CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Piqued by off-key singing by an all-male group of performers during the just-concluded Miss Cagayan de Oro coronation night, local officials called out organizers of the annual pageant and demanded higher standards from them.
“They were singing in opposite directions. The music was here, and the melody was going somewhere there,” said Councilor Edgar Cabanlas as he raised a question on the city’s official event standards before the city council on Monday, September 5.
Councilor Jay Pascual, the chairman of the city council’s tourism committee, said the local government did not have a direct hand in organizing the August 27 pageant.
The city government stopped organizing the annual Search for Miss Cagayan de Oro more than a decade ago, and the franchise has been passed on from one private organization to another. Its current franchise holder is a group led by Cagayan de Oro fashion icon Mags Cue who owns a chain of boutiques.
Traditionally held on the eve of the citywide celebration of the feast of Saint Augustine, Cagayan de Oro’s patron saint, the much-awaited pageant has been one of Cagayan de Oro’s biggest fiesta crowd drawers.
Video clips of the amateurish performance of an all-male group that serenaded the contestants during the pageant went viral on social media and resulted in online bashings.
Before that, they struggled with their solo numbers, singing flat and half notes before they did the boy band One Direction’s Little Things as a group finale.
The performers, although good-looking young men, were not professional singers – they won prizes in this year’s search for Mister International Philippines.
A member of the group is the son of one of the Miss Cagayan de Oro pageant organizers.
“The viewing public did not deserve that kind of performance. We are a billionaire city known for its economic growth, and respected even in other countries,” rued Cabanlas.
He said the city government alone spent some P400,000 for the event, and organizers solicited corporate and other sponsorships in the name of Cagayan de Oro.
The off-key singing was just one of the issues the city council tackled during its Monday session. Another was the prize amounts given to the pageant’s contestants and winners.
Cabanlas said he was appalled to learn that the top three winners were given P50,000 each while the others each received P10,000, amounts which the councilor saw were inappropriate given that the pageant was a major fiesta-related event and the kind of work that the contestants put into it.
Aside from bad singing and prizes, Cabanlas complained that the pageant started late, and it took time before the results were announced.
Pascual said he was also surprised that aside from newly-crowned Miss Cagayan de Oro-Universe Arianne Galenzoga, two other winners – April Angelus Barro and Cris Antoinette Teaño – would represent the city in upcoming national competitions.
He said local officials were unaware of the format change.
“They should have informed us. Making some changes without informing us and the public is the downside of this year’s festivities,” Pascual said. – Rappler.com