao del Norte.  Considered as the “most populous component city of Mindanao,” Tagum boasts of modern malls like Gaisano, NCCC and Robinsons Place. The booming city is declared as the “2017 Most Business Friendly-Local Government Unit of the Philippines.”  It is truly a dynamic city being led by its equally dynamic City Mayor Allan Lopez Rellon.  Yes, he’s the guy who implemented Tagum’s “Education for All” program.

TAGUM City Mayor Allan Lopez Rellon and Davao del Norte Gov. Anthony Garcia del Rosario

TAGUM City Mayor Allan Lopez Rellon and Davao del Norte Gov. Anthony Garcia del Rosario

     Upon arrival at the the New Tagum City Hall after a long and bumpy ride, we where immediately asked to go to an office on the third floor for a supposed judges’ orientation at 6:00 pm. Yes, no warm welcome from whoever was the officer-in-charge of the beauty pageant. It was another two-hour wait with no orientation coming from the harassed pageant director, Oca Casaysay.

MUTYA ng Tagum 2017 candidates in their Culture of Tourism Attires

MUTYA ng Tagum 2017 candidates in their Culture of Tourism Attires

     The beauty pageant started at the expected Pinoy time, yes an hour late.  It was good to finally see Davao del Norte Governor Anthony Garcia del Rosario with Tagum Mayor & Mrs. Allan Lopez Rellon; Tagum City Tourism Council Chairperson Marlene Rellon-Alastra; City Tourism, Trade & Investment Promotion Head Vicerjean M. Casiano; among other Tagum’s VIPs.

MARLENE Rellon-Alastra, Tagum City Tourism Council Chairperson

MARLENE Rellon-Alastra, Tagum City Tourism Council Chairperson

     The beauty pageant commenced with a lively dance production performed by the Tagum Dance Collective.  The young performers showcased Filipino martial arts in the promotion of a healthy lifestyle.  Then 13 of Tagum’s most beautiful women with a unique personality and a good heart to represent Tagum” coming from various barangays entered the stage wearing various colorful tribal costumes in the promotion of Tagum’s Culture of Tourism.  Each of the 13 candidates took their time to introduce themselves and talk about their Advocacy Project Proposal.

THE CANDIDATES in the Playsuit Competition

THE CANDIDATES in the Playsuit Competition

     Next came the Playsuit Competition where the candidates’ vital statistics were revealed to the audience.  This was followed by the Evening Gown Competition where the candidates donned wore stunning gowns generously supplied by Stunning Creations by Stunning Events and Weddings of Toffy Ledesma and partner.

THE CANDIDATES in Stunning Creations with violinist Jake Julenos Gacang

THE CANDIDATES in Stunning Creations with violinist Jake Julenos Gacang

     Resplendent in their evening gowns, the 13 candidates were narrowed down to the lucky five namely: Diune Andrea O. Bacena, Lea May Sinsano, Bianca Celo Igtanloc, Gien Josef P. Estrada and Andrea Jill G. Paraguas.  Host Rex del Rosario then individually asked the ladies the most important question of the evening:  “The ASEAN Region is a culturally diverse community.  Given the tough competition in the tourism industry of the region, how will you package Tagum City to promote and invite foreigners to come and enjoy here?”

     The first impressive response from the candidates came from the gorgeous Andrea Jill G. Paraguas, who is a registered nurse working at the Intensive Care Unit of the Medical Mission Group Hospital.  The young lady came prepared and was articulate in answering the question. But then the last candidate, Lea May Sinsano, a BS Elementary Education graduate and a licensed professional teacher, stood her ground and gave a better response and was more articulate that she was chosen and pronounced as the Most Eloquent Candidate right after the Q&A portion of the pageant.

MUTYA ng Tagum 2017 Lea May Sinsano (center) with her court

MUTYA ng Tagum 2017 Lea May Sinsano (center) with her court

     A special treat for the evening was the presence of Manila actor, model and musician, Dion Joseph Ignacio of GMA TV, who serenaded the beauty contestants on stage.  The young, mestizo StarStruck actor became popular for his role in GMA TV’s soap opera “Saan Darating ang Umaga.”  Not to be outdone, violinist Jake Julenos Gacang mightily performed his kind of music to the delight of the audience.

     After a nerve-wracking two hours on stage, the winning candidates were finally declared by 10:00 p.m.  Bianca Celo Igtanloc is Mutya ng Kaunlaran; Diune Andrea O. Bacena is Mutya ng Karunungan; Gien Josef P. Estrada is Mutya ng Turismo as well as Best in Cultural Tourism Attire and Best in Evening Gown; Andrea Jill G. Paraguas is Mutya ng Kalikasan, Miss Nature Spring, Best Smile and Best in Playsuit ; with the Mutya ng Tagum 2017 crown and Most Photogenic Award going to Lea May Sinsano.

THE JUDGES of Mutya ng Tagum 2017

THE JUDGES of Mutya ng Tagum 2017

     Congratulations to everybody in Tagum.  My special thanks to Ms. Marlene Rellon-Alastra for inviting me to sit as judge.  Thank you Lea May Luna-Panisales & family for the interesting time in Tagum.

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