A beauty pageant is a venue for Filipino women to showcase their unique personalities and talents but some organizers think otherwise.
Several HK-based Filipino organizations use beauty contests as a means to gain popularity and to raise funds. There were instances contestants need to borrow money to splurge on lavish costumes and expose flesh for entertainment
HK labor attaché Jalilo De la Torre wonders if beauty pageants can boost self-confidence among Pinays in Hong Kong. On his Facebook account, he urged accredited Filipino organizations to stop hosting insincere beauty pageants. He pointed out that any beauty contest should be decent, without tarnishing the image of the Filipino women. Filipino organizations should look after the welfare of OFWs in HK and enhance the cultural image of the Filipina as a whole. His recent call drew several mixed reactions from different Filipino community leaders, some agreed others did not.
Jesus the Living God Church Bishop Jerry Vallo express full support on De la Torre’s call, saying “it’s time to redeem the Filipinas’ integrity.”
The Filipino group leaders understood De la Torre’s appeal, but it could take time before Filipino organizations will discontinue this deep-rooted practice. Most beauty contest organizers like Leo Selomenio, Blanche Abasa and Bangar Association of Hong Kong Filipino group president Marites Nuval, giving up beauty pageants may not be possible at this time. Joining such beauty pageants greatly boosted the self-confidence among Pinay workers in Hong Kong according to Abasa.
In November 2018, there were reports that the Bangar Association paraded a group of 10 scantily clad women as part of a daring production named “Miss Hot Babe 2018.” The beauty contestants performed various indecent acts, including seductive dances while straddling poles irritating De la Torre that evening.
Some highly “entertaining” pictures taken by the official photographer were seen by several leaders of Filipino communities in Hong Kong. The pictures were obscene showing the contestants only wearing thongs and bikinis the entire evening in front of delighted, mostly, male crowd. De la Torre stressed out that the Filipino women were indecently exposed to social media platforms putting them to shame.
The organizer released a public apology after a brief meeting with De la Torre informing them about the growing complaints from the public. The Bangar Association president said she was sorry for what happened and promised not to repeat the incident. She also assured that the next contest will be wholesome and meaningful. De la Torre warned the Filipinos posting indecent pictures and videos could face stiff penalties of 1000HKD or imprisonment up to three years under Hong Kong federal laws.