By NITZ ARANCON
and LITO RULONA
THE controversial Mr. and Ms. Pancontinental 2015 pageant is a classic case of how to stage an international beauty pageant without enough capital.
The local organizer of the pageant yesterday admitted that her group brought over 30 people, mostly foreigners, into the city and made them stay here for about a week without sufficient funds. She blamed the mess on the lack if not, absence of sponsors.
Lourdes Stanley, the local organizer, also admitted they were unprepared for the Nov. 21 arrival of the pageant candidates, their parents and handlers, corroborating claims earlier made by Miss New Zealand-Pancontinental Nicole Harding that lack of preparations and disorganization factored in her decision to quit, and fly out on their second day in the city. Harding called the organizing firm a “Mickey Mouse outfit.”
Meanwhile, the city council’s tourism committee summoned local tourism officials and local organizers of the controversial pageant so they could shed light on the complaints that marred the contestants’s just-concluded tour here.
Councilor Lourdes Darimbang said the tourism committee would meet and tackle the controversy on Thursday. She said the committee summoned Stanley, Radyo Natin station manager Sheryl Macale, Department of Tourism regional director Catalino Chan III, City Tourism Council chair Dorothy Jean Pabayo, acting city administrator Dionne Gersana, and Elmer Wabe, tourism operations officer.
“We have to know the real issue kay nakadaut kini sa atong siyudad,” Darimbang said.
Stanley said she and Macale, the pageant’s coordinator here, did their best but their funds were just insufficient.
She said her group did not plan to bring the candidates to Budgetel on their arrival from Manila but they were left with no other choice, hinting that the group arrived earlier as expected. She did not elaborate.
“Temporary man lang unta tong ilang pag-check-in sa Budgetel kay duna na man untay hotel nga gigahin namo alang kanila kay duna na may mga opisyales nga motabang gyud unta kanamo,” said Stanley without identifying the officials she was referring to.
On separate occasions, city hall and the capitol denied any hand in the inaugural international beauty pageant but revealed that organizers sought their help.
Stanley said her group had expected to raise funds through sponsorships but nothing came.
She said, “Ang problima kay wala tay sponsor jud. Wala jud tay funds nga ato igasto sa hotel. Bisan ang sa tickets nila halos pledges lang. Ang uban mga sponsor gisa-aran lang ko.”
Mylene Miranda, the pageant’s national organizer, has blamed Stanley for the mess, saying they signed an agreement that Stanley’s group would take care of the candidates here. Miranda accused Stanley of breach of contract, and filed a complaint before the city prosecutor’s office.
Macale, for her part, said the agreement was made by Miranda, the pageant’s national organizer, and Stanley, supposedly the local organizer.
She said her role was merely to prepare the itinerary, venues, and look for sponsors.
Macale said she was not in the position to speak about the alleged breach of contract between Miranda and Stanley.
“The contract was made by both of them. So no one can implicate me. I have not entered into any written contact. I was approached to help. That was it,” she said.
Stanley admitted that she and Miranda signed a contract but said they also agreed to help each other in shouldering the costs.
She said she and Miranda, who both hail from Cebu, were good friends until the controversy severed their ties.
“Sakit kaayo alang kanako nga nahimo nako siya nga kaaway nga pareha mi Cebuana. Gipahigda pa nako siya dinhi sa among balay. Gi-atiman nako siya. Mora siyag prinsisa dire sa amo. Nagbayad pakog tawo nga nag-atiman sa iyaha. Gilibre nako siya bisag unsa iyang gusto diri,” Stanley said.