by Nickie Wang
Maria Venus Raj’s fourth runner-up finish in the recent Miss Universe earned mixed reactions from people who tuned in to the most anticipated beauty contest in the world. She was almost kissing the diamond-studded tiara when something happened in the Q&A portion that made the panel of judges decide to give title instead to Mexican beauty, Jimena Navarrete.
Venus was all smiles when interviewed after the pageant, she should be of course because it’s still a better than nothing win, even pageant’s thank-you girls had the energy to appear on stage after being disappointed by Caucasian dolls that dominated the semifinals.
Meanwhile, while Venus was creating pageant history for the Philippines, netizens gave a blow-by-blow report about the pageant via Twitter and Facebook on Venus’ fanpage, in real-time. (Those in the know were smart enough not to tune it to terrestrial stations, watched instead on Star World which carried the pageant live from Las Vegas…Editor). These cybercitizens were not content with ABS-CBN’s commercial-filled coverage.
Local radio jock Sam Y G tweeted asking what channel he could tune in to watch the show live. The DJ, of Filipino-Indian descent like Venus, was watching the swimsuit parade on Kapamilya station when other celebrities were already tweetting Venus’s entry to the top 5. Yes, if you thought Philippines is just a boxing nation, then now you know that the country is also home to a number of pageantologists.
Speaking of boxing, one of the most interesting celebrity tweets was TJ Manotoc’s reposting of someone else’s tweet that says, “Philippines beats up Mexicans on a regular basis in boxing ring, ibigay na natin ‘to sa kanila. Mabuhay si Venus!” The news anchor, who’s one of the first people to update the online community about Korina Sanchez being booed at the Tears for Fears concert at the Big Dome sometime in May, was tossing coin whether he would watch the pageant or attend the press conference for NBA Legends.
Former Miss Universe first runner up Miriam Quiambao made a decision to attend a previous engagement but asked her Twitter followers to give her live updates on the pageant.
Other celebrities who tuned in to the live broadcast and posted their support and reaction to Venus’ performance were Mariel Rodriguez (who fell in love with John Legend’s voice while serenading the top 10 in the evening gown competition), Alessandra de Rossi (who was astonished on how beauty contestants strut the runway without watching their steps), Kris Aquino (who said: I was on treadmill—literally napatalon when Venus Raj was last name called for Top 15. Our country needed some good news. Thank u God!), comedienne K Brosas, former beauty titlist Ginger Conejero (who couldn’t hide her excitement on her tweets) and TV host and columnist Tim Yap.
Yap could have given the best and suitable answer if he were in the position of Venus on that time. The eventologist posted on his twitter account, “I was born proud to be Filipino, and it just so happened my papers didn’t say so, but I believe that I fought hard to win my crown back. There was a mistake in my papers, but I corrected it,” right after Venus responded to William Baldwin’s question.
These overwhelming responses were just few of the tweets that put “Venus Raj” as a trending topic on the microblogging site. Venus entered Twitter trending topics 45 minutes after the live telecast in the Sin City started. Netizens tweeted more about Venus than the pageant itself. As a matter of fact, the now infamous line “major major” easily became a buzz phrase despite its incoherence. The beauty queen’s name remained in the number 1 slot for two hours and one of the trending topics the whole day.
Majority of the reactions after the Q & A portion said that the Camarines Sur native was overconfident and that her biggest mistake so far is not listening to the question very well that’s why she blurted out a disjointed answer. Well, let us say that these bashers are standing on the other side of the fence and will never have, even in their wildest dream, a chance to experience what Venus had achieved during the pageant. She has gone far more than she had dreamed about, and her fifth place win is already a feat in itself considering ten of her predecessors (from 2000 to 2009) were all clappers. Despite her circus-like journey to Vegas, she still made Filipinos proud on that day; placing fifth overall is not bad at all. Now, the real question is, can BPCI produce another Venus?
A green thumb for Camarines Sur
In the heart of Bicol lies a world-class water sports complex that is envisioned to be a prime tourist destination in Asia.
With the growing number of wakeboarding enthusiasts in the world, the CamSur Watersports Complex is strategically positioned to lure tourists that look for a warmer place to enjoy water events. But here comes a setback, a wakeboarder normally travels with his family, so what can non-wakeboarder enjoy in CWC?
“A lot,”says CamSur governor LRay Villafuerte, “the whole family can enjoy other activities within the complex. We have areas for people who want to relax, to dine, and to go sightseeing.”
The CWC offers a six-point cable ski system, coupled with restaurants, sand bars, spas, pro-shops and grand stands to hold guests. It also has a skate park and a game room equipped with pool tables, foosball table, air hockey and a basketball court.
But amid these amenities, CWC lacks sufficient vegetation to make the complex more inviting. The lake is only surrounded by puny trees that cannot give shade to people walking around the complex under sweltering heat.
“We are already addressing this concern but as you know, it’s very expensive to plant trees,” the governor admits.
According to the governor, it cost around five to ten thousand pesos to plant a single tree and that means the local government will have to raise more funds to make CWC greener.
“One of our plans is to build a greenhouse, a nursery so that it will not cost us that much. We want to make the complex even more attractive not just to the wakeboarding enthusiasts that but also to the people who come here to see beautiful attractions,” LRay adds.
This year, CamSur is the third most frequented destination with 350,000 tourists during the period under review (first quarter of the year), just a few thousand behind Cebu and Metro Manila. USA is its top source market with a 17.96 percent share followed by the United Kingdom, Korea, Germany, Australia and Canada.
The number of tourists could increase if the local government focuses more on redeveloping its air transport service. It is difficult for travelers to go back and forth to the area. During our visit to the wakeboarding capital for the 2nd Lago del Rey Summer Aquafest through the sponsorship of LenPlus, our luggage was manually checked at the airport. Venus Raj can attest to that since she is a native of the province.