RECAP: Cebu celebrates the Filipina beauty in Binibining Cebu 2020
When people, pride, purpose, and passion fuel a vision, the outcome is usually nothing short of spectacular. This is what powers the Binibining Cebu pageant in finding the modern Cebuana who represents and promotes all that the province has to offer.
In three short years, outstanding winners and excellent production have propelled this regional pageant into one of the most anticipated events in the Philippine pageant scene.
On January 13, 2020, 54 candidates representing the 44 towns and 9 cities of Cebu competed for Binibining Cebu 2020 crown at the Waterfront Hotel Cebu & Casino, Cebu City. It was hosted by OJ Cimafranca and Maria Gigante.
The winners were:
- Binibining Cebu 2020 : Beatrice Luigi Gomez (San Fernando)
- Binibining Cebu Tourism 2020 : Ameena Allababidi (Cordova)
- Binibining Cebu Charity 2020 : Betty Davis (Cebu City North)
- Binibining Cebu Heritage 2020 : Marla Alforque (Carcar)
- Binibining Cebu Ecology 2020 : Amanda Basnillo (Dalaguete)
Unapologetically a beauty pageant
Binibining Cebu’s production is unapologetically a pageant for true pageant afficionados. The grand production numbers, the spectacular stage, the swimsuits, and the gowns all scream beauty pageant. The Top 21 Semifinalists competed in the swimsuits provided by Paulina by Mikee Andrei.
One unique portion of the Binibining Cebu is the Top 12 Evening Gown Competition, wherein all the candidates wear the same gown. This year, it was a metallic gold mermaid gown by Cary Santiago. The benefit of this practice allows the beauty of the candidates to shine equally. The disadvantage, of course, is that a particular silhouette may not be as flattering on some women as it is on others. At the end of the day, the candidate has to work it and make the judges feel they are the most beautiful and confident on stage.
Binibining Cebu 2020 Bea Gomez was a standout from the Preliminary Competition and the Finals with her statuesque physique, charm, and authenticity. She also won Best in Swimwear, Miss Foton, and Miss Bodywork Medical Spa. Bea is 24 years old, a former athlete, and currently manages a gym, which is why youth empowerment through sports is her main advocacy. But she may end up being an adovcate for the LGBTQ community as well.
During the casual interview, questions were asked by random everyday Cebuanos and she was asked “What makes you beautiful?”
Bea responded: “I guess what makes me beautiful is my bravery in being true to myself. To tell you guys honestly I have a girlfriend and I have tattoos. I’m very proud of my imperfections. I guess that is what makes me beautiful.”
Bea is the first openly lesbian Filipina beauty queen. What makes Bea’s proclamation even more inspiring is her delivery. She was very straightforward. It's refreshing to see someone with a triumphant story that shows so much strength and character.
Binibining Cebu Tourism 2020 Ameena Allababidi (Cordova) quickly became a crowd favorite of the evening during one of the most entertaining and candid Q&A’s. She was very candid, answered in a very non-pageant way, and was filled with youthful exuberance. Ameena made everyone in that ballroom laugh along with her. She answered with so much personality backed up with substance.
The main theme of the night was about dreams. The final question asked the candidates how they can inspire little children to never stop dreaming. Ameena Allababidi said that she would be the bridge between institutions and the less fortunate to address their needs. B
ut she ended it with a very powerful message not typically mentioned in pageants: “Always be your own hero and save yourself.”
Graced by Gray
Behind the scenes, the eruption of Taal Volcano forced the closure of NAIA and cancellation of flights. Past midnight of the 13th, many of the media, judges, and guests were contacted by the Binibining Cebu Organization to inform them of new flight schedule departing in Clark International Airport.
Thanks to this very efficient and quick decision-making of the organization, Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray made it to the event. She sang Aretha Franklin’s iconic song “Natural Woman," much to the delight of the audience. Many of the candidates were visibly overwhelmed with joy to see Catriona Gray up close and on stage with them.
New Cobonpue designed crowns
No less than Kenneth Cobonpue gave the Binibining Cebu court crowns that much needed modern sophistication and chicness.
This year, the Binibining Cebu 2020 court queens have the distinction of being the first to wear the Kenneth Cobonpue designed crowns. Sleek, elegant, and stylish crowns capturing the essence of the titles with an unmistakable Cobonpue modernity.
The original Binibining Cebu crown used since 2017 and designed by Cary Santiago has been retained for the continuity of the tradition.
Aside from the one-of-a-kind crowns, the winners receive a hefty prize that dwarfs even some national pageants:
- Binibining Cebu 2020: P500,000 Cash and P300,000 in kind
- Binibining Cebu Tourism 2020: P300,000 Cash and P100,000 in kind
- Binibining Cebu Charity 2020: P200,000 Cash and P50,000 in kind
- Binibining Cebu Heritage 2020: P100,000 Cash
- Binibining Cebu Ecology 2020: P75,000 Cash
The 2020 Binibining Cebu Judging Panel included Miss Globe 2015 Ann Colis, singer Donna Cruz-Larrazabal, Architect Royal Pineda, Pinoy Big Brother Unlimited winner Slater Young, Police Brigadier General Valeriano de Leon, Shoe designer Jojo Bragais, Sash Factor blogger Adam Genato, and the author.
The Binibining Cebu Organization
Perhaps one of the reasons that set the Binibining Cebu Organization apart from others is their understanding and compassion for the livelihood of the women. Although they have a long pageant calendar, the organization schedules activities during weekends so that the women can continue their employment or their studies.
They are also given a per diem or allowance that helps cover their transportation and other expenses during the pageant. This is definitely a practice that is disctinctly theirs.
The Binibining Cebu winners do no automatically compete in national pageants. The organization is not affiliated with any of the major national pageants at the moment. However, they have been very supportive of their candidates who choose to compete nationally.
So far, the highest placement in a national pageant is Bb. Cebu Tourism 2017 Samantha Ashley Lo, who competed and won Bb. Pilipinas Grand International 2019. Should this year’s batch choose to compete nationally, they will be ones to look out for.
Seeing the enormous success and the quality of the production of the Binibining Cebu Pageant leads one to believe that it has existed for decades. Yet Binibining Cebu is only on its third year and it clearly has out classed some of the country’s national pageants.
They are forward thinkers who are deeply grounded in passion, driven by purpose and rooted in the Cebuano pride. These are the key elements that propel the Binibining Cebu Organization led by its Creative Director, Kenneth Cobonpue. Yes, that’s right. The world renowned furniture designer is the creative force behind this organization, alongside world class Filipino fashion designer Cary Santiago.
The Binibining Cebu Pageant is presented by the Bb. Sugbu Foundation, Inc. headed by the Sacred Heart School for Boys Batch 1985 Foundation, Inc., with Anthony Ting as Foundation President, Natasha Manuel as Executive Director, Raymond Tio as Project Chairman and Shad Crisostomo as Project Coordinator.
With the power of social media, Binibining Cebu is able to “promote the beauty, heritage, culture and commerce of the towns and cities of Cebu.” Every candidate has a short video about her hometown or city showcasing its beauty and tourism.
In its future editions, Binibining Cebu is planning to open its doors to Filipinas or those with Filipino heritage living oversees or anywhere else in the country. Its primary aim is to promote tourism and Cebu to the entire country and to the world. So having these women ambassadors will be greatly beneficial for the province’s tourism industry.
The year 2020 will be a very unpredictable year filled with changes in the Philippine pageant scene. We do not know which pageant franchises will end up with which national pageant. We do not know if this rigodon of crowns will be beneficial for the Filipina beauty queens and our placements in the international scene.
What we do know is that a regional pageant such as the Binibining Cebu pageant has shown that even in its infancy, it can produce a national level quality pageant because it has the right people in place who are passionate, have purpose and want nothing more than to empower Filipinas to reach their dreams. – Rappler.com
Voltaire has 10 years experience in the fashion industry. He previously worked with a luxury clothing and accessories brand in Los Angeles, CA. He graduated magna cum laude from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, major in Fashion Design. He also holds a BS in Applied Economics and BS in Marketing from DLSU. He is now doing real estate but finds ample spare time to pursue his passions.