Mis­ter and Miss Ka­gay-an PLUS 2018

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Front Page - Jo Ann Sablad

TWENTY-TWO-YEAROLDS Rey­nan Panoy Baguio and Gem­ini Elorde Mat­u­lac were crowned this year’s Mis­ter and Miss Ka­gay-an PLUS last Satur­day, De­cem­ber 1, as part of the World AIDS Day cel­e­bra­tion.

“Ac­tu­ally, I didn’t ex­pect nga ako gyud makadaog kay among all the can­di­dates for the trans­gen­der women, I am not the pret­ti­est, I am not the sex­i­est. But I be­lieve I still can com­pete sa ilaha kay I know that this pageant is not just about beauty, body or brain, it is about how you pro­mote, your will­ing­ness, your com­mit­ment sa ani nga or­ga­ni­za­tion para makata­bang sa ubang tao,” Mat­u­lac said.

“Win­ning as Mis­ter Ka­gay-an Plus, it’s very un­ex­pected kay through­out the day murag wala gyud ko nag ex­pect pero ang feel­ing ba nga tanang ni­mong ef­fort, tanang imong nabuhat as peer ed­u­ca­tor, and karon nga naa na kay ti­tle, the more ka maka voice out,” Baguio, for his part, said.

The Mis­ter and Miss Ka­gay-an PLUS is a search for the next Hu­man Rights, HIV (hu­man im­mun­od­e­fi­ciency virus) and AIDS (ac­quired im­mun­od­e­fi­ciency syn­drome) am­bas­sadors of Ca­gayan de Oro City, con­ducted by Ka­gayan PLUS (Pre­serv­ing Life, Unit­ing So­ci­ety) Inc.

Ac­cord­ing to En­rique Niño Pa­tri­cio, the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Ka­gay-an PLUS, what they are look­ing for as their am­bas­sadors are “peer ed­u­ca­tors with a heart and right at­ti­tude.”

“Ang amo pud ing ani is if in the event nga kan­ing mga win­ners, kay kasagaraan sa com­mu­nity sa LGBT ayha pa mo­gawas ang batasan kun hu­mana, kung ngil-ad gyud og batasan ang nadaog, i-de­throne gyud namo au­to­mat­i­cally,” Pa­tri­cio said.

“At­ti­tude re­ally mat­ters. With this kind of ad­vo­cacy, ang com­mit­ment ug ang ded­i­ca­tion are needed,” he added.

For Gem­ini and Rey­nan, win­ning the pageant will give them the op­por­tu­nity to con­tinue their ad­vo­cacy as peer ed­u­ca­tors, es­pe­cially when it comes to com­bat­ing dis­crim­i­na­tion and stigma to­wards peo­ple with HIV and the LGBT com­mu­nity.

“When peo­ple dis­crim­i­nate you, slap them with kind­ness. It is the best way to stop dis­crim­i­na­tion. Be kind to them and ed­u­cate at the same time of what they need to learn,” Gem­ini said.

“Never stop be an in­spi­ra­tion gyud. Never stop or never give up sa tanan­tanan, chal­lenges ra na. Kung mag­pa­pildi ka, ikaw ang luoy. Kung mo-stand ka, ikaw ang daog,” Rey­nan said.

He also shared that his drive to help the or­ga­ni­za­tion with their ad­vo­cacy came from a per­son who was close to his heart who died from AIDS com­pli­ca­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to Rey­nan, that per­son was the one who taught him to be in­de­pen­dent, to be strong and to stand on his own.

“Gi-ded­i­cate nako ni sya sa iya... wala nako sya nga save but through this ad­vo­cacy, ani nga pageantry with ad­vo­cacy... mas the more nako ma save ang laing tao,” Rey­nan said.

This year’s Mis­ter and Miss Ka­gay-an PLUS also shared their plans as the HIV, AIDS and hu­man rights am­bas­sadors of the city.

“My plan for this year is makig-co­or­di­nate with the schools, the uni­ver­si­ties, col­leges and in­sti­tu­tions para pud nga dali ra kaayo ang pag-de­liver or pag-spread sa in­for­ma­tion about HIV,” Rey­nan said.

For her part, Gem­ini said she would start ed­u­cat­ing those who are close to her first, such as her friends, fam­ily and rel­a­tives.

The first Mis­ter and Miss Ka­gay-an PLUS started in 2016. Pa­tri­cio said it came out from the thought of en­gag­ing the key pop­u­la­tion through pageantry with a cause.

The event ad­vo­cates not only the HIV but also the SOGI or sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion and gen­der iden­tity.

“As of this mo­ment and this batch, we are so very proud of them be­cause in one month and 24 days, they were able to get around 300 plus na nagpa test. And out of it, so­bra 20 ang nag pos­i­tive,” Pa­tri­cio said.

“Hope­fully by next year, it (the pageant) will be big and it will be greater than this,” he added.

(ALL PHO­TOS BY JO ANN SABLAD)

THE WIN­NERS of this year's Mis­ter and Miss Ka­gay-an PLUS dur­ing the corona­tion night last Satur­day, De­cem­ber 1.

The grand win­ners and the first run­ner ups to­gether with the mem­bers of the Ka­gay-an PLUS (Pre­serv­ing Life, Unit­ing So­ci­ety) Inc.

REY­NAN PANOY Baguio (cen­ter left) and Gem­ini Elorde Mat­u­lac (cen­ter right) were crowned as the Mis­ter and Miss Ka­gay-an PLUS 2018.

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