MAKATI CITY, PHILIPPINES—Reigning Binibining Pilipinas Intercontinental Emma Mary Tiglao was joined by her fellow Kapampangan beauty queens and models in a relief mission dubbed “Care for Every Juan” initiated by makeup artist and beauty queen handler Richard Strandz in Pampanga, to aid indigent families affected by the Luzon-wide “enhanced community quarantine” imposed by the government amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.
“Every day there are four volunteers who pack goods, and distribute them to families who really need them,” Tiglao told the Inquirer in an online interview. Aside from taking part in the packing of goods, the ladies also donated to the relief effort.
“As of now, there are 45 of us in this group of beauty queens and models in Pampanga,” she added.
Among the beauties who lent their hand in the initiative was reigning Miss Tourism International Cyrille Payumo, the fifth Filipino woman to win in the Malaysia-based global pageant.
The packing of goods takes place at Strandz’s residence in Angeles City. His group conducted a survey to determine which communities are in most dire need of assistance, Tiglao said.
“It makes me happy to see a lot of good Samaritans showing up in this difficult time. Some Kapampangan designers provided masks and PPEs (personal protective equipment) for the health care workers. Some gave food for the frontliners,” Tiglao shared.
The Care for Every Juan project has so far reached more than 100 families in Angeles City. More households are expected to benefit from it in the future with the packing still ongoing.
Armed with a letter, Tiglao said, they were able to enter the barangays they intended to visit.
The beauty queen cited the Kapampangan’s resilience, as evidenced by the Mount Pinatubo eruption in 1991 which devastated the province and nearby towns, even parts of Metro Manila.
“We just become even stronger in times of crisis, knowing that there are other people who still need our help,” Tiglao said.
However, she also noted that the pandemic will prevent the Kapampangan from practicing the self-flagellation tradition during the Holy Week, a spectacle that has put the province on the world map and has been attracting foreign and local tourists.
“I asked my mother if this would be the first time in history, and she said that it is indeed unprecedented,” Tiglao shared.
She called on her Cabalen (fellow Kapampangan) to find other ways of expressing their faith and showcasing their devotion to the Lord in the most important season among Catholics.
“What is more important is the health and safety of everyone. May we all heed the government’s call and the World Health Organization,” Tiglao appealed.
“Alagpasan taya mu rin pu ini basta manadi at misawup misawup tamu mu pu,” (we shall overcome this as long as we pray and help each other), she continued.
As of this writing, the Philippines has recorded 3,870 COVID-19 cases, with 182 deaths and 96 recoveries.