A screening in the sky!
Screening time for the candidates for Hari Negros again! How fast the year rolls by. Anticipating once again helping to choose “best of the crop” of youth and beauty presented to us by chief “Hari Poo-bah” Michael Ocampo, I and the gang – Pichina Teves, Merilyn Kays, Linda Basmayor, Bebsy Lamis, Jojo Victorio, Carlos Ruiz, this year’s Hari Ralph Jadraque, -all chaired by the very judicious Toby Dichoso, and accompanied by ace photographer John Stevenson and assistant Mark Besario (a very well blended crew of experts in male totality, I think!) all embarked on our merry way to Canlaon, that cool haven in the Negros skies, enjoying the breathtaking scenery on the way up.
After a nice “native-style” lunch courtesy of the Canlaon Tourism Council, we got down to work, listening to, and of course looking at all the young hopefuls- first fully clothed and then “briefed”. Well, this year, no obvious drop-dead gorgeous sure winners on the menu- or drop dead losers either. What we saw was just a nice selection of attractive, well spoken guys hoping to represent the best of Negros for the coming year. This is probably the way it should be- but it made it tough for us screeners. When all the bananas in a bunch are of top quality and about the same color, it’s hard to pick and choose!
And in fact we were at it for hours, in a fever dream of endless questions and answers, parading boys, paper score sheets, picture taking, and tight little conferences between the screeners. The main thing that kept us “head scratching” was, what boy should represent which town? On a small island like Negros, everybody moves around and has roots everywhere, so how do you pick? Believe it or not, this kept us all up, in heated debate, ‘till 3AM as everyone drooped with fatigue. But finally we figured it out, the boys were officially sworn in, and we all crashed into bed.
Next day after breakfast, back home again- on the way stopping at LaLiMar in La Libertad, where we were entertained and treated to a truly gourmet lunch in this stunningly beautiful civic resort- courtesy of Rep. Josy Limkaichiong (Neg. Or., 1st District), who was super-gracious and friendly to all as usual. If only all our politicians were of this caliber! If ever there is a “Hara ng Congress” pageant, she should win hands down! So, that’s all for now folks…. Nous.