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'Judging' Blogs

Judging Del Carmen's Beauty Pagent and Street Dancing 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

Femme Fatale
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.

map location 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).

Cow Label
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.

Contest Criteria
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
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.

Ending Thoughts
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!!!

--- TheLoneRider

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.

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How to Get to Del Carmen from Surigao City

  1. take a tricycle to the Boulavard (Pantalan 2), P8/pax - trips are 5am, 10:30am and 1pm daily
  2. take the Del Carmen-bound pumpboat (this is a bigger pumpboat, enough for 50+ people), P250, 2.5 hours
Surigao Travel Information

Surigao del Norte Blogs by TheLoneRider

(along the Surigao coastline from Surigao City to Surigao del Sur)

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July 15-16, 2013

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