Quantcast
Latest Stories

‘Bilbiling Mandaluyong’: Fat is beautiful

By

At  232 pounds, who would ever think she would win in a beauty contest?

But Gerribenzi Pangilinan-Tubil felt like a queen on coronation night as she went up the stage to generous applause.

“I am the reigning Bilbiling Mandaluyong,” says the 29-year-old mother of one, whenever she proudly introduces herself.

“Bilbiling” is a play on the Filipino term for someone with a flabby girth (mabilbil), as well as  the vernacular for “miss” (binibini).

Benzi, as she is fondly called by family and friends, bested 20 other women who also weighed more than 200 pounds, that one trait that qualified them for a unique beauty and talent contest held every  February at the Mandaluyong City gymnasium.

Now on its fourth year, the contest is organized by the city government and, ironically, is sponsored by a popular fitness club, which explains why it comes with a twist. Of the Top 5 finalists, whoever loses more pounds after a year gets a separate cash prize.

Before Benzi won the crown that night, being on the portly side had been a source of frustration whenever she pursued her real passion: Singing.

Raising a 7-year-old daughter with her husband who works as a warehouse assistant, Benzi had tried her luck earlier by joining amateur singing contests. One of her goals then was to win enough money to buy a memorial park lot where she could transfer the remains of her grandmother who died in a car crash in 1997.

She would easily beat the other singers in the early rounds but was often eliminated “because of my weight,” she recalled in an interview at her house in Barangay Barangka Ibaba.

Once, during an audition for a television singing contest, she was asked to stop at the second stanza of her song and was immediately shown the door.

“It was disheartening. They had judged me before they could even hear me sing the entire song,” she said.

A different opportunity, however, presented itself earlier this month.

“I was hesitant at first because, from the title alone, the contest seemed to be a mockery,” Benzi said of the  Bilbiling tilt. But friends were able to persuade her to join the contest “just for fun.”

She gamely took up the dare. “I thought: This is it. I’m going to prove that I’m not a loser.”

The young mother said she also wanted to send a message to other plus-size women that the true measure of beauty was not found in one’s waistline.

On stage,  dressed in a clingy gown, Benzi wowed the judges and the crowd this time and clinched the talent portion as she belted songs of pop divas Whitney Houston and Jennifer Lopez.

“Everyone inside the Mandaluyong gymnasium listened intently as I sang. They also applauded and laughed when I cracked jokes during the question-and-answer portion. I felt very proud,” she said.

Benzi’s Miss Bilbiling Mandaluyong title came with a P100,000 cash prize and a one-year membership in a fitness club.

“This is actually a fight against obesity. But at the same time, we make these women feel good about themselves,” said Leo Urmeneta, the pageant coordinator. “Why is it that only skinny women can join beauty pageants? Our contestants can be just as charming and attractive.”

Benzi and the other finalists in the Top 5 now have a new incentive to slim down. Whoever loses the most pounds after a year will receive P50,000 from the office of City Mayor Benhur Abalos, whose wife Menchie spearheads the contest.

Since its launch, the contest has attracted the city’s generously endowed women from ages 18 to 50. “The only requirement for them to qualify is to be obese and to have a fat belly,” Urmeneta said.

He maintained that the women get treated like any other beauty title contender. “The only difference is they are dressed in plus-size outfits,” he said.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Beauty Contest , Fashion , Fat , weight




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Opinions split on Napoles turning state witness
  3. Delfin Lee: Blame Pag-Ibig, not me
  4. Plunder complaint filed vs PNP chief, firearms office head over license delivery deal
  5. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  6. San Juan cops fail to arrest Cedric Lee
  7. More ‘Yolanda’ bodies found
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  10. Boy ‘sexually assaulted’ at Indonesia international school
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  3. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  4. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  5. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  6. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  7. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  8. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  9. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  10. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  9. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
  10. Ex-PBA player Bryan Gahol dies in road mishap
Advertisement

News

  • Napoles tags over 100 officials in pork scam – Lacson
  • Vitangcol to sue Czech envoy
  • Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  • 43 out of 414 Etihad passengers yet to be found, tested for MERS-CoV – Palace
  • Sandigan junks Marcos family claim to Paoay property
  • Sports

  • Power Pinays yield to Japan in Asian Women’s Club volleyball
  • Caguioa blasts ‘no heart, soft’ Ginebra on Twitter
  • San Mig Coffee grinds out win over Alaska to force decider
  • UP nips St. Benilde; Adamson blasts RTU in Filoil women’s caging
  • Kevin Garnett responds to Raptors’ GM F word
  • Lifestyle

  • Entering the monkhood a rite of passage
  • Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  • Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  • Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  • Life lessons I want to teach my son
  • Entertainment

  • Bollywood Oscars, film stars come to Florida
  • Ex-Fox exec denies allegations in sex abuse suit
  • Kris Aquino backtracks, says Herbert Bautista and her are ‘best friends’
  • Summer preview: Chris Pratt enters a new ‘Galaxy’
  • Bon Jovi helps open low-income housing in US
  • Business

  • SM to rebuild Tacloban hospital
  • PSEi slips after 4-day rally
  • Toyota sells 2.58 million vehicles, outselling GM
  • McDonald’s 1Q profit slips as US sales decline
  • SEC approves SM’s P15B retail bond offer
  • Technology

  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Opinion

  • One-dimensional diplomacy: A cost-benefit analysis of Manila’s security deal with Washington
  • No ordinary illness
  • Reforest mountains with fire trees and their kind
  • Day of the Earth
  • When will Chinese firm deliver new coaches?
  • Global Nation

  • 19 Ukrainians, Russians, Filipinas rescued in bar raid
  • Filipinos coming home from Mideast must obtain MERS clearance – DOH
  • US Secret Service in Manila ahead of Obama visit
  • Palace thanks Estrada for successful HK mission
  • Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement