A Binibining Pilipinas 2020 candidate who struggled through quarantine because of COVID-19-like symptoms in the early part of the pandemic was back in the news with her intricate national costume made of bamboo.
Binibining Pilipinas Charities released Thursday the official photo of Kimberly Ann Tiquestiques of Bulacan and selected candidates to jumpstart anew the pageant’s activities.
Her costume was made of handcrafted bamboo embellished with flowers and crystal stones symbolizing Flores de Mayo and the jewelry industry of Meycauayan.
The bamboo artwork locally known as kinayas na kawayan is traditionally used as a welcoming arch in festivities all over the Philippines, according to its designer, Marvin Garcia, who also cited the Singkaban arch as an emblem of Bulacan’s history, arts, culture, tourism and hospitality.
“Mabusisi, ang tagal ng proseso at ang daming taong tumulong bago mabuo ang costume at masuot ko. It is also our tribute to our Flores de Mayo custom, which started in Bulacan in 1865,” said Tiquestiques, who previously shared her experience as a COVID-19 person under investigation (PUI) at the start the pandemic lockdown in March.
BAKIT AKO PA?
In the Binibining Pilipinas video online introduction with mentors Catriona Gray and Nicole Cordoves, Tiquestiques recounted how she submitted herself for examination to the Bulacan municipal health officer after experiencing body pain in March. She was subsequently put on isolation as PUI until April 15.
“Sabi ko, bakit ako pa? Parang mali ito. Pero thankful ako andu’n ang suporta ng pamilya at mga kaibigan ko,” she recalled.
It was also a big blow financially for Tiquestiques, a tourism graduate, who helps support her family with her part-time job as model.
“Ang daming nagastos nu’ng quarantine ko. Naubos ang naitabi kong savings,” she said.
She was also upfront in disclosing that she resorted to selling street food to earn money.
“Naisip ko mag-tindera ako. Nagtitinda ako ng fishballs at kikiam. Binalikan ko ’yung pagtitinda ko nu’ng high school ako. Kailangan ko talaga ng income para makatulong sa pamilya. Kailangang malagpasan natin ’to,” she said.
Gray was impressed by Tiquestiques’ soul-baring, saying “You gave us lessons in going through your challenges," she commented.
“It wasn’t heavy listening to, it was uplifting. At times, we throw away words like confident, empowered, inspired but it’s totally okay to tell your story. You don’t have to say it’s empowering or I’m glad it’s over because in reality, sometimes we don’t have a happy ending. We are still a work in progress.”
Unfortunatelly, her fishballs business did not last long, because of a COVID-19 outbreak in their neighborhood, Tiquestiques told ABSCBN News.
She opted to sell online turon and togue, which she hoped would thrive this time. The seeming series of unfortunate events notwithstanding, Tiquestiques also threw her support for her two younger siblings -- one aged 9, the other 18 -- in coping with their online classes.
She also vowed not to quit the pageant.
“Tatapusin ko. Sayang naman kung di ko tapusin dahil lang sa mga pagsubok. Ang laki na rin ng na-invest naming effort ng team ko, kaya laban lang para sa pangarap,” she said.
The meaning of her bamboo costume wa not lost on her, as she thanked her supporters in pushing her Binibining Pilipinas bid.
“Maraming salamat, kahit wala pa akong na-build na pangalan, andiyan pa rin kayo. Kahit ano’ng bagyo ang daanan, huwag tayong mababali, lagi lang tayong yuyuko at babalik sa pwesto. Tulad ng kawayan, sayawan lang natin ang unos,” Tiquestiques said.