Earl D.C. Bracamonte – Philstar.com

February 28, 2022 | 11:58am

MANILA, Philippines — The Filipino migration to countries across the globe not only serves as an important source for the national coffers, but also serves another very important factor in international pageants – their very presence!

The last time I checked, Filipinos live in, at least, 66 countries and territories worldwide: from as far north in Nuuk, Denmark (in Greenland) to the southernmost confines of the Antarctica, where research teams are granted access.

Pageant fans would readily agree that whenever a Filipina entrant makes it to the final round, especially in the “Big Five” competitions – Universe, World, International, Earth, and Supranational – the show’s host would usually remark that half of the Philippines is “in the house.”

A case in point would be the recent Miss Universe edition in Eilat, Israel. Host Steve Harvey had to call the attention of Filipinos in the crowd, at least three times, for them to bring their cheers to a minimum when Miss Universe Philippines 2021 Beatrice Luigi Gomez was called as one of the 16 semifinalists. Pandemonium ensued when she was called in the top 5!

But there were other similar instances when Pinoy cheering would break the house down – notably in 2015 when Pia Alonzo Wurtzback was, after four-and-a-half minutes, proclaimed the rightful winner. And so were the moments when Megan Young won Miss World 2013 in Indonesia, or Catriona Gray’s victory in Bangkok as Miss Universe 2018, or even Venus Raj’s Top 5 placement in 2010 in Las Vegas.

Yet, when you come to think of it, while Pinoys may seem to come in droves, they’re not actually that many. But what makes them noticeable is because they stick together and really pour their hearts out. In Albania, for example, Miss Globe 2021 Maureen Montagne related that there were only about 139 Filipinos in the entire state, but they all rallied behind her.

There is a big difference between a small number actually present in the pageant venue and a populous horde who are some place else. And when the Pinoys cheer, they don’t do it quietly!

So when Miss World Philippines 2021 Tracy Maureen Perez flew to San Juan, Puerto Rico the first time, she was surprised to know that a sizeable Filipino community lived and worked in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean nation. And so when their meals did not include rice, she got hungry and homesick most of the time. That’s when Pinoys would send home-cooked meals for her. And her hunger pangs and homesickness were assuaged. With San Juan having an identical climate with the Philippines, she felt at home again.

So you see, Pinoys will always look out for their own – especially in a foreign land. They instantly warm up to new arrivals, most especially our beauty queens. The next time you watch an international pageant, make sure you notice the Filipinos in the crowd – and you’ll never take them for granted again.

RELATED: ‘I’m a different Miss Philippines’: Tracy Maureen Perez gears up for Miss World 2021 finals

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