For the past 7 years, I have been photographing different pageants across the country, from the simplest of classrooms to the national stage, they all have their distinct character and effect on the people who are behind it. Recently, I was invited to be a judge in Mr. And Ms. Bukidnon State University. Looking back as I sat alongside such illustrious people, I have realized how pageantry has been somewhat of a piece in my journey as a photographer.
When I was starting out many years ago, I recall that photographing a pageant to me was simply as taking their photos, presenting the photogenic award, and uploading the winner’s portrait. But now, I am somewhat concerned on the purpose of their quest for the crown, their advocacy plays a major part in my scorecards.
As a travel photographer, I’ve seen how tourism has given the locals a boost in their crafts, services, and products. As a portrait photographer, I’ve worked with people who create awareness in the different issues pertaining to health, gender, and social problems. As a food photographer, I’ve seen how photographs can captivate potential customers through well placed and designed photographs of mouthwatering delights.
What I’m trying to expound is that advocacy is the way to your what. What we do is only as important as to why we do it. And in connection with pageantry, I have learned much from observing a handful of key icons in the industry, such as Mr. Michael Solis Villamor, who has trained, developed and created beauty queens for a good number of years already through The House, Doc. Lesley Lubos PhD who’s taste and opinion pulls great weight in the industry, Ma’am Marivic Yamit of Peak Review center who has trained not only people to become top-notch professionals but also individuals to become beauty, brawns, and brains, Ma’am Mags Cue who is the prime example of beauty, elegance, and a purpose with a heart, and all the professionals that I have come to work with over the past few years. I personally would like to thank them for the lessons that they’ve given me.
Bukidnon State University has shown me that such an institution is capable of pulling off a pageant without any compromise. The pace, the sets, the scoring system, the organizing of the program and everything else in the pageant exceeded my expectations. To some, this may have just been part of a week-long celebration of the university, but from the eyes of an observant visitor, the institution is prime to take it up to another level and become the standard in years to come in the province of Bukidnon. Kudos to the pageant director, team, and everyone involved. The chosen winners are without a doubt deserving of their titles, and I wish them luck in their efforts to create a better world starting in their own university.
It was an enjoyable experience and I would personally like to thank Doc. Lalevie Casas Lubos for inviting me over to a historic piece of an event in their university. Staged in the Bukidnon Folks Arts Theater, it has raised the bar for all university and college pageants to come. And so my journey continues by photographing beautiful people in a few more weeks as I am tasked to become the partner for the upcoming Miss Teen Philippines. I am excited to impart not only my photography skills to the candidates and the people in the pageant, but also my advocacy for the environment, mental health, bullying, and tourism.