By Robert R. Requintina
Sta. Cruz, Laguna — Eighty candidates – 40 women and 40 men – will vie for the titles of Binibini and Ginoong Laguna pageants in this year’s Anilag Festival here from March 10-17, Governor Ramil L. Hernandez announced recently.
During a press conference held at the Governor’s Office, Hernandez also said that the cash prizes for the titleholders have been increased from P75,000 to P100,000.
“I just found out that it’s expensive to join in pageants these days. The costs of gowns and make-up have gone up,” said Hernandez, as crowd in the office laughed.
The governor said that the prestigious beauty pageant in Laguna has become a stepping stone for some of the country’s international beauty queens and movie stars.
It has produced celebrities namely Miss Universe 2013 3rd runner-up Ariella Arida, Justine Mae San Jose, Mutya ng Piipinas Tourism, 2016; and Leren Mae Bautista, Miss Tourism Queen of the Year International, 2015. Alden Richards, (Richard Faulkerson Jr. in real life, also joined the male division of the contest in 2010.
“Our beauty queens are the newest heroes for bringing honor and prestige not only in Laguna but for the whole country,” said Hernandez.
Joining Hernandez in the press conference were Provincial Administrator Atty. Dulce H. Rebanal and Dr. Rosauro Sta Maria, head of the Laguna Tourism, Culture, Arts and Trade Office.
Since 2004, Laguna has been celebrating the Ani ng Laguna (Laguna’s harvest) festival popularly known as the Anilag Festival.
Aside from pageants, some of the activities lined-up for the festival include land float parade, street dance competition, trade fair, fluvial parade, etc.
Hernandez said that the success of the festival can be attributed to the booming tourism in the province.