Independent Cebu?

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Sunday, January 19, 2014

THE question about an independent Cebu hurled at candidate 8 of Miss Cebu 2014 last week was not one usually heard during beauty pageants. But it seems Diane Muego was not an ordinary pageant candidate either.

The political science student from the University of the Philippines (UP) Cebu did not blurt out platitudes like the others. Instead, Diane convincingly outlined a thesis on why Cebu should become a progressive city in central Philippines, not an independent country.

Diane went on to become Miss Cebu 2014, beating pageant favorite Eva Patalinjug.


Going through some post-coronation night Facebook conversations, I realized many would have wanted a prettier face winning the crown than one dishing out the best answers.

But then, Miss Cebu has a tradition of going for brains.

I later learned from her friends that Diane knew she can answer questions better than the others. And she spent the night before chatting in Facebook with fellow UP political science majors and student activists as they went over different possible questions to further sharpen her answers.

I also learned that she is also one feisty student activist who once tangled with a militant feminist of a professor who declared beauty pageants degrade women. Well, I am familiar with this thesis. It seems winning the Miss Cebu 2014 crown won Diane the argument.


The question about an independent Cebu first came about several years ago as a reaction to Manila’s imperial treatment of other urban centers, especially in the Visayas and Mindanao. Arguing otherwise does not sit well with some who believe Cebu can progress faster independent of the Philippines and become like Singapore. When I posted Diane’s position in Maghisgot Kitag Politika, Bay in Facebook, it still elicited a spirited discussion.


After decades of bringing the family to the Mongaya house near Fuente Osmena every Sinulog, we decided to stay in a nearby uptown hotel. This way, we won’t be wading through thick crowds on our way home after the Sinulog parade.  The kids and our friends will have a place to stay after walking the whole day.

While the Fuente Osmeña area was not as crowded Friday night compared to the Sinulog of yesteryears, I expected more people to emerge on Saturday and Sunday.  

There was another purpose, though. Doris is helping AirAsia with their float–you wouldn’t miss that plane during the Sinulog parade. She needed a place where the models can change clothes Sunday dawn.

The airline wanted to interact directly with ordinary Cebuanos and thus even came up with an interactive social media campaign.

And so, while rushing to finish this column at our hotel room, I was pleasantly surprised when the four tall models returned after the parade to change to their Sinulog outfits. Sorry for the delay, Sir Pubs.


It was the first time for AirAsia Zest to participate in the Sinulog parade and executives led by The Apprentice winner Jonathan Yabut were amazed to see the thick crowds along the whole route.

According to Ka Bino Guerrero who joined the float in his traditional Cebuano outfit, the excited executives--the delegation included a Malaysian and a British national--are already planning what to do next year.

That should be good considering that this international airline would be an asset for Cebu and the Philippines on 2015, the year the Asean Economic Community will start.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 20, 2014.


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