MAKATI CITY, Philippines—Over 1,000 applicants turned up for the first edition of the “Queen of bECQi” pageant launch in 2020 when the government placed Metro Manila and other parts of the country on enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) as part of its pandemic response.
After a series of online challenges, Marian Crisologo beat 120 other official contenders, including “It’s Showtime” Miss Q&A grand finalists Matmat Centeno and Lars Pacheco, who both finished as runners-up. The winner took home P100,000 in the online beauty pageant in 2020, organized by the Sir Wil Online Challenge team.
The team’s head, entrepreneur and LGBTQI+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and more) personality Wilbert Tolentino, doubled the pot to P200,000 for 2021.
Rodgil Fores, head of the famed beauty camp “Kagandahang Flores” and pageant director of Queen of bECQi, told the Inquirer in an online interview that the number of contestants in 2021 will be raised to 170 from 120 in 2020 because of the overwhelming response from participants.
“We were able to gather almost 4,000 applicants,” he said.
Flores said Tolentino immediately called his team for another round of Queen of bECQi when the government imposed ECQ once again last March.
Tolentino, according to Flores, “wanted to give aid to the trans-gay community” during the second round of ECQ. “All contestants will receive consolation prizes,” Flores said.
Just like in 2020, a series of online challenges will serve as elimination rounds to whittle down the roster of contenders in time for the final competition.
The pageant mentor and director said the contest is looking for someone “who exemplifies beauty, confidence, wit and intelligence. Someone who can be the best representation of the ‘beki’ community!”
For the 2021 winners, Flores said the team is “currently mapping out plans for more active social media presence.”