‘We are living in such tumultuous, divisive times. Our history tells us how not to repeat the past.’
In modern times, beauty pageants, whether local or international, have become a platform to make a change. It has grown into an event that celebrates heritage and different advocacies. Locally, with the country’s vast number of Filipino pageant fans, a lot goes into crowning a delegate to represent the Philippines on the international stage. Apart from their innate charm and beauty, a winner must embody the country by knowing not just its culture, but also its tales from the past.
This week, after launching their augmented reality glamor photo exhibit, the 40 candidates of Binibining Pilipinas 2022 got a quick course on Philippine history as they toured the Gateway Gallery in Gateway Mall.
Gateway Gallery’s “SiningSaysay: Philippine History in Art” exhibit houses 30 large artworks detailing the life of the Filipinos, from the time the invaders came to our shores and the early wars to modern political revolutions and the overall vibrancy of the Philippines’ culture. The exhibit is led by Grace Javier-Alfonso, and features the works of Filipino artists, which include National Artists Abdulmari Asia Imao and Benedicto Reyes Cabrera.
“‘SiningSaysay: Philippine History in Art’ brings art closer to the people so they themselves share in the strengthening and the provision of meaning and enrichment of the nation’s history,” Prof. Grace wrote on the exhibit notes. “This is where the artists and the people truly engage in public discourse. The visual texts/visual images that inhere in the works are aimed to excite and jostle the minds in this experiential exhibition where the people become part of the shaping of history.”
After their tour, Manila Bulletin Lifestyle chats with a few of the Binibinis and asked them about the importance of knowing the Philippine history. For Bb. 8 Nicole Budol, learning history is essential in discovering who you are. “Bago po natin alamin yung ibang lugar, alamin muna natin yung sarili natin. Dahil para sa sarili natin iyan. Kilalanin mo muna yung sarili mo bago yung ibang tao (Before we learn about foreign place, we must first discover ourselves. It is for our own purpose. We should know wo we are before others).”
Bb. 1 Stacey Daniella Gabriel sees history as a lesson people should learn from in order to make informed decisions in the future. “We must remember to look back in order to truly know how to move forward,” she said. “We are living in such tumultuous, divisive times. Our history tells us how not to repeat the past. We must not whitewash or sugarcoat our history. I’m grateful for museums and galleries like the Gateway Gallery that inform us, especially the next generation, of exactly what brought the Philippines here.”
Growing up in a family with soldiers gave Bb. 5 Karen Laurrie Mendoza a great understating of patriotism. That’s why, for her, “Hindi nakaka-proud maging Filipino if you don’t have the knowledge of the country’s past.”
While many might view pageants as a mere form of entertainment and candidates as walking mannequins, Bb. 40 Roberta Tamondong believes that beauty queens possess more power than people think. For her, she and her fellow candidates have the ability to inform and educate others through their voices and platform.
“This is where we started. We talked about feminism, the revolution, the heroes, and the formation of the past wars,” she said. “As beauty queens, we can also educate the younger generations about what has happened in the Philippines in the past.”
The “Binibining Pilipinas 2022 Glam Shot” photo exhibit runs until June 10 at the Gateway Mall. It, as well as the “SiningSaysay: Philippine History in Art” exhibit, can be enjoyed via AR through the Gateway Gallery mobile app.