Filipina beauty pageant raises money for children in Philippines

The top 10 contestants of the Runway of Fashion 2020 pageant held in Hsinchu on Sunday / CNA photo Aug. 23, 2020

HSINCHU (CNA) — Hundreds of Filipinos gathered in Hsinchu on Sunday for a beauty pageant that was held to raise money for sick and underprivileged children in the Philippines.

At the “Runway of Fashion 2020” pageant, 25 contestants, mostly Filipina migrant workers, graced the catwalk at the city’s Feng Tsai Restaurant and Banquet Hall, dressed in fashion gowns and were judged on confidence, elegance, appearance, and presentation.

The competition in Hsinchu’s North District was part of an initiative by the Taiwan Triskelion International Council (TTIC), the Taiwan branch of a large international Filipino fraternity, to raise money for sick and underprivileged children in the Philippines.

“We are very lucky to be able to work in Taiwan, where the government has implemented successful disease prevention measures,” TTIC Chairman Carlo Victor C. Escullar said. “So we are focusing on doing what we can to help other Filipinos who are in dire need.”

Jacky Velasquez from Mapandan, Pangasinan walking down the catwalk / CNA photo Aug. 23, 2020
Maica Bustos from Pampanga poses for cameras / CNA photo Aug. 23, 2020

The pageant, attended by about 500 Filipinos and Filipino community leaders, raised 30,000 Philippine pesos (US$680) for 10 children undergoing medical treatment and another 30,000 pesos for a Philippine entity of the winner’s choice, he said.

The money was raised from the sale of raffle ticket and “Runway of Fashion” merchandise, including t-shirts, hats, and mugs, Escullar said.

Most of the competitors were migrant workers who toil for long hours in factories, and they gave their best on stage, said the event’s host Jhong Ortiz Reyes.

The beauty pageant was won by a 25-year-old Taoyuan factory worker, Rochelle Diyco, who hails from the Municipality of Lubao in Pampanga in the Central Luzon region of the Philippines.

Runway of Fashion 2020 grand winner Rochelle Diyco (center) / CNA photo Aug. 23, 2020
Runway of Fashion 2020 grand winner Rochelle Diyco / CNA photo Aug. 23, 2020

She was crowned the grand winner because she displayed confidence and beauty, according to Jay Marie, a 24-year-old professional model from Iloilo City in the Philippines, who was one of the judges.

Diyco won a total cash prize of NT$20,000 (US$680) and chose her high school, the Wenceslao Village High School in Lubao, as the recipient of the 30,000 peso donation.

“I’m encouraging my fellow Filipinas to compete in beauty pageants like this one today, because not only is it for a good cause, it can also help us fight home sickness when we are away from our families,” Diyco said.

Rochelle Diyco from Municipality of Lubao, Pampanga poses on the catwalk / CNA photo Aug. 23, 2020
Mae Jane Yasol from Lagindingan, Misamis Orietntal / CNA photo Aug. 23, 2020
Nova San from Dumaguete City, Negros Occidental / CNA photo Aug. 23, 2020

The other 30,000 pesos will be divided among 10 children in the Philippines for the treatment of epilepsy, heart disease, nephrotic syndrome and other diseases, according to Escullar.

In an interview with CNA on the sidelines of the pageant, Nestor Mayo, deputy director of the Assistance to Nationals section at the Manila Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei, said Filipino workers in Taiwan are like one large family.

They have been enthusiastic in their efforts to assist people in the Philippines who are in difficult circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.

“Our Filipinos here (in Taiwan) often hold events, especially when it comes to fundraising for our kababayans (countrymen) in the Philippines, Mayo said. “One great culture Filipinos have is their love for fashion and beauty pageants, which showcase not just our culture but also our camaraderie.”

That camaraderie is reflected in the fact that the participants in Sunday’s pageant came from all over Taiwan, according to Filipino community leader and Filipino Channel news correspondent Marie Yang.

Top 5 contestants of Runway of Fashion 2020 beauty pageant in Hsinchu on Sunday / CNA photo Aug. 23, 2020

Tau Gamma Phi, otherwise known as the Triskelions’ Grand Fraternity, was founded Oct. 4, 1968 by students of the University of the Philippines’ Diliman campus in Quezon City.

It has since spread internationally and has more than 200 members in Taiwan.

Taiwan Triskelion International Council headed by Chairman Carlo Victor C. Escullar (front, fifth left) and Vice Chairman Jonell Nino Guivencan (front, fourth left) / CNA photo Aug. 23, 2020