By Charisse Gay G. Ursal
BiliranIsland.com
First Posted 08:20:00 12/01/2010
Last Updated 18:15:00 12/10/2010

Arguments had been raised. Opinions had varied. Controversies had sprouted. But no one really knew who would be the first online winner of the Search for the Prettiest Biliranon Face – not until the 30th day of November.

Topping the list with 1593 votes, Heiderose Staeb from Culaba, was proclaimed winner of the Search for the Prettiest Biliranon Face, defeating 57 other candidates from all over the province of Biliran. She was followed by the beauties from Naval, Mitch Baterna with 1286 votes and Rosanne Solite with 903 votes.


Heiderose Staeb

Staeb, as the first prize winner, will receive P3,000.00 cash prize, a glass trophy, a dress, and Sony USB 4Gb flash drive, in this contest sponsored by the Biliran Gov. Gerry Boy Espina and Higatangan Island Beach Resort.

But before the final announcement of the winner of the contentious search, speculations had it that the administration of the BiliranIsland.com tried to manipulate the result of the said search by moving the deadline from November 15 to November 30. This was of course denied by the administration.


Mitch Chong Baterna

“Many of the more than 12,700 fans would have a chance to open their Facebook accounts only during weekends or rarer than that. It is the latter group that we would like to accommodate by moving the deadline of the contest until November 30,” said a statement by the BiliranIsland.com.


Rosanne Carmel Villordon Solite

However, supporters of the candidates, especially that of Staeb and Solite, stirred a dispute that lead to absurd name-callings, fighting and back stabbing, which tainted not just the reputation of the candidates and the administration, but of the whole Biliran as well.

What then, if not to promote Biliran, was the reason for holding such a competition in the first place?

If the search was meant to appreciate the beauty Biliran has through the beautiful faces that dwells in the whole province, then the competition should have created a whole picture instead of cutting them into pieces. The competition should have united the Biliranons, not divide them.

But some of the people got the whole idea of the search wrong. They foresaw the competition as an investment in fame, prestige and hypocrisy. They were blinded by their own thoughts and feelings that they forgot how it is to have a healthy competition without showing off appalling manners and cruel intentions. The real essence of the search was buried by the angry hearts who seek to find gold.

“The organizers as well as the owners of the fanpage have lost a lot of credibility. You dont start a contest and change the mechanics at the eleventh hour. How can we now trust them not to change the rules again?” said by one of the fans, Eve Jojo.

Needless to say, people are given the power of expression. But this power is not absolute. It comes with a limitation of not stepping down any other person’s feet especially if the evidence could not suffice the allegations being raised. Speculation can only go too far especially if not properly proved.

Conversely, a deafening question that is pumping inside the system of everybody remains unsolved. Did the administration try to manipulate the result? Did they or did they not?

Nobody knew the answer. Some were certain to say, “No. The moving of the deadline was just an honest move to allow more Facebook enthusiasts to vote.” Others oppose and said, “Of course. They want their bet to win the search.”

But no matter how people give comments and assert the truth, nobody will ever know the legitimacy except for the administration themselves. Did they really try to manipulate the result? The choice of revealing the truth remains in their hands.

And after the controversies, the final question pleads to be answered.

Do searches like the Search for the Prettiest Biliranon Faces serve a purpose that is worth fighting for – or does it have any purpose at all?

About Charisse Ursal
A sophomore Mass Communication student from the University of the Philippines- Cebu College. She graduated from the Cathedral School of La Naval last 2009 as the batch 1st honorable mention.
She have contributed articles to Sun.Star Cebu and The Freeman. Charisse is the only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Manolo E. Ursal.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. Kudos to the efforts of everyone behind this ‘Search’. But please listen as to the honest comments of everyone… something is wrong in the process of getting the final result… I have nothing against the winner, she’s terribly beautiful, but look back how you did it, okay? Please be reminded of the title of the search as to how it reflects or affects the entirety of its subject and object. Peace…

  2. i miSS biliran,,esp. going out and bonding kalokohan with my friends and clasm8., miss you guys lam yuna kung sino kayong kasama sa kalokohan q,heheheheh

  3. This kind of contest is plain stupid. I have posted complaints about this type of contest but somehow, my posts never seen the light of day. What’s the censorhip for? Everybody is entitled to his or her opinion. Might as well not have a blog or issue at hand so people will not talk about it. Biliran should be called the Beauty Contest Capital of the world because every week or month there is a beauty contest. This is the only recreation of the people of Biliran. Dili katingalahan pirmi mailad sa politiko mga tawo. Kining mga beauty contest is nothing but a diversion from the real problem. When are we going to learn?

  4. Charisse, to answer your question…this beauty contest serves no purpose at all. It is nothing but a sham and a diversion. Credit that to the new Gov. Unsa bay kamaohan niya? Ang nahitabo, magpa beauty contest na lang. Kamakalolooy natong mga Biliranon.

  5. Charisse,

    Hello, my following statement is merely the opinions and insights from a person of no special credentials except for the fact that I witnessed the controversy first-hand as it unfolded and followed it through to the end. After reading the above article, it apparently hasn’t ended. Since you quoted me, I’d only like to provide some counter-points to your article, if you’ll allow it.

    The article is commendable at first, but crumbles towards the middle when it falls victim to its own accusations, dismisses valid points, then ends with a question that threatens to discredit itself entirely.

    For example, the article warns that freedom of expression “comes with a limitation of not stepping down any other person’s feet especially if the evidence could not suffice the allegations being raised”, and also adds, “speculation can only go too far especially if not properly proved.”

    The article then ignores its own warnings with the generalized and self-incriminating statement:

    “But some of the people got the whole idea of the search wrong. They foresaw the competition as an investment in fame, prestige and hypocrisy. They were blinded by their own thoughts and feelings that they forgot how it is to have a healthy competition without showing off appalling manners and cruel intentions. The real essence of the search was buried by the angry hearts who seek to find gold.”

    Now let’s look at the first sentence of my quote:

    “The organizers as well as the owners of the fanpage have lost a lot of credibility.”

    This statement would have been clear to anyone who had been able to read, comprehend, and follow all of the many posts of the concerned voters before they were deleted from the fanpage; it basically summed up the damage that had already been done. This wasn’t an accusation – it was a statement of the obvious that merely echoed the many posts before it.

    Here is one thought from the article I agree with:

    “Conversely, a deafening question that is pumping inside the system of everybody remains unsolved. Did the administration try to manipulate the result? Did they or did they not?”

    Although the article questioned the organizer’s intentions regarding manipulation of the outcome, the article fails to address the true concern of the controversy even though it quotes me directly:

    “You don’t start a contest and change the mechanics at the eleventh hour. How can we now trust them not to change the rules again?”

    Whatever the organizer’s intentions were, those were only of secondary importance. The real and burning issue was how the competition could continue to be fair if those in charge could not follow the rules they themselves had established, especially during the “last day” of the contest.

    As in all aspects of life, people want to be treated with fairness and respect. Voters in a beauty contest are no exception. The article is in danger of insulting the people of Biliran’s sense of justice if it assumes they would rather focus on the organizer’s intentions and not react negatively to the real concern of the highly questionable last-minute change in rules.

    The article concludes with the question:

    “Do searches like the Search for the Prettiest Biliranon Faces serve a purpose that is worth fighting for – or does it have any purpose at all?”

    After all the preaching and sermons the article tries to offer the reader, asking this question is the same as asking if the article itself has any purpose at all.

    The importance of beauty competitions are and will remain topics of endless discussion. Regardless of what purpose these events fulfill, they should – at the very least – be able to uphold their own rules and mechanics in a fair and just way; not only for the contestants, but for all involved.

    Sincerely,

    Eve Jojo

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