I am a huge pageant fan. It is one of the things in life that gives me the biggest thrills. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on public gatherings and the mounting of events, pageant fans like me have to be sidelined for now until things are somehow back to normal. Perish that thought—that’s rather selfish. What about the 2020 candidates whose pageant dreams have to be put at the backburner until the virus is eventually managed? Specifically, I am talking about the candidates of Binibining Pilipinas 2020, more than 30 of them, who have been waiting since February of last year. Since this is, by far, the longest Binibini edition, I can just imagine the anxiety, restlessness and tension being experienced by the participants because of their prolonged wait for their date with destiny.
Among those who created quite a stir during the pandemic is Bininibini Number 19, Kimberly Anne Tiquestiques of Balagtas, Bulacan. A Tourism Management graduate of the Bulacan State University, the 21-year old lady got people in the pageant world worried when she was officially counted as a Covid-19 Person Under Investigation or PUI, after exhibiting symptoms of the disease. The eldest of three children, Kim is determined to hold on and continue with her Binibini journey, “no matter what it takes.”
1-After almost a year, how would you describe your year as a Bb. Pilipinas candidate? It has so far been challenging, but it motivates me to do more, to improve myself. Despite the pandemic, I still choose to look at the brighter side of things. Tinuruan ako, bilang isang binibini, na maging laging matatag, di lang para sa sarili ko, kundi para na rin sa pamilya ko.
2-You have been reported to be a Covid-19 PUI. Tell us about that experience. Being a PUI was life-changing for me, both as an individual and as a beauty queen aspirant. It tested my faith in God and also to myself. It made me see how God always makes a way to lift me up. It also made me realize that I am not alone in this journey. Di ko alam kung paano ko nakuha yung virus pero dahil sa pabiyahe-byahe ako from Bulacan to Cubao and back, we all thought na malaki ang chance na dun ko nakuha yung sakit ko.
3-Didn’t that experience discourage you from continuing on your Binibini journey? No, instead it became a way for me to persevere more and fight for my dream, which is not only for myself, but also for my family and loved ones. It made me realize that this journey is not just about proving myself but also giving my supporters and loved ones the pride they deserve because of their love for me.
4-You have already seen other pageants crowning their own queens through virtual or even on-ground events? Don’t you regret having joined Bb. Pilipinas since it is making you wait this long? No, because since I was child, I have always dreamed of joining Bb Pilipina whatever it takes. For me, the pageant is one of the ways to empower women in this country given its long history and track record.
5-Since the pageant has already extended this long, some of your co-candidates are now above the specified age requirements. What is your stand on that? Do you want them out of the competition? No, we all know that Bb. Pilipinas is a platform to empower women regardless of their age. For me, the dream of these women who joined in 2020 should be considered as well because it is not their will for this pandemic to happen. It is not something that we can avoid. They should be allowed to pursue their dreams.
6-The Bb. Pilipinas has already lost some of the international titles it used to carry. Do you think it has lost its prestige because of that? No. Bb. Pilipinas is not just about the international crowns that they offer for the women who join, but also the care and the love that they give each and every candidate which makes it a truly prestigious and respectable pageant.
7-What has so far been your most memorable experience as a candidate? It’s the time when we had an activity with Operation: Smile, with the children with cleft palates. It made me realize that we must appreciate every single moment that we have and be thankful for it, because these children still manage to smile despite their situation and struggles.
8-More than the health challenges, this pandemic has also been challenging as far as the economy is concerned. Joining a pageant is costly. How do you manage to support your candidacy despite having very little funds? To be honest, in the very first day of my journey as a BB, hindi lang ako ang andun sa journey na yun kundi lahat ng taong tumutulong at sumusuporta sa akin. These are people na nagtitiwala sa kakayahan ko at sa pangarap ko. Bukod pa riyan, para rin makatulong sa aking pamilya, naisip kong magtinda ng mga street foods ulad ng fishballs, quekiam at iba pa. Dagdag na rin ang kita ko doon para sa panggastos bilang isang kandidata. Pag, sinuswerte kumikita naman ako ng hanggang 400 pesos kada araw.
9-Given the 4 remaining titles that are at stake in the pageant, which crown are you specifically eyeing to win? It’s the Miss Globe crown because personally I think I am more suitable to that pageant given my personality and qualifications. It has also been more than 5 years since we last won the crown, so I think it is high time for another Filipina to bring home the Ms. Globe crown.
10-Which past Bb serves as your role model? It has to be Czarina Gatbonton (Bb. Pilipinas World 2010), another Bulakenya who also won a Bb. Pilipinas crown. Even though, we are both provincianas, she was able to show what a true Bulakenya is.
11-Should you win a Bb crown, how would you like to be remembered to differentiate you from past Binibinis? I want to be remembered as a Binibini who came from a simple family and who has faced many challenges but was still able to stand up and fight for her dreams. I want to be an inspiration to all that their dreams are all valid.
12-If you don’t win a crown this time, would you entertain joining other pageants? I try not to think about not winning because given my experiences in the pageant it is already a win-win situation. But if that happens, I’d like to focus on looking for a job and helping my family with their needs but I am not closing my doors to still pursuing my pageant dreams. I know perfectly well that when God’s time comes, this dream of mine will also turn into reality.
The country’s new Binibinis are expected to be named before mid-year on or before the month of flowers.