The news of Tommy Osmeña deciding to cancel Miss Cebu is disheartening. In the name of cost cutting, according to the news article, they spend P200,000 – P300,000 for the event, they don’t expect Miss Cebu to be staged this year.

“The City’s financial status, it’s terrible. That’s why I’m trying to chop down in all these expenses. Miss Cebu will be canceled. It is a waste of money. It is very elitist. It is only for the rich,” said Osmeña.

We implore Cebu City to reconsider.

Miss Cebu is not elitist or only for the rich. Many of the participants of Miss Cebu have humble beginnings with hard working families. With dad’s who wake up bright and early to clock in for work. With mom’s who spend time with their children, making sure they go to school.

You cannot quantify in pesos what the pageant does for the Miss Cebu participants. Regardless who wins, participants leave the event a better fuller person. The one month spent preparing is an experience equal to a college degree. The learning they absorb, the people the meet, the discipline instilled cannot be matched by anything else. Many graduates of Miss Cebu go on to have productive fulfilling careers that benefit the city. As you know, the city is only as good as its citizens. The pageant is one of the best training systems the city offers.

Miss Cebu ContestantMiss Cebu also injects life to an industry very well known throughout the Philippines. Cebuano fashion designers participate with fervor for every Miss Cebu event. Not only do many of them offer their gowns for free, but they do so with the utmost hands on participation. The pageant after all allows them an avenue to showcase their ability to make beautiful intricate dresses. Cebu has not only exported their art to the rest of the Philippines, but we’ve even experienced world renowned fame because of it. Cary Santiago is a prime example of that.

Of course, one cannot forget about the production team, the many people behind the scenes who make the event possible. The dancers, the directors, the make-up artists, the crew, and the many other people I am forgetting. Miss Cebu is an example of a world class event put together by world class talent. We are fortunate to have people working in the arts who stay in Cebu.  Miss Cebu is one of the few avenues for them to showcase that talent.

Is it a waste of money to provide an unparalleled experience for young ladies to grow into full-fledged women? Is it a waste of money to energize an industry? Is it a waste of money to provide jobs to so many people? Is it a waste of money to vitalize a city? Pare it down if you must. Lessen the cost if you must. But it would be a tragedy to stop a pageant that has given so much to so many people.

If this really is the last we see of Miss Cebu, then consider this a thank you letter to everyone who participated and made Miss Cebu possible.

Miss Cebu made living in Cebu better. It made it better in ways that we cannot explain. In manners that aren’t readily visible to the eye. In aspects that we cannot measure in pesos.

Thank you for that.

Carlo Villarica

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