Beauty queens and the pandemic: A world of quarantines
While beauty pageants and activities related to them are barred under existing quarantine rules, it's no question that the queens, aspiring queens, and the organizations they're under have been doing their own activities to ease the impact of both the pandemic and the quarantine on the most vulnerable.
Even though the Miss Universe Philippines Finals has been rescheduled to October 25, 2020 and the Bb. Pilipinas 2020 finals is postponed indefinitely, I've purposely witten a combined piece because at this difficult time, it's important for the biggest industry players to have a united spirit for both Filipinas and Philippine pageantry.
Many expect them to be perfect queens but I reached out to the candidates of both pageants only wanting for them to be themselves. I asked them: “What are your immediate plans when we are allowed to go out under GCQ?” and Who is the first person you will visit the moment we are under GCQ?”
Bb 21 Hannah Arnold, Masbate
Almost every day last year I was commuting to get to all my modeling jobs as I live in Fairview and most jobs are in Makati or Pasay. I used to complain about the waiting time for the MRT and UV express, but once we can go out under GCQ, I will spend that day taking all public transport possible, no matter how long I wait in line, I will never take it for granted again. (Shout out to the UV Express conductors from Quezon Ave MRT, I miss you).
I am very lucky that I have been with my parents for one week now so, the next person on my list to visit (after I see the Romantic Baboy Pig) is my best friend Maria Isabela Galeria, this is the longest we’ve been a part since meeting in BBP last year.
Bb. 18 Karen Laurrie Mendoza, Iloilo City
Well, my immediate plans would be going back to Manila and check my condo both in Pasay and Araneta. I need to be practical so I’m gonna pack up and ship my things to Iloilo to avoid more bills to pay and just get a new apartment when I have agendas and work in manila.
I miss my pamangkins and my 98 year old Lola so I will visit them and give them a tight hug.
Bb. 25 Carina Cariño, La Union
As soon as it’s safe, I’m most excited to pay my utility bills! Apart from being worried about the increase in the numbers of COVID cases, so was my worry on the increasing number reflected on my monthly utility bills. I don’t have a quarantine pass and I’ve tried settling my bills online but my bank was unfortunately not on the list of accepted payments.
I can’t wait to see my special someone so that I can give all the hugs I’ve been saving while social distancing!
Bb. 36 Vickie Marie Rushton, Negros Occidental
There are a lot of things I want to do po because I really miss the outside world! Hahaha! I just want to go home before doing anything else and stay there for a while, enjoy the comfort of our home, be with my dogs, eat inasal, KBL, Cansi, ginataang lanka, puto with cheese for breakfast. Omg! Haha! Then maybe go hiking of time allows po. Being in nature really improves my mood and reduces my anxieties. I think I really need that after being confined for more than 2 months now. And of course, I look forward to seeing my Binibini sisters, the kuyas, and resume our activities. I miss everyone and everything we do in Araneta
My brother po. It is really challenging to make him understand what’s going on. We talk almost everyday and the first thing he’d say is “hello Vim, puli na (go home)”. I always tell him that I can’t since there are no flights. For the past few weeks he has been hearing airplanes passing by and he would rush outside the house and wait for me. It really makes me feel bad. I just want to go home because I’m sure he misses me just as much as I miss all of them back home.
Bb. 13 Samantha Bernardo, Palawan
I will go out for a quick run and exercise in nature. Meet some of my clients under GCQ as well for our scheduled financial planning in preparation for New Normal.
I've been with my family since the lockdown here in Philippines. Given a chance, I would love to meet by boyfriend as he is celebrating his birthday on May 31. Happy birthday babe!
Bb. 16 Alexandra Mae Rosales, Laguna
My plans would be to go back to my work as soon as possible. The crisis affected my income and it would be a good step to rise from this pandemic. I am just hopeful that our company, which is Okada Manila, would rise and recover as soon as possible.
I will definitely visit my family. I got stuck here in Manila and wasn’t able to go back to my hometown. Likewise, my dad is still stuck in a cruise ship and I will be happy if we see as complete family again.
Bb 23 Gabrielle Camille Basiano, Borongan City, Samar
Being away from my dad in this pandemic always gives me worries despite of our constant communication through phone calls. So definitely, if everything is back to normal and we are allowed to go out after GCQ, I really plan to visit him in Tacloban to personally give him the warmest hug, catch up with him and my relatives and celebrate our safety.
I really miss seeing my sister in person. Even though she lives in Novaliches which is not that far from where I am staying now, I can't still manage to visit her because we have to take into consideration of everyone's safety. But if we are already allowed to go out during the GCQ, she will be the first person that I will meet. But of course, extra precautions and being a lot careful should still be practiced for everyone's protection.
Bb. 7 Shanon Tampon, Caloocan City
My plan is to check our on going site projects, and my team kasi I’m still not allowed to go to sites, I need to pass a billing na din kasi sa general contractor para magkafunds lahat ng suppliers namin, truly a domino effect sa construction field.
I want to visit my grandparents in Tarlac, Concepcion, dalawa lang sila sa house so i really what to check them out na and they their needs para to make sure na hindi na sila lalabas ng house.
Bb. 12 Vianca Louise Marcelo
My immediate plans after GCQ is to go back to work and to really practice the "new normal" life. I know its gonna be hard but i think its for our safety and for the best. In this crisis i've realized a lot of things and in that i'm going to work really hard on all the things that matter and set my priorities straight. And also gonna appreciate more the little things because the past months have been rough and still be thankful for giving me and all my loved ones good health.
The people that I want to see after GCQ would be my nephews. I've been busy with BP activities and now this quarantine. I miss them sooo much. And I want to spend time with them as much as before.
Bb. 9 Patricia Babista, Quezon Province
Once GCQ is implemented, I’d probably take a look around the city and appreciate the less polluted views with proper protective gear and will bring some food packs with me too to give to the homeless people we’ll pass by.
I have been away from family during the MECQ because of work so my mom will be the first person I’ll visit once we’re under GCQ. This is the longest we’ve been apart.
Bb. 15 Cindy Obeñita, Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental
My immediate plan under GCQ is to see my close relatives who have just been eased from strict community cordon. I would like to bring them fruits and some relief goods, too. I feel that during these trying times, it is family that keeps us hold on to hope that everything will be all right and that we will prevail with God's love.
The first person i would like to visit, bearing in mind all necessary precautions during this GCQ, is my dentist at Premea. With everything that's going on around us, I feel that we shouldn't turn our face into a frown. Borrowing the immortal lines of Eraserheads, this COVID 19 pandemic will end in God's time, but for now "we'll get by with a smile." And that is what I hope to maintain – a beautiful smile that radiates inspiration to others.
Bb. 14 Hazel Joy Ortiz
I will arrange a meeting with my staff and follow up on the projects that have been postponed.
I’ll visit my mom who’s currently in Batangas, since I wasn’t able to see them for a long time because of the lockdown.
Bb. 22 Ruth Quin, Nueva Ecija
My immediate plan after the MECQ is to go back in catwalk and personality training. I want to fill up the days that I have been laid back on preparing for the Bb Pilipinas pageant. Also, I want to go back to community service.
After the ECQ, I will go back to the province, (Cabanatuan City) and visit my immediate family specially my lola. I miss them a lot.
Bb. 8 Meiji Cruz, Valenzuela City
I want to go to the beach. I want to spend time with the sun and sea. Since the quarantine, I’m not getting enough sunlight, after all we’ve been through, it’s the best moment to spend time with nature, be fully present, and be grateful for another life
My friends. I want to dine and have some wine and quality time with them.
Bb. 33 Alexandra Faith Garcia, Olongapo City
I miss running outdoors! So for GCQ, I would definitely run since I haven'tran for almost 3 months now.
I would definitely visit my boyfriend since he is the only one left in Manila during the ECQ. He has not seen any of his family or friends during this time.
Bb. 29 Honey Grace Cartasano, Rizal
There are plenty of things I want to do when we are allowed to go out however my immediate plan is to go to church with my mom as soon as we are allowed to do so. While observing strict physical distancing, wearing fashionable face mask (I guess part na ang face mask ng #OOTD natin) and observing other #newnormal when going outside.
I'll visit Paolo Ballesteros and the rest of the team to do our usual bonding together. Before the community quarantine has been implemented, we have been actively training and it has been months since we saw each other which makes me really miss then and I jut can’t wait to spend time with them again.
Bb 11 Maureen Montagne, Batangas
“The first thing I’ll do during once everything is safe again is go to a karaoke bar to sing my heart out with loved ones! Karaoke is a huge stress relief for me so I can’t wait to sing Adele again with a tambourine and amazing company! The first person I want to see after quarantine ends is my mother.
I haven’t seen my mom since last spring in Egypt. We live in different countries now so I really do miss her and this quarantine has made me grateful to have her in my life. I hope she can come to Manila soon to visit me with my dad!
Kimberly Hakenson, Cavite
By the time GCQ is lifted the first thing I'll do is to check for flights going to Manila. I will also check up on the donation drives that I supported around Cavite and try to physically help out this time. However, if flights don't resume yet, I will most likely do volunteer works around Cebu while preparing for MUPH.
My family in Cavite. I live alone in Cebu and I've been worried about my family since the start of quarantine. But, if I can't fly back to Manila yet maybe I'll just have a mini vacay and unwind with the boyfriend.
Maria Isabela Galeria, Sorsogon
While on ECQ here in Sorsogon, I discovered the love for cooking. I started to learn cook my Dad's own recipes! Unfortunately, since we're under quarantine, my ingredient supplies have dwindled.
So when Sorsogon shifted to GCQ on May 1, 2020, I excitedly went to the city which is 65 kilometers away from my town, with a grocery list of ingredients to buy. Cooking is now my first love!!!
The first person that came into my mind is my best friend, Hannah Arnold. I've been with her almost everyday since last year and this is the longest time we've been separated from each other. Unfortunately, even if the lockdown is lifted I can't go and see her. We are many borders apart. The 14 hours land travel to Manila before now became longer because of cross border checkpoints we have to go thru. All I can do instead is to send virtual hugs and kisses to her!
Danica Reynes, Cagayan Province
Right now I could only think of the little things really. I miss basking under the sun, the beach and even performing for an audience, haha! Being in home quarantine makes you appreciate things more.
I thought about our lola! I miss accompanying her especially during her dialysis sessions at the hospital. I’m sure she’s also longing to see her grandchildren and hear stories.
Apriel Smith, Cebu Province
My immediate plan after the ECQ is to book a ticket and fly back home to Cebu. I have been staying here in Manila for a while now and not being able to resume my duties as a candidate during this time and to be at home 24/7 without my family was a challenge. So I am really looking forward to being reunited and spend some quality time with my family again and to resume my duties as a candidate very soon.
The first person who I want to see and hug again is my mother. Being apart from her all this time and not having the freedom to see her whenever I wanted to has made me realize to treasure each moment that I have with her while being with her. So yes I am very happy and excited to be reunited with my family again. That is what I really look forward to.
Tracy Maureen Perez, Cebu City
Once ECQ is lifted, I’m going to get a massage for 3 hours!! Massage has always been a great part of me. I’ve inherited my Mom’s back pains and massage gets me through these times. I also can’t wait to visit Mandaue Foam and Home Builders again! I’ve saved up and slowly started renovating a small space. I’m trying to make it my own personal space, more of like a condo setup with a small bedroom and a small living room.
I’d also like to catch up with my closest relatives, over good food and a nice view up in the mountains of Cebu City. With proper distancing, hopefully, mountain restos such as my favorites Top of Cebu and La Vie in the Sky can already go back to business.
On a more serious note, I will be physically meeting with my Team in Cebu for the upcoming MUPh activities, continue with my trainings, with work, as well as find other ways on how to potentially earn to recover savings.
I would love to have a day out with my boyfriend, have a road trip going to Argao ( two hour drive from the city) and visit my Mom’s grave. I’ll bring some flowers and stay there to talk for a while and just reflect, like the usual. I’m sure she would be happy.
Alaiza Malinao, Davao
I truly value helping farmers and I really want to get a DTI ID so I can volunteer for Move Food Initiative in Relish Ponte, Makati. I don’t know if I have to wait for GCQ to be lifted para makapag volunteer sa Move Food. Although, the social enterprise I am volunteering with can probably help me. Nevertheless, my immediate plan is to go out there and provide more services for our dear farmers.
As much as I want to visit my family, I can’t kasi nasa Davao sila. I also don’t want to visit anyone yet especially that COVID-19 can be asymptomatic and I am not tested yet. I’m afraid to infect my friends just in case I have it and vice versa. The best thing to do right now is to keep following the safety precautions to protect ourselves and anyone from getting infected. Alam ko mahirap ang sitwasyon natin ngayon pero kailangan talaga mag sakripisyo para sa ikabubuti ng lahat. #LoveServes
Pauline Amelinckx, Bohol
For my peace of mind (and that of my ever-caring mother), I will stay home a little longer even during GCQ. I'll continue with Work From Home and other preparations while in the safety of my parents' home in Bohol. At least here I can always enjoy my mother's cooking as my own cooking skills are still developing.
I'm lucky i got to be with my parents during ECQ. When we go into GCQ, the 1st person I'll visit will be my friend Mika. She had to spend the ECQ alone and maybe actual social interaction would do us both good. I hope we get to stick to our "tradition" of having coffee together and catching up on everything. Although we had online interaction, I still miss her.
Until the virus is contained and a vaccine is developed and is available to everyone, there will be uncertainties.
However, what is certain is that the lives of these aspiring beauty queens will continue. Contrary to what many think, they aren’t just in their homes working out and practicing their runway. They have lives, concerns and yearnings like every other Filipino who is struggling day by day. What is also certain is that their faith, strength and resilience will carry them through this challenging period. Like all of us, they will grow and have life lessons that will make them better role models and equip them to faces life’s challenges. – 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.