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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

entry arrow2:26 PM | More About Hari

There are some things in life -- the cyclical ones, like a birthday or an annual program -- that make you pause about the nature of time. That it flies, for example, or that it is short.

It's June once again, and because I am quite close to many of the people involved, I get amused by the idea that it is Hari ng Negros time again. Has it been almost a year since Mark was given the title in a close fight among 24 candidates from various towns and cities of both Negros Occidental and Oriental? Has it been a year since he was proclaimed "the Wielder of the Sword of Malaspina, the Guardian of the Gates of Margaha, the Protector of the Golden Salakot and the Defender of the Code of Calantiao"?

Perhaps for Michael Ocampo, an old friend and the chief organizer of the annual male pageant set in Canlaon City, the prospect of a fifth year -- a paper anniversary -- may prove an occasion for wistful recollection, and maybe even wonderment. Because the male pageant, increasingly one of the most respected of its kind in the country, has grown from its almost humble beginnings when it was simply known as Ginoong Canlaon, and with only a handful of young men vying for the honor. Ambition and a sense of difference have geared the pageant towards a different path, and now Hari ng Negros attracts not only some of the best specimen of Negrense manhood, but also some formidable men and women from the top tier of Philippine culture and society (Patis Tesoro and Ado Escudero have been judges). "A lot of people in Manila has really taken note that Hari ng Negros is a pageant where winners don’t only have bodies or looks, they also have brains," Michael told ABS-CBN News once. (He's talking about Mark, of course, who wasn't your regular muscled candidate but got the sword through sheer mental brilliance and a cute smile.)

Like what I've said before, Paulo Mirasol, the candidate from Bacolod, seemed to embody for me the best chances of making it as the next Hari ng Negros. What did I say about him? "He looked fit, actually looked good without being cocky about it, and seemed to display confident charm and intelligence," I wrote.

Somebody from Negros Occidental should make it this year. It has been four years of the Hari sword being in the hands of Oriental winners (Canlaon first won it through Emmanuel Labirua, followed by Guihulngan's Reiven Bulado, Dumaguete's Paul Brett Orozco, and Jimalalud's Mark Fabillar), and maybe it's time to share the honor with the other side the island.

Hopefully Mr. Bacolod will give Occidental a bigger chance for getting that sword this year. Most of the Occidental candidates seem very strong, good-looking, and fairly competitive, and they would include, in my estimation, Nick Michael Garbanzos of Bago, Andrew Briz of Toboso, Mark Angelo Benjamin of Pulupandan, and Marco Angelo Ongsinco of Sagay. Giving the Oriental side a fighting chance are Jake Ragada of Amlan, Barry Escalona of Bayawan, Christopher James Solamillo of Dauin, Kenji Colacito of Manjuyod, and Wilfred Placencia Jr. of Sibulan. The rest seems forgettable, or just did not get into my vibes of things. Interestingly, four of the candidates (Sagay, Manjuyod, Dauin, and Sibulan) are Sillimanians, the highest number ever from my university, I think. (Saint Paul University Dumaguete, Catholic school that it is, has the more formidable position of having produced two winners already.)

The Hari ng Negros candidates can be viewed at the pageant's Friendster account, where you can vote for Mr. Photogenic. Adding your favorites as friends will propel the one with the highest number of Friendsters into the Top Ten. The show is slated on July 1 in Canlaon City.


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