‘New Era of Pageantry’: Miss Cagayan de Oro 2020 virtual pageant


From the City of Golden Friendship to the world wide web!


Pageantry has always been part of the annual celebration for the city fiesta in Cagayan de Oro City.

Even without handa or banquet, Kagay-anons would surely feel the festivities as long as they’d see a glimpse of some of the most beautiful ladies hailing from the city.

However, with the health risks of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic imposed on the locals, the city officials were forced to either cancel off the entire festivities or think of an alternative way to celebrate.

With the eagerness to provide locals entertainment amid the pandemic, the festival organizers took on the challenge by opting for the latter.

And to do that without compromising the health of Kagay-anons, the Higalaay Festival 2020 was held strictly online.

One of the most anticipated events every fiesta is the Miss Cagayan de Oro City where twelve lovely Kagay-anons vie for the shimmering crown and title.

But this year’s competition was different, and instead of twelve, candidates were down to eight.


Taking on the challenge

Miss Cagayan de Oro Pageant Chairperson Mags Cue said in an interview with WhatALife that she did consider cancelling the show a month after agreeing to participate.

Like anybody else, Cue doesn’t want to compromise the health of everyone and the quality of the annual show.

But then, her mind once again changed upon realizing the essence of the pageant, especially to those aspiring beauty queens.

Many have reached out to Cue, asking whether or not there will be Miss Cagayan de Oro considering the circumstances.

After discussing with her co-organizer, Cue personally reached out to City Mayor Oscar Moreno last July to finalize and confirm their participation in the online celebration.

“Our dreams may be put on hold, but it doesn’t mean we can stop dreaming,” Cue said. Since there was still an opportunity to make the pageant happen, it would be a waste not to grab it. It would also be a great way to give aspiring Kagay-anon beauty queens a chance to pursue their dream amid the pandemic.

The preparation for the pageant began shortly—unbeknownst to them that they were making a mark in history.


New Era of Pageantry

With barely a month to prepare, the organizing team created a rigorous and strict timeline to deliver the show on time.

Like any other business meetings these days, brainstorming sessions were all done via video-conferencing platforms. Moreover, since the team will be approaching the pageant in a new angle, spearheads took short courses to understand further on how they’d go about the production, as well as learning more on health safety precautions.

Shortly after, promotions for the candidate application submission and screening process followed—all done online.

Limketkai Centre lent its Rosario Pavillion to the production team, transforming an entire second floor into a green screen studio. Moreover, a makeshift runaway stage was designed and built, giving candidates a little bit of an ambience.

Meanwhile, the first floor of the function hall was divided into isolation rooms where contestants could glam up and wait for their turn to shoot together with their companions.

Then, one by one, candidates were painstakingly photographed and video recorded in a scheduled time frame to avoid crowding the studio.


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The man behind the first virtual pageant Director Dennis “David Bang” Ba-ang said he had second thoughts on whether they’d pull the show off.

“We had less than two weeks to screen, only 22 days to prepare, and six days to edit 90 percent of the entire show – a show that we had never done before, at least not virtually,” he said in a Facebook post.

“I must admit, for a while there, as a director, I froze. I did have second thoughts.”

Nonetheless, Bang took on the challenge.

Again, health and safety were the top priority of the organizing team. Consequently, Bang “personally consulted doctors on how to make the pageant safe for the candidates, their teams, and entire production squad.”

Basic health protocols were strictly followed and the number of people entering the premises was controlled and limited. Bottles of alcohol, face masks, and face shields were provided to everyone, including the candidates, mentors, talent managers, makeup artists, and the production team. Likewise, a disinfection team was also dispatched to sanitize the area now and then.

Outtakes / Screenshot

The production team spent around 19 hours of shooting.


Into the World Wide Web

Unlike the previous years, this year’s virtual pageant was set to show thrice: August 17-18 for the introduction of the eight candidates and the coronation night on August 27.

As expected, Kagay-anons were all in tune to the virtual pageant which accumulated hundreds and thousands of views. The show also attracted both national and international viewers.

All eight candidates representing barangays Nazareth, Iponan, Bugo, Patag, Tablon, Bonbon, Macasandig, and Lumbia showcased their beauty as they gracefully walked into the now virtually edited stage.

Miss CDO coronation night presenting the eight lovely candidates. Screenshot/Miss Cagayan de Oro

During the coronation night, the ladies streamed LIVE as they waited for the announcement of winners.

Moreover, distinguished personalities were invited to judge the competition online, namely, Oliver Victor Amoroso, Hemilyn Escudero-Tamayo, and Renee Salud.

But despite the smooth broadcasting of the show, as a viewer (and perhaps, as a candidate), it could still be felt that something was missing—the audience impact.

While hundreds of viewers flooded the comment section, hearing those cheers and claps from the live audience definitely brings out a different kind of excitement and confidence boost for the candidates.

At the end of the show, the top three winners were announced of which Jeza Relevo of Bonbon took home the crown and title, followed by Danielle Arceo of Nazareth and Tanya Salvacion of Bugo.

Newly crowned Miss Cagayan de Oro 2020 Jeza Chrystil Relevo, 19, from Barangay Bonbon. Screenshot


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Blessed with generous sponsors, and dedication and passion from the everyone involved in the event, Miss Cagayan de Oro 2020 was able to pull off the first virtual pageant in the country.

“And as the credits of the show started rolling last August 27, I have never been prouder of the artists and creative people behind the show,” Bang said.

Aside from directing the virtual pageant, Bang was also the virtual set designer, audio and video editor, scriptwriter, and musical scorer of the virtual pageant.


It was indeed amazing how the organizers managed to pull through the challenge, going beyond its comfort zone to continue bringing the Kagay-anons its annual pageantry show and a break from the adverse reality we currently have, likewise proving the resiliency of Kagay-anons and the city of the golden friendship across the world wide web.


Relive the highlights of the Ms. Cagayan de Oro 2020 Virtual Coronation Night! Check out the videos here.


What are your thoughts on the virtual pageantry? Did you like it? Let us know in the comments!