Unification News for February 2003

Mr. and Miss University Serves Philippines and Taiwan

by Melchor Castro and Sharleen Estiandan

Quite different from an ordinary beauty pageant, the Mister and Miss University National Beauty Pageant - Philippines was held Dec. 3 at the Grand Convention Center in the second capital of the Philippines, Cebu City. This year’s theme was "Creating a Culture of Heart through Beauty and Purity."

The participants and staff were billeted at the Talavera House of Prayer under the administration of Augustinian nuns. It was a very beautiful place for reflection and workshop located at the top of the hill overviewing the Metro Cebu.

On the first day Nov. 30, the participants were invited in the famous noontime regional television show, Sabado Na Gyud It’s Saturday! Four representatives joined the game and invited viewers to tune into the Pageant.

Edmon Pacson, Executive Director for Education, gave an orientation on what is World CARP and its activities, including MMU, and there then followed a welcome Banquet attended by President Michael G. Zablan and SFP Chairman, Cesar Orquillas.

The second day started with morning prayer led by Mr. Aldrin Nituma who read "Value of our Life" from the Rev. Moon’s book The Way of Students. The candidates then gave their reflections, everybody wanted to reflect based on his or her experiences, beliefs and realizations on the reading. Next they had their essay writing and personal interview with the judges, which is a part of the preliminary judging. The points gained in this part figure large in their overall tally.

In the afternoon, the talent presentation was held in public at the heart of Ayala Activity Center, one of the widest malls in Cebu. It was a chance for many people to witness their talents learn about this unique pageant of college students.

Service for Peace

On the third day, the candidates spent their time for a Service for Peace activity. They met with children from the orphanage agency of Cebu, where they painted ceramic figurines together with their partners, exchanging them with each other as the expression of their love. It was an exciting experience for both the candidates and children.

Alas, the pageant day came all too quickly and the candidates proceeded to the Capitol for a courtesy call with the Governor, Pablo Garcia. Knowing the purpose and objectives of MMU, Governor Garcia encouraged them to embody the values that they have learned from this pageant.

Finally the momentous night began with 18 male and 19 female candidates who participated to vie for the Philippines’ Mister & Miss University 2003. The program was opened by The Rotary Club Choir singing a doxology followed by the national anthem. For the first time in history, the reigning Mr. & Miss University 2002 joined their production number at the opening of the program.

The diversity of beauty in competition could already be felt, starting from the first phase of the pageant, which is the parade of regional costumes. Each candidate displayed a unique and colorful costumes with ornate that really shows each of their regions hallmark. In this way, audience had a real experience of cultural exchange and friendship, which is one of the main objectives of the pageant. The candidates gained confidence and encouragement as the hall was filled with loud cheers from their supporters, classmates, friends and faculty.

Ms. Ann Montejo, the executive Director WCARP Visayas, mentioned the three main objectives of the pageant.

The first is "beauty and purity," second "Establish international friendship and goodwill," and third, "cultural exchange." This is the reason why MMU is different from any ordinary pageants where only external beauty is measured through physical character and cosmetic features, she explained.

The Mister and Miss University Pageant encourages the pursuit of beauty based on a wider range of characteristics which include intellectual acumen, international awareness, communication, service to others, morality and ethics, as well as physical appearance.

Mr. Michael Zablan called for the reformation of our country’s culture. The bad events in the country can be changed, once citizens become responsible and concerned, especially the youth of today. Only through the youth can there come about a new transformation of culture and gradually bring hope for the future generations.

During the question and answer portion, the top five candidates went into their hot seats as the judges threw their tough questions. Mr. Gary Estrada, a famous actor and Mr. Lino Alejandro, a famous singer of Ricky Martin’s pieces, entertained the audiences while waiting for the final results.

Everybody was so excited to listen his or her bets to be called. After a while, the top five winners were announced. Mr. Victor Acosta of Southwestern University was crowned Mr. University 2003 and Ms. Joy Estrada from Cebu Normal University reigned as Ms. University 2003.

Everybody was considered as winner in their effort to join the pageant and to prove their beauty and brain but also to embody the values they learned to live for the sake of others and treasure the friendship with their fellow candidates.

At the same time that the Miss World Pageant was being linked to riots and bloodshed in Nigeria, the MMU pageant once again brought its distinctive message of beauty and service to Taiwan.

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