The Philippine Star

A look at a local Muslim beauty pageant


In the conservati­ve Muslim world, women do not compete in a “beauty contest” but in a cultural pageant.

At the recent Pakaradjaa­n, the week-long festival commemorat­ing the foundation of Basilan, Gov. Jim Hataman Salliman challenged Islamic purists by holding the Mussah si Basilan or the Pearl of Basilan.

Despite tradition that Muslim women are not to display themselves in public, the pageant defied Western ideals of physical beauty. It became the province’s search for a young, elegant, intelligen­t and more important, religiousl­y pious representa­tive. The candidates prayed several times.

“Their clothes should be culturally sensitive. We looked for pres- ence, vision for their future, role models for their community. They should show that beauty is in the character,” said Salliman.

The winner, Florivie Caburnay, a student from Isabela City, stood out from the six other participan­ts for her poise and intelligen­ce. She will help the provincial government in promoting civic projects.

The pageant highlighte­d culturally and environmen­tally-driven fashion. The official at tire for the catwalk comprised of head scarves and closed-neckwear and no exposure of elbows and ankles, rules of Islamic modesty.

The first part featured gowns celebratin­g local and found materials. Although the clothes seemed outrageous, the looks echoed the ecological advocacies of the seven municipali­tes such as conservati­on of the coral reef, waste management, recycling and disaster preparedne­ss.

Caburnay’s costume was repurposed from rice and flour sacks. The hooped gown was dyed in bright colors and layered with giant woven fans and paper cutwork.

On the other hand, first runnerup Anisa Malangkis, a student from Sumisip, wore a gown and a crown made of dried coconut flowers.

Showing the resilience of the bamboo, second runner-up Jurin Culen from Lamitan City wore a

terno made with bamboo buttons for the top and bamboo fringes on the skirt.

Other contestant­s used recycled paper, dried leaves, abaca coir and other excesses on their ballgowns.

The highlight was the modern use of yakan weaves for the evening gown competitio­n. The weaving is the province’s greatest heritage. Gov. Salliman wanted to correct the misimpress­ion that the

yakan fabrics originated from Zamboanga, not from Basilan.

Caburnay’s yellow gown was accentuate­d with python patterns on the bodice and sleeves. Malagkis, who was also crowned Miss Tourism, wore a royal purple column with diamond patterns. Culen, also named Miss Youth Ambassador, donned a black gown with colorful rainbow weaving and native brass buttons on the shoulder.

Salliman said that the winners, as role models, can communicat­e their experience­s as Muslim women to the rest of the country whose views about Basilan are naive.

 ??  ?? The 2018 Mussha si Basilan Pakaradjaa­n is Florivie Caburnay of Isabela City.
The 2018 Mussha si Basilan Pakaradjaa­n is Florivie Caburnay of Isabela City.

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