Cebu BBP bet draws flak for donning Santo Niño national costume

May 17, 2023 - 4:59 PM
Composite photo of Joy Dacoron of Cebu Province in her national costume (joydacoronbb34/Instagram)

Binibining Pilipinas (BBP) deleted the official national costume photo of one of its candidates after it drew flak online.

Joy Dacoron of Cebu Province donned the red and gold vestment, the crown, the scepter, and the orb of the Sto. Niño as part of her national costume for the pageant.

BBP posted her picture wearing this outfit on its social media accounts on Tuesday, May 16, along with the photos of other candidates in their respective national costumes.

The BBP bet’s outfit was supposed to represent the Fiesta Señor or the annual religious festival to honor the Santo Niño de Cebu or the Holy Child of Cebu.

Joy, however, was instead placed under scrutiny by some members of the religious community online.

They questioned if she was permitted to use or wear the Sto. Niño vestment and other accessories for the competition.

Following such feedback, BBP deleted her picture on its social media accounts. Several media outlets managed to report it online prior to deletion.

Binibining Pilipinas Charities, Inc. (BPCI), the owner of BBP, has yet to issue a statement on the matter.

Joy, meanwhile, is among the Top 40 candidates vying for the elusive Binibining Pilipinas International crown.

On respecting religious clothing

The Augustinian Friars of the Basilica Minore Del Sto. Niño De Cebu weighed in on the personal use of the Sto. Niño vestment.

In their official statement, they first acknowledged the different expressions of faith of devotees.

These include visitation of the Sto. Niño Marble Chapel, attending the Friday novena masses, and offering prayers and intentions through lighting of candles.

The Augustinian friars also cited the tradition of some parents to dress up their children with the Sto. Niño vestment.

“The wearing of Sto. Niño vestment to children is one of the expressions of faith by parents in order to help them understand and grow their faith to the Child Jesus,” they added.

“Children are the direct manifestations of the Holy Child—special blessings that hold the family together. For parents as the first teachers of faith, it is part of their duty to let their children be closer to Jesus,” they continued.

In line with this, the friars pointed out that the Catholic faithful in Cebu should still be mindful of their actions.

“Despite the many expressions of faith and devotion towards the Sto. Niño, it is also important to keep in mind the appropriateness of our actions. As Cebuano Catholics, the Sto. Niño has a profound religious and cultural importance to us,” they said.

They asked the public to treat the Sto. Niño with “respect and reverence” to prevent further misunderstanding in the future.

“Let us approach and treat the Sto. Niño with reverence and respect in order to avoid conflict and misunderstanding. As one Catholic community, let the Sto. Niño be our source of peace in our walk of faith,” their statement reads.

The Augustinian friars neither mentioned Joy nor the beauty contest in its response to the issue.

Source of strength

Joy also shared her personal reason for going for a religious look for her national costume.

In a statement on Instagram, she said that the Señor Sto. Nino de Cebu was her source of strength back then, citing the time her father died in an accident.

“My costume symbolizes unwavering faith and pays tribute to our province’s patron. The Senor Sto. Nino de Cebu is a source of inspiration and strength of numerous Catholic faithful. I am one of those,” the young athlete said.

“When I lost my father to an accident last year, I questioned God, ‘Ngano man, Lord? (Why, Lord?)’ The Sto. Nino paved the way for me to shed off my doubts and made me realize that everything happens for a reason. In gratitude, I am sharing this faith to the national stage,” Joy further recalled.

The beauty queen aspirant thus described her costume as a symbol of “faith and gratefulness.”

“Thus, with pride and deep respect for our heritage, I wear this costume that signifies faith and gratefulness. Viva! Pit Senyor!” Joy said.

She also uploaded a video and behind-the-scene photos of her photoshoot in separate Instagram posts.

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