Put even the plainest woman into a beautiful dress and unconsciously she will try to live up to it. – Lady Duff Gordon 20s fashion designer
The unPhilippine Terno
One of the things that I admire most of the Philippines, is the terno, which makes even the plainest of wearers looks positively elegant and lady-like.
But seeing how the Miss Universe/Philippine representative wore her country’s national costume is making me think twice.
This overly colourful gown is reminiscent of a rather gaudy cake, which no self-respecting bride would use as a wedding cake.
The lovely MJ Lastimosa was very let down by her gown and more so by her weird head-dress, which was too vast for her head. She was drowned by too much overpowering colours, which does not enhance her morena skin but somehow made her appear like all mouth and teeth.
Shame that the national costume failed to bring pride to the wearer, Whoever designed the gown should not try to make another terno, ever again. Rather harsh but true, I am afraid.
Oh sad for Megan Young, it seems there is a new kid on the block.
A new beauteous young lady has been crowned Miss World candidate representing the Philippines.
She bested 24 other stunning looking ladies by winning in most categories of the pageant, including best in swimsuit and gown!
Her name is Valerie Wiegmann, 24, who was born in Weisbaden, Germany to a Filipina mother and a German/Danish descent father.
Valerie is comfortable in the celebrity lifestyle, having been a veteran in the world of showbiz. She is an actress, professional model (print, ramp, commercial) and television host in the Philippines.
Not only that, Valerie is apparently a bit of an entrepreneur as well. She co-owns a German-Turkish restaurant in Makati.
Good luck and best wishes to your aspiration to bag the 2014 Miss World title.
What is she holding? The red trophy is rather phallic looking – does it come with batteries? LOL 😉 😉 😉
Beauty pageants where the most beautiful girls from every nation in the world compete do not start and end with beatific experience. It is far from it! 😉
Cut-throat Contest of Beauty Pageants
A beauty pageant is a contest, a cut-throat competition, an all-out war, where the most beautiful, the most talented, the most popular, the sexiest and the most savvy gets to wear the crown. This is not an easy task as a bevy of lissom, polish, highly intelligent and over-ambitious women would pit everything they’ve got against each other. It seems everything is actually quite a modest description of what they are willing and prepared to do to be the last one left standing for the crown.
Behind modest beautiful mask of a beauty queen lies a consummate bitch! LOL
It is a dog eats dogs world or rather bitch eats bitch haven! 😉
Read the article below to see what goes on under the hood of a beauty pageant.
Sandra Seifert won Miss Earth-Philippines, and promoted environmental causes
Sandra Seifert is tall, pretty, smart and articulate, but it took a while for her to decide she wanted to take part in a beauty pageant in the Philippines.
“I have been asked in my younger years to consider joining, and I just never felt ready or prepared,” said Ms Seifert, who started working as a model at the age of 14 and later worked as a television presenter.
But the moment finally arrived in 2009, after she had finished a nursing degree in New York. At the age of 25 – the limit for most pageants – time was running out.
Ms Seifert trained for over a month at a so-called beauty camp, setting her sights on representing the Philippines at the Miss Universe competition. But she said pageant organisers disqualified her days before the finals over bikini photos published in a men’s magazine.
Undaunted, she decided to take part in another national pageant weeks later. Not only did she win the national Miss Earth title, she went on to compete in the international pageant, where she was crowned runner-up out of 80 competitors from all over the world.
Jonas Gaffud says candidates need to train for six months to prepare for competition
Beauty pageants have been popular in the Philippines since they were brought to the country by the American colonial government in the first half of the 20th Century, says Jose Wendell Capili, an academic at the University of the Philippines in the capital, Manila.
Opposition from feminists, if there is any, is muted.
The recent successes of candidates in international competitions have heightened interest even further.
Mr Capili, who wrote a book about Philippine pageants, says that as a result, pageants have become more competitive.
“In the old days, an untrained candidate may end up winning a title either because she is a great beauty or is someone from a pedigreed family,” he said. “These days, there are talent scouts and modelling agencies who actually train some of the girls, months, even years, before the national competition.”
One of the most successful beauty camps is headed by Jonas Gaffud, who is CEO of a large modelling agency, Mercator.
He and a teams of mentors field an average of 10 candidates a year. The mentors work for free, and many of the women dominate the national pageants and go on to place well internationally.
Mr Gaffud is credited with helping Megan Young win the first Miss World crown for the Philippines in 2013. His team’s beauty queens have also been finalists in every Miss Universe pageant since 2010. Some have also placed in previous Miss World and Miss International finals.
In scouting a potential candidate, Mr Gaffud said that height – at least five feet five inches tall (165.1cm) – and “the beauty of face” were most important.
But training was just as important. He said candidates need to start training at least six months before a competition. This included studying the pageant’s cause, learning how to walk on stage, knowing how to do hair and make-up, exercising to tone the physique and practicing how to answer questions, he said.
Ms Seifert, who trained at another beauty camp, said that the hours spent training were intense.
“There are different exercises that you do, all the way from head to toe. Stretching, neck rotations, really tough waist movements to shape your waist,” she said.
One exercise was called the “duck walk” and involved walking in circles in a bikini at a dance studio lined with mirrors. “Just imagine doing lunges in high heels with a book or several books on your head – and they cannot fall,” she said.
And despite her previous experience as a television host, she still received coaching for the pageant Q&A, as well as advice from former pageant winners.
Love for beauty
The Philippines has placed in the top five of the Miss Universe pageant in the past four years
Like Ms Seifert, Sian Elizabeth Maynard also trained at a beauty camp before taking part in a national pageant, even after successfully winning three local titles.
She did calisthenics exercises and walking training, which included “doing weird lunges and wiggling”.
“So when we do these lunges, and we wiggle our hips, it’s really tiresome. And we all do this in four-inch heels minimum. It helps us to lengthen our stride and to put more sway in our hips,” Ms Maynard said.
Sometimes she had to do the high-heeled lunges while answering questions called out by her mentors.
“And then, every so often while we’re doing it, one of them [trainers] would just call out a question, like you know, ‘If you had to take out an element out the universe, which element would it be and why? Earth, wind, fire or water?’
“It’s really not just about smiling and standing in front of people. It’s a lot of hard work,” said Ms Maynard, now 27.
Even the tiny details matter, Mr Gaffud said. He helps pick the right outfits and involves himself with how a candidate “should sway on stage”. He even helps pick a candidate’s lipstick shade – anything to help improve her chances. He said mentors tried to build on a candidate’s natural traits, such as whether to cultivate a sweet or sexy image.
Some mentors do charge for their services, but most like Mr Gaffud do it “for the love of finding a girl”.
“This is a side project,” he said, adding that mentors help pay for the candidate’s make-up, pictorials, food and sometimes even their rent.
Some mentors, however, go on to manage their beauty queen’s careers after they are successful in pageants.
“They don’t expect us to pay for anything, which I just find really amazing,” said Ms Seifert, “because these pageant aficionados have full-time jobs, but they really dedicate so much of themselves to helping us develop and train,” she said.
Certain pageants, like Miss Earth, advocate for agendas like environmental awareness
Becoming a beauty queen is not always glamorous, Ms Seifert cautioned. “The moment I got crowned was the moment all the hard work began,” she said.
In her case, being a Miss Philippines-Earth winner and Miss Earth runner-up meant many public appearances to promote environmental causes.
Pageant winners have high public profiles in the Philippines, and winning a title is seen as coming with big responsibilities. As “an important public figure”, it was important to set a good example to young girls who looked up to beauty queens, Ms Seifert said.
Winners are feted, introduced to high-ranking officials, and often recognised on the street and asked to pose for photographs.
Anjo Lorenzana, a lecturer from the Ateneo de Manila University who specialises in media and popular culture, said pageants were also an opportunity for the Philippines to promote its image on an international stage.
“By winning international beauty contests, Filipinos, who are usually equated with lowly occupations, can be seen in a better light,” he said.
For the candidates, pageants can be a stepping stone for upward social or economic mobility, Jose Wendell Capili said.
He added that Filipinos were deeply passionate about pageants, pointing to heated online discussions. “Rooting for a particular candidate can sometimes break up families, friendships and relationships,” he said.
Tammy David, who has been photographing pageants since 2007, said the most unusual pageant she shot was inside a large jail.
“You could see how parents were proud because their daughter was Little Miss Bureau of Corrections,” Ms David said. “Beauty pageants are everywhere.”
Beauty pageant basics
The “Big Four” international pageants are Miss Universe, Miss World, Miss International and Miss Earth
The Philippines has won all of the Big Four titles, some more than once
National pageants are held to select representatives to the international competitions
Filipina beauty queens 2013
Megan Young became the first Filipina to win the Miss World title
Bea Rose Santiago (in picture) became the fifth Filipina to win the Miss International title
Mutya Johanna Datul became the first Filipina to win the Miss Supranational title
Angeli Dione Gomez won Miss Tourism International
Ariella Arida was a top five finalist in Miss Universe
Angelee Claudett de los Reyes was a top 10 finalist in Miss Earth
Sian Elizabeth Maynard, now 27, did not really want to join beauty pageants. But she says her mum “begged me to, so I joined a local one”.
She joined three local pageants a year from 2007 to 2009 – two in Cebu province in central Philippines and one national pageant – and won all titles. She was one of 10 finalists in Miss Philippines-Earth in 2010.
They were not all pleasant experiences. Once, some of the candidates’ sashes – which must be worn at all times in the competition – went missing. Replacements were quickly made, but some women ended up wearing their sashes even while brushing their teeth. Ms Maynard slept with hers under her pillow.
“In other pageants, someone would cut the strap of a bikini or the strap of a sandal,” she said.
“The number one rule is that you have to watch your belongings because there could be a lot of theft, like make-up and cell phones go missing,” Ms Maynard said.
But she had good memories too, and said she made many friends. She learned how to dress up and present herself, when before joining she “didn’t even know or bother to comb my hair”.
This is a most unique beauty contest, which is the Camel Beauty pageant held during the Al Dhafra Festival.
Though we are used to watching women parade in their national costumes that get more bizarre each year and skimpy swimsuits, there is something really beautiful and graceful about the camels; they have a certain dignity about them.
And the prize is serious money. The winner can be bought for as much as £2Million ($3,291,800.00 US Dollar) But then again, the winner is seriously beautiful which is judged by its eyelashes, humps, height, colour, and good manners!
I want to go see this festival, I think I shall add it to my bucket list.
By Zein Ja’Far, Sky News Producer
It is one of the world’s most unique beauty pageants.
Every year people travel thousands of miles, from across the Gulf, to the Western Region of the United Arab Emirates to attend the prestigious event.
But you won’t find any designer dresses, tiaras or make-up artists here because they’ve come to seek out the region’s next top camel.
The Al Dhafra festival is in its seventh year and seeks to celebrate and promote culture.
The highlight is the camel beauty pageant which sees thousands of contestants strut their stuff in two competitions: one for the light-coloured Asayel breed and another for the dark-skinned Majahim.
They’re judged on a range of criteria from the size of the head, length of its neck and the shape of the hump. And big is most definitely considered beautiful.
But looks aren’t everything and points are also awarded for model behaviour with the very best camels sold for up to £2m.
Khamees Mohammad al Sharee, a camel owner who regularly attends the festival, explains how the winners are picked.
“There is a special committee, appointed by the authorities, which judges the competition. They place all the camels together in one pen and decide.”
For many people in this part of the Middle East the protection of pure-bred camels is integral to the preservation of their history and traditions.
These “desert ships”, as some refer to them, historically provided Bedouins with a source of milk and transportation. They’re also seen, more recently, as a potentially profitable business investment.
And it’s not just millions of pounds worth of cash prizes and cars that entice people to come. It’s a matter of national pride with camel-owning families from the UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman and other Gulf states all competing.
It’s also attracting interest from further afield. For South African, Danielle Tennant, it was her first experience of a camel beauty pageant.
“As we arrived we were ushered in and we were given a personal guide. We tried some amazing Arabian coffee and we’ve been taken around to the stalls.
“It’s been quite fascinating to think it’s another whole interest, a passion people have.”
As well as the beauty pageant the Al Dhafra festival, which runs for two weeks, also hosts camel races, saluki races, falconry competitions and a traditional Emirati market.
GlobalGranary.org sends its best wishes to Bea Alonso Santiago, Philippines’ candidate to the forthcoming Miss International Beauty Pageant to be held at the Shinagawa Prince Hotel Hall in Japan on December 17.
She is a beautiful, willowy young lady and we predict that she will be bringing back the crown to the Philippines.
Update: Bea Rose Santiago of the Philippines was declared the winner of the 2013 Miss International Beauty Pageant. The contest was held in Shinagawa Prince Hotel Hall in Tokyo, Japan today, 17 December 2013.
ANNOUNCEMENT! From Cory Quirino of Miss World Philippines
PLEASE pass this on….
Lets show our love for Megan our very first Miss World! JOIN THE VICTORY PARADE FOR MISS WORLD 2013 MEGAN YOUNG. Tomorrow, Friday oct 11 ASSEMBLY POINT: PETRON MKTI AV COR BUENDIA , 1PM. PARADE starts 1:30pm. Route: Buendía-Ayala–Edsa- MOA . Live coverage by ABS CBN. Wear blue, bring blue ribbons, blue balloons – the color of the Miss World Crown. All office buildings are requested to SHOWER MEGAN WITH BLUE , WHITE AND AQUA CONFETTI! The Parade is one kilometer long! Parade Organizer MMDA CHAIR FRANCIS TOLENTINO. Thank you MMDA! Thank you Philippines for supporting our Megan Lynne Young. PLS SHARE para malaman ng mga Pinoy!
From Cory Quirino of Miss World PhilippinesPLEASE pass
Megan Young, the first Filipina to win the Miss World beauty pageant, will spend her year-long reign mostly in London.
I am not sure why she has to stay in London. Shouldn’t she be heading instead to America’s Cape Canaveral and hitch a rocket ride to orbit the world, which she is the MISS of?!!! 😉
But seriously though, wouldn’t it be more logical and pertinent for her to tour the world’s continents and nations and be the BEAUTY With a Purpose that the Miss World has professed to be?
Another thing London has not been really au fait with beauty contests for decades. We can only presume that there is a Miss UK beauty pageant but we are not sure as there is not much media coverage. We don’t even know who they were/are.
Beauty competitions are seen as being politically incorrect, degrading to women and old-fashioned. It has stopped being shown on British Television since the 80s. It was resurrected in 1998 but was promptly dropped again as it was not popular. I supposed you can catch them on lesser known satellite channels and webcast.
That is the reason I find it strange that winners spend their reign in London at all, where they will be seen as inconsequential and self-obsessed! LOL
Megan Young is half Filipina, half American. She was born in the US but went to live in the Philippines when she was 10 years old. Despite her being half American, it is easy to see that she is part Filipina as she has the beautiful features of Pinays.
For all it’s worth enjoy your world domination of London! LOL
Advice to MEGAN: Always wear your sash of Miss World and your crown so Londoners will know what you are about otherwise you will just be a beautiful girl in a sea of London’s beautiful people!
YEHEY, MISS WORLD IS MISS PHILIPPINES!!! Never in the 61 years history of Miss World that a Filipina won, until now.
CONGRATULATIONS MEGAN YOUNG!
……………………………………………………………. Reign Update of the Beauteous Megan Young 24 September 2014
This is a lovely news for Filipinas who aspire to the coveted Miss World title. After 61 years of waiting and hoping, Megan Young bagged it gracefully and beautifully. And now Megan Young is purported to have been asked to stay on as Miss World for an extra year, making her reign to last from Dec 2013 to November 2015. Having said that, there is no news that this year’s Miss World contest is being shelved, I suppose the winner will have a year-long wait and commence to sashay around her world dominion on December 2015.
I hope they will be paying Megan Young a lot of money for this extended privilege, otherwise if I were her, I would turn down the offer and go back to the Philippines and milk her WORDLY popularity for all its worth. She is now 24 years old and will be 26 when her reign is finished. She will be rather mature for Filipinos’ taste.
As Megan is mostly away from the country, her fan-base is dwindling; some of her fans would have affiliated themselves with pretty young teens who are prepared to do anything to become even prettier and whiter.
It is shocking but the role she might get when she rejoins the movies is the mother of some nubile up and coming fetus like Barbie Fortaleza (?) or Bea Bangenge or Banana?!!!
Time to decide: Fame and fortune a la Philippines? Or fame and fortune a la Miss World?
Or put it this way, would Megan prefer the fame of Miss World or queening it like Marian Rivera? …………………………………. 11/10/2014 The beautiful Megan Young has clarified her position within Miss World. Contrary to reports, her reign is not going to be extended for another year, but rather she will be offered to stay on as an extra “pair of hand” and work side by side with the coming Miss World 2014 to spread “beaty with a purpose” around the world.
Finally, the finals for the Miss World beauty pageants is almost upon us. It is to be held this Saturday in Bali, Indonesia amidst concerns of terrorist attacks. Indonesia, which is prodominantly an Islamic country has been very vocal from the outset of their dissatisfaction that a beauty pageant where contestants are judged wearing flimsy and skimpy bikinis is held in their deeply religious country.
Anyway, hope everything turns out ok and that there is no repeat of the Kenya massacre in Indonesia.
Our hopes and confidence is with Megan Young of the Philippines. Hope she brings home the crown. About time that a Miss Philippines wins the crown. We have had winners in every beauty contest that has been invented but Miss World remains elusive. No wonder there is this alleged conception that Miss World is heaving and teeming with racism. Hardly a person of colour wins the title!
For all its worth our money is on Megan Young for Miss World.
Indonesia to host Miss World final amid Muslim anger
By Gde Putra Wicaksana | AFP – 13 hours ago
AFP/AFP – The Miss World final takes place on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on Saturday after weeks of protests from Muslim hardliners and warnings that extremists could attack the pageant
Miss World competitors take part in ‘beauty with a purpose day’ in Nusa Dua on Indonesia’s …
Miss China Wei Wei Yu walks on the catwalk during the Miss World contest final in …
Miss World 2013 contestants take part in a fashion show in Nusa Dua on Indonesia’s …
The Miss World final takes place on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on Saturday after weeks of protests from Muslim hardliners and warnings that extremists could attack the pageant.
Police and Balinese security personnel, wearing traditional sarongs and armed with daggers, will be out in force on the Hindu-majority island as the beauty queens take to the stage.
A total of 129 contestants will parade in the glittering finale of the three-week event, which will be broadcast to more than 180 countries.
But protests by Islamic radicals in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, have overshadowed the contest and prompted authorities to order the whole event be moved to Bali, where hardliners have little influence.
Radical anger has not been appeased, however. The hardliners are threatening to stage fresh protests on Saturday and even to try to break through heavy security to get into Bali to demonstrate at the venue.
“We are going to protest against it, because it is unacceptable,” said Haidar Al-Hamid, head of the East Java province branch of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI).
The province sits just across the water from Bali, and he said that the group planned to head to the island on Saturday, although they will face a tough time as main entry points will be heavily guarded.
Hundreds of FPI members have already made one attempt to cross to Bali from East Java earlier this month — but the group was stopped from getting onto a ferry by a line of female police backed by hundreds of elite officers.
Adding to concerns, the American, British and Australian embassies have said that radicals could attack the pageant, a chilling warning on an island where bombings in 2002 killed more than 200 people, most of them foreign tourists.
“Extremist groups may be planning to disrupt the Miss World pageant… potentially through violent means,” said the US embassy in Jakarta.
Adjie S. Soeratmadjie, corporate secretary of TV network RCTI, which is broadcasting Miss World and helping to organise it, said security was the “main concern”.
“We are confident that the police will do everything necessary to ensure safety,” he said.
From Indonesian capital Jakarta to cities on Sumatra island and Borneo, thousands have joined protests across the Indonesian archipelago, denouncing Miss World as “pornography” and a “whore contest” and burning effigies of the organisers.
Despite a pledge by the British-based organisers to axe the famed bikini round even before the pageant began, the protest movement snowballed, pushing the authorities into switching the venue.
Organisers always planned to hold the September 8 opening and early rounds on Bali but later rounds and the final were to take place in and around Jakarta, where radicals wield considerable influence.
The decision to change locations was another victory for Indonesia’s hardline fringe, who are only a tiny minority but have succeeded in getting events they deem “un-Islamic” cancelled or changed in the past.
Last year, Lady Gaga axed a concert after threats to burn down the venue and criticism for wearing only “a bra and panties”.
Authorities are hoping that hosting the event on Bali will present them with less of a security headache, given the island is a pocket of relaxed Hinduism used to hordes of scantily clad foreign tourists.
But they are not taking any chances — almost 500 police have been deployed to guard venues linked to Miss World since the pageant began and almost 700 will be on duty on Saturday, according to police.
They will be reinforced by traditional Balinese security personnel, known as “pecalang”, who work with police but come under the authority of their local villages, according to Bali police spokesman Hariadi, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.
The late decision for the venue change infuriated MNC media group, the main local organiser and parent company of RCTI, as it meant a new venue on Bali had to be hastily found.
Despite the difficulties, the show has continued as planned, with contestants participating in rounds including a talent show and a “top model” contest.
Saturday’s final, in Nusa Dua, southern Bali, will last several hours and will see the contestants parade in Indonesian-designed dresses and feature a series of musical performances.
The finalists will face a question and answer round from a panel of judges before a winner is crowned.
If someone really lives up to her title and the blurb that goes with the pageantry, then it is Margie Moran. This woman is tireless in promoting the beauty regimen, health and fitness and even more tireless in working towards her many charities.
To Margie Moran, you are truly deserving of your title and true inspiration to womenfolk not only of the Philippines but of the world and the universe. 😉
For Margie Moran Floirendo, 60 is really the new 40
4:04 am | Sunday, September 22nd, 2013
DANCING the tango with Jay Jarana in an Ito Curata outfit
Forty years after being crowned Miss Universe, Maria Margarita “Margie” Moran Floirendo is still hot—at 60. Beyond looking good for her age, she still makes news.
When she celebrated her birthday two Saturdays ago at Whitespace, Floirendo announced her age with pride.
“I contemplated that for a whole year. I was excited to turn 60,” she says.
The media has been harping on 60 as the new 40. In a survey conducted by the UK Daily Mail, respondents set down age 66 as “old,” not 60. At 60, many of them said, they felt they were in their best financial and physical shape ever.
The Daily Telegraph also describes “60” as the time for “late-life epiphany” and “the age of creative renewal.”
HELPING build a home in Baseco, Tondo for Habitat for Humanity
“The joke used to be that life began at 40, but it seems like it really gets going at 60,” says the Daily Mail.
“Turning 60 is one of the most exciting things to experience because I feel confident,” says Floirendo.
She recalls how her grandmother had a younger lover, and how her mother didn’t slow down at that age.
“When you say 60 is the new 40, you can be youthful in your mind, but not physically,” says Floirendo.
Still, she prepared for her big to-do. “I didn’t want to look heavy-duty.”
The former dancer took private ballet lessons for three months at Arts in the City to shape up for her number in her party.
She went on the HcG diet, which restricts calories to 500 a day. Floirendo lost 15 lbs, and became trim enough to fit into a body-hugging Hervé Léger.
Working with women from different cultures and backgrounds via the Mindanao Commission of Women.
Her daughter’s wedding
She admits she’s still trying to cut down on her carbohydrates, sugar and salt, as she girds for her daughter’s wedding.
Monica Floirendo, a culinary consultant, and banker Keenan Ugarte will tie the knot in January in the family-owned Pearl Farm.
As an endorser of the Belo Medical Group, Floirendo took Dr. Vicki Belo’s supplements and underwent stem-cell rejuvenation.
She admits that she has tried minimally invasive procedures such as stem-cell technology with dermal fillers.
“Maybe when I’m 65, I will look 60,” she says with her trademark girlish giggle.
At her party, baby boomers forgot about midlife and relived their youth in the sparkling disco days of the ’70s. The event’s highlight was a mock restaging of her coronation in the Miss Universe Pageant in Athens, Greece.
With the Bagobos who make a living weaving fine t’nalak for retail
In her life, Floirendo has worn many crowns of responsibility—as a tourism executive, producer, writer and humanitarian, among others.
Her career largely depended not so much on her youthful appearance as on her leadership skills.
When she became president of the 44-year-old Ballet Philippines, the company grew in size, attracted bigger audiences and raised more donations and revenues. Plans are afoot to improve the housing program for dancers and build another studio.
Upon the invitation of Fernando Zobel de Ayala, chair of the Habitat for Humanity (HFH) Asia-Pacific Capital Campaign, Floirendo has also been working as a trustee of the campaign.
“He asked me to help in the Youth Build volunteer group,” recalls Floirendo, who was in her mid-40s when she joined HFH, an international nonprofit organization that provides affordable housing for the poor.
She witnessed how, in a decade, projects grew from 200 houses built to 5,000 houses a year. HFH works with the Department of Social Welfare and Development to give shelter to Filipinos living in danger zones.
Since the Floirendos own agricultural businesses and ports in Mindanao, she focused on areas that have been devastated by calamities.
Some 6,000 houses will rise in Cagayan de Oro after the onslaught of Typhoon Pablo. In Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental, HFH assisted victims of Typhoon Bopha.
Floirendo adds, “As part of the rehabilitation and peace process, we got funding from the European Union. We built houses in post-conflict areas.”
She says HFH has been very transparent with donors and the DWSD. “We make sure they visit the communities to see where their money went.”
Floirendo continues to work for the support of agencies, DWSD and private donors, for capital and land. She’s encouraged her daughters to volunteer to help build houses or raise funds.
“I merely serve as a catalyst,” she says.
As women’s issues are close to her heart, Floirendo is the chair and a founding member of the Mindanao Commission of Women (MCW), an nongoverment organization that works to foster harmony among Muslim, Christian and tribal woman leaders in the region.
“We’ve been teaching women how to confront feuds and establish peace in their communities,” she says.
One of its most successful programs was the “Mothers for Peace” campaign in 2003, which crusaded for nonviolence and drew attention to the plight of civilians, especially women and children in war-torn areas of Maguindanao.
Floirendo was at the forefront of this campaign, collaborating with Archbishop Orlando Quevedo and Tabang Mindanao, an NGO. After three months of intense media campaign, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front declared a ceasefire.
“We want to have a vision of what Mindanao will be 20 years from now. We have been having conferences with the MILF to make sure that when they get funds, they set some aside for women’s livelihood.”
One result was when Tarhata Ibrahim, Nur Misuari’s second wife, successfully organized a women’s program after a peace agreement.
Floirendo says the country needs more education in building peace, especially in conflict-ridden areas. MCW is working with women’s groups to influence lawmakers to make better laws and policies.
The former beauty queen certainly knows how to balance substance and style. A few days after her disco party, Floirendo flew to Davao for an HFH fund-raising activity at Abreeza Mall.
While busy with travel, tango lessons and socials, she finds time to listen to lectures on meditation.
“At this age, you’re more aware that you have to live life to the fullest,” she says.