July 15-16, 2013
Judging Del Carmen's Beauty Pageant and Street Dancing
GPS waypoint: N9.869338 E125.970426
Location: Municipality of Del Carmen, Island of Siargao, Province of Surigao del Norte
It was a case of being in the right place at the right time when I was invited to be judge at Del Carmen's beauty pageant and street dancing - two events highlighting its fiesta, the Bakhaw Festival 2013. In my short stay in Surigao City, this would be the 2nd time I would be judge to a beauty pageant. The first one was in Buenavista in one of the islands. I have long been a devoted admirer of the opposite sex. They are the most compelling testament to God's existence - they exude perfection that defies analysis...there must be a God! I find them infinitely fascinating. Indeed, I was in my comfort zone to appreciate them for charm, beauty and X-factor. Street Dancing? Let's just say I had to do interviews and a little research.
Municipality of Del Carmen
Easter Egg Town
At the outset, when our big boat was meandering through a thick mangrove forest, I was thinking, "there's a town inside this mangrove maze?". Finally when it cleared, the municipality of Del Carmen revealed itself. It was charming and almost like a throwback to more innocent times when people were decent and honest (ok, I'm romanticizing, but that's the initial impression).
Upon arrival at the Del Carmen municipality, we were picked-up by the Mayor's SUV (well, it had the "Mayor" plate) and brought to different houses and introduced to different people from the barangay, municipality and from tourism. On every level, we feasted on mouth-watering fiesta lunch. I particularly liked the 'beef hamonado'. The peculiar taste reminded me of an expensive snack when I was in grade school - Cow Label. I couldn't afford it then - my baon wouldn't do. I could only taste it when a rich classmate would buy one and I'd mooch. As a grown-up, I finally had my revenge by buying a 'rim' and gorged myself silly. Even my fart smelled Cow Label after that.
The Court Jester and the Queen
While being driven through town, I heard the local radio announce our arrival - mentioned us by names! They even repeated that announcement after every song...whoa! Riding on the mayor's SUV, hearing my name on the radio, being fed lavishly on every house...I was getting my 15 minutes and then some! Actually, I was just piggybacking on Ms. Roselyn Merlin - she's the Tourism Officer of Surigao City and a fellow judge. Had I not been with her, I'd be riding a pedicab and gorging on carinderia food!
Fiesta Food and Hospitality
Surigao is perhaps the perfect example of what a town fiesta is when it comes to food and hospitality. As visiting guests and judges, we were taken from one house to another in succession. There would be an avalanche of food and merry-making. It is true what a Davao doctor told me about Surigaonons - they are warm and carinoso (affectionate) - from the street vendor to the town mayor and everyone in between, you feel that 'lambing'.
The Professor and the Castaway
It's funny that I was initially introduced as the 'UP professor'. But when they learned I was also a Survivor Philippines castaway, the 'UP Professor' handle quietly slipped into oblivion and I was then introduced as the 'Survivor Philippines castaway'. I tell people it happened too long ago and that it's like a shirt I wore in the past. But honestly? It's still flattering.
What people may not realize about judging a contest is that the judges' hands are tied to the criteria they have to put their points on. The same set of contestants can yield different winners depending on the crteria and points given on the criteria. A beauty contestant may have the sexiest curves, but if points are only given to 'facial beauty', then the sexy contestant doesn't get points for being sexy. Same thing for charm. A contestant can be drop-dead beautiful, but if she's not charming, she may lose if 'charming' is given more points than facial beauty.
Street dancing has evolved from simple spectator-based group dancing to that of big-budget community-wide project that involves blood, sweat, tears, time and money. A lot of pride hangs in the balance. The performance is a culmination of months of endless practice and perseverance. Expenses can run into a million per contingent! As such, I believe its judging should not be taken lightly and judges be given very clear criteria on point allocation. Judging the Street Dancing proved more challenging - more intricacies, more choreography, a cast of hundreds, etc. I gave it my best given my limited exposure. I can only hope it was good enough.
When the whole fanfare was done and over with, I had to decompress from all that intensity. This is my first introduction to Siargao - but not to the place that made it famous. It didn't seem sound for me to pack up as well without visiting the place that put Siargao on the map - Cloud 9! I was off to my next destination.
My Del Carmen experience could not have been as memorable as it did if not for Ms. Roselyn Merlin and her hand-holding (no, we were not holding hands!), Mayor Matugas Coro, Caraga Regional Tourism Director Ms. Letty Tan for entrusting my judgement, the many tourism, barangay and municipal people who looked after us, Ms. Bebe who ensured our comfort and well-being, and the wonderful people of Del Carmen who gave us a home away from home....DAGHANG SALAMAT!!!
ps - If you want me to objectively cover the features of your city or municipality or barangay for this website (fiesta, waterfall, mountain trail, lake, river, cave, food, islands, beach, etc.), email me.
- take a tricycle to the Boulavard (Pantalan 2), P8/pax - trips are 5am, 10:30am and 1pm daily
- take the Del Carmen-bound pumpboat (this is a bigger pumpboat, enough for 50+ people), P250, 2.5 hours
(along the Surigao coastline from Surigao City to Surigao del Sur)
- Rite of Passage on Cantrasa Shoal Jul 12, 2013
- Karma Yoga in Surigao City July 5, 2013
- The Wooden Footbridge and Waterfall of Cantiasay, Surigao City July 1, 2013
- Outdoor Adventure Tour in Nonoc Island, Surigao City Jul 1-2, 2013
- The Deadly Bitaugan Whirlpool of Surigao City Jun 26, 2013
- Beaching it at Pebble Beach and Looc Beach, Surigao City Jun 22-24, 2013
- Exploring Silop Cave of Surigao City Jun 22, 2013
- Free-Diving the Coral Reef of Birok Islet, Surigao City June 12, 2013
- Boat Ride through the Floating Village of Day-asan June 12, 2013
- Island Hopping Adventures in Tagana-an, Surigao del Norte July 23-25, 2013
- Exploring Siargao's Cloud 9 July 18-20, 2013
- Judging Del Carmen's Beauty Pagent and Street Dancing July 15-16, 2013
- Diving the Reef of Cagtinae, Surigao del Norte Jul 7, 2013
- Ayoke Island May 27, 2013
- Casarica Island May 27, 2013
- General Island May 27, 2013
- Sua Cold Spring - in Brgy Esperanza. From main highway, get off at Madrid terminal and take motorcycle ride for the spring. If coming from Lanuza, get off at crossing of Cangcaban then take habal-habal for the spring
- Hubason River May 18, 2013
- Lanuza Marine Park and Sanctuary May 17, 2013 - coral reef, snorkeling, cafe. Also a short walk to Magkawas Falls.
- Magkawas Falls in Lanuza, Surigao del Sur May 16, 2013
- Silop Spring May 16, 2013
- Campamento Cave May 16, 2013
- Herrera Ancestral Home
- Lubcon Falls - from Tandag, take jeep for Cantilan or Cortes and ask the driver to drop you off at Lubcon Falls, P25, 30 mins, 15 kms
- Burgos Togonan Falls
- Laswitan - strong waves crashing against the rocks and spilling over to fill up a rock pool (while you're dipping in it)
- Campiri Rocks - going over huge boulders, dipping in a rock pool, standing on a rock summit as waves hits and splash against it, and to cap all, you rest on the base of the light house perched on top of the rocks in full view of the magnificent Pacific Ocean
- Bakwitan Cave - a refuge by the towns folk during the Japanese occupation and during the typhoon of 2004
- Buybuyan Beach - small beach, almost like a personal beach, fine white sand (there are no commercial establishments on the beach...its undeveloped)
- Sihagan Beach - fine white sand for long walks on a beach (there are no commercial establishments on the beach...its undeveloped)
- Uba Marine Sanctuaries - scuba dive with gear from the LGU. At P250 per dive, you can't beat it!
- Capandan Marine Sanctuaries - scuba dive with gear from the LGU. At P250 per dive, you can't beat it!
- Balibadon Marine Sanctuary
- Mabahin Marine Sanctuary
- Tigao Marine Sanctuary
- Poblacion Marine Sanctuary
- Exploring Dayao Cave of Tandag, Surigao del Sur May 12, 2013
- Brgy. Bongtud - Twin Linungao Island, Mancagangi Island & MPA (Marine Protected Area - fish sanctuary)
- white sand beaches
- Britania Islets May 6-8, 2013 - small islets dotting the bay. Island tour, beach, mangrove forest.
- Enchanted River May 6, 2013
- Sibadan Fish Cage May 5, 2013
- Tinuy-an Falls
July 15-16, 2013
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