PASAY CITY, PHILIPPINES—A quite obscure beauty pageant will push through in the middle of growing global fear over the spread of the deadly COVID-19 disease, seeking to bring together dozens of contestants just as health officials were trying to discourage gatherings to protect populations from infection.
One of these women, Rosenda Casaje, a 30-year-old registered nurse from Bulacan, left the country on March 10 for Singapore for the Mrs. Global Universe pageant, an international beauty contest for women with children and spouses from around the world.
Casaje, who markets beauty products in Malolos, Bulacan, will compete with 24 other delegates from different countries who would display courage in the face of a pandemic that has killed nearly 5,000 people worldwide.
New data from the World Health Organization (WHO) showed more than 100,000 infections around the world, with most cases reported in China.
This was the reason Casaje had added some items unusual for beauty contestants to her usual stilettos, sparkling wardrobe and heaps of cosmetics—supplies to protect her from COVID-19 infection.
At her sendoff at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 in Pasay City, the Filipino beauty queen showed members of media a bottle of vitamins, several pieces of surgical masks, bottles of alcohol, hand sanitizers and sanitary wipes.
“I’m prepared. I’m taking the necessary precautions, and I know the international organization will not allow any danger to happen to us there,” Casaje told the Inquirer.
The 2020 Mrs. Global Universe pageant may be Casaje’s first foray in the beauty contest scene. But the rookie assured the Filipino people that she has prepared for the global stage, and has received lessons from many experienced mentors.
Casaje’s bid for the international crown will culminate in the coronation ceremonies on March 15, the day Metro Manila will be shut down for people’s exit and entry as part of a community quarantine.