Bikini belle

Daily Tribune (Philippines) - - FRONT PAGE - WJG @tri­bunephl_wjg

When the Supreme Court is­sued a Man­damus on Manila Bay on 18 De­cem­ber 2016, which di­rected 13 gov­ern­ment agen­cies to clean up, re­ha­bil­i­tate and

pre­serve the bay, in­clud­ing restor­ing and main­tain­ing its waters to be fit for swim­ming, skin div­ing and other forms of re­cre­ation, ev­ery­one sup­pos­edly won from a cause fa­vor­able to the en­vi­ron­ment.

That le­gal vic­tory be­came a pub­lic tri­umph based on the thou­sands of peo­ple who flocked to the bay­walk area last Satur­day to walk on the ar­ti­fi­cial sand laid there to re­vive a part of the beach where tons of trash al­ways wash up af­ter a storm. The in­au­gu­ra­tion of the area be­side the United States Em­bassy by of­fi­cials of the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Nat­u­ral Re­sources and Manila City Hall, fol­lowed by its open­ing to the pub­lic, saw awed prom­e­naders, vlog­gers, re­porters and bu­reau­crats tak­ing un­lim­ited self­ies un­til sun­set.

If there are win­ners in the con­tro­ver­sial project, there are also losers. They in­clude crit­ics of the gov­ern­ment who ear­lier claimed that the dolomite sand used to recre­ate the beach is dam­ag­ing to the bay and the cost of which should have been spent in­stead to feed the hun­gry at this time in the pan­demic.

The big­gest loser was P/Lt. Col. Ariel Caramoan, com­man­der of the Er­mita po­lice sta­tion, which has ju­ris­dic­tion over Manila’s bay­walk. He was re­lieved from his post by Philip­pine Na­tional Po­lice chief Lt. Gen. Camilo Cas­colan for fail­ing to en­force phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing on the crowd that gath­ered along Roxas Boule­vard to en­ter the ren­o­vated shore.

Lt. Col. Alex Daniel, the Manila Po­lice District’s chief comptrolle­r, who re­placed Caramoan, was not the big­gest win­ner though even if he ben­e­fited from his col­league’s re­lief.

Nei­ther are the dolomite min­ers in Cebu that sup­plied the ar­ti­fi­cial sand for the Manila Bay shore.

The real win­ner for the day was 46-year-old Re­na­lyn Ma­cato who jumped the gun on ev­ery­one else by be­ing the first to be on Manila Bay beach wear­ing a red swim­suit last Sun­day.

Ma­cato’s dar­ing pho­tos taken by her friend are trend­ing on so­cial me­dia, and the hands-down fa­vorite among the many memes that were posted by ne­ti­zens for the #Mani­laBayChal­lenge.

More­over, the mother-of-three won’t even be pros­e­cuted or dis­qual­i­fied to run as the poster girl for the new Manila Bay, even if she was not wear­ing a mask at the time. Her shoot sans mask and face shield had the per­mis­sion of au­thor­i­ties at the time, be­cause it was a solo pic­to­rial at a crowd­less part of the beach.

There were ne­ti­zens who were not pleased with the in­stant fame earned by Ma­cato in her bikini, and she was even mocked by a grand­mother from Las Piñas City. But she is un­fazed from the cy­ber­bul­ly­ing and is en­joy­ing the 39,000 shares of her pho­tos.

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