FILIPINOS love an excuse to party, and Christmas is the biggest, longest party of all for the community.
In the Philippines, they start celebrating three months early – in September – giving them the longest Christmas season in the world.
Christmas traditions are a big part of Filipino culture, partly due to 90% of the people professing the Christian faith.
This is the time when gifts are given, food is lovingly cooked and eaten, and families get together to share in their love for each other.
The bright lights, gaudy decorations and jolly songs make for a well-loved festive atmosphere.
After all, as many Filipinos say: “There’s no reason for delaying Christmas since Christmas is always a good idea.”
With that in mind, BTV Production House director Khatijah Che Inday, a Filipino married to a Malaysian, decided to bring some festive joy to the more than 350,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFW) plying their trade in Malaysia.
To kick off the month-long celebration, a beauty pageant and fashion show were held in Kuala Lumpur to collect funds for the needy, sick and out-of-work OFWs.
Both events turned out to be a glitzy success, mainly because they had Sereni Kos, a 38-year-old Sabahan with a Filipino mother, as coordinator.
Kos is also a fashion designer and winner of The Star’s Galaxie magazine’s hunt for Dockers apparel model in 2000.
“It’s great fun to tie-in the event with the festive mood – a beauty contest and fashion show with the OFW community joining in to kick off Christmas,” said Kos.
Khatijah, who had taken part in numerous Christmas festivities back in the Philippines, believed getting her country folks together was particularly meaningful during this special time.
“It’s good to see my compatriots coming together to share the joy of the season.
“We hope to organise more events of this nature for the rest of the month.”
The chosen queen for the Miss BTV Modelo Charity 2023 title – Dorabel Guevarra – was also looking to the rest of December with optimism.
“I was shocked at being selected for the Grand Charity Queen title, especially as it was my first such contest.
“At least I know the donations from the show will go a long way to helping the needy,” said Guevarra, who works as a caregiver.
The other winners were Marjorie Rasonabe (BTV Ambassador), Shierma Jalil (Starhill Merchant Ambassador), Ligielyn Cruz (Cover Girl), Robel Arellano Ching (All Media), Maryjoy Nicolas (MShel SdnBhd Ambassador) and Gretchen Merabel (Rasyah Beauty Ambassador).