Miss Manila pageant returns after five-year hiatus
MANILA, Philippines — When Honey Lacuna-Pangan assumed the mayoralty post in Manila in 2022, the first woman to hold the position, she said reviving the Miss Manila pageant was “one of my pet projects.” The contest staged its last edition in 2018 under the administration of then Mayor Joseph Estrada.
“Since I started as the city mayor, I already asked the Department of Tourism, Culture and the Arts if we could relaunch the Miss Manila. It’s our way of promoting gender equality here in the city of Manila,” she responded when the Inquirer asked her during the relaunching program held at the Bulwagang Villegas of the Manila City Hall on March 1.
“It’s also our way of tapping other ‘Manileñas’ who can be a leader like me, or probably who could help the city with all other programs, particularly those focused on women,” she continued, saying the pageant seeks women who have a “WOW factor, WOW—women of worth,” and must be “a true leader, a nurturer, and of course, a change maker.”
Lacuna-Pangan also shared some historical pageant background, and said the first ever beauty pageant in the Philippines was held in 1908 in Luneta, the Carnival Queen which crowned writer-activist Pura Villanueva Kalaw from Iloilo, who she credited for the women’s suffrage movement in the country that resulted in granting women the right to vote.
“After so many years, the third Manila Carnival Queen was from Manila, who happens to be the daughter of [Kalaw], Maria Kalaw Katigbak. She was born in Sampaloc, and the lone female senator at that time. It just goes to show that pageantry isn’t just about beauty,” the mayor said.
In 1998, the late Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim introduced the Miss Manila pageant which ran for a couple of years. Estrada relaunched it in 2014, and it continued until 2018. Since then, the contest has produced Manileñas who found success on the national and international stages— 2016 Mutya ng Pilipinas Ganiel Akrisha Krishnan and 2015 Miss Earth Angelia Ong.
For the pageant’s revival, Lacuna-Pangan said she hopes to crown a woman who is true to herself. “She has to love herself first before she can love others. She should embody the traits of a true Manileña. And she should be a strong advocate for the rights of all women,” she declared.
To help the city government and the Manila Department of Tourism, Culture and Arts with this endeavor, they partnered with KreativDen Entertainment to mount the pageant this year.
“This is really exciting. It’s good that it’s the first woman mayor Manila has, and it’s nice to relaunch the pageant and strengthening the voice of women,” KreativDen Vice President Dorothy Laxamana said when the Inquirer asked why they took on the project.
She said the pageant’s vison and goal resonated with the team, so they immediately thought of 2018 Miss Universe Catriona Gray to host the competition. “She had a project when she was Miss World [Philippines] in 2016, which is called ‘Paraiso: The Bright Beginnings Project,’ where she raised funds for children from the Smokey Mountain, which is in Tondo, Manila. So she is the best ambassador that we picked to host the pageant,” Laxamana explained.
The 2023 Miss Manila pageant is open to the city’s residents between the ages of 18 and 30. Interested ladies are invited to visit www.missmanila.ph to submit their applications. The coronation night is scheduled on June 24. EDV
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