By Charisse Gay G. Ursal
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.
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.
“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.
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.