November 28 – December 7, 2013: Our friend Dennis dropped by for a visit this past week, since he happened to be in the neighbourhood travelling through Vietnam and Cambodia.
As luck would have it, the Subic Bay Yacht Club was hosting one of three “resorts wear” semi finals (what used to be called a swimsuit competition in the days before political correctness took over) as part of Miss Earth 2013. Dennis was keen to check it out. I had my reservations about beauty pageants in general, but knowing that this one is billed as “beauties with a cause” I was interested in seeing if there was anything more to it.
I have to say, however, that there wasn’t much of an environmental message, at least not on this night. Contestants from thirty different countries merely strutted their stuff at poolside. (Miss Earth Philippines and Miss Earth Canada were in one of the other semi finals held elsewhere.) Two Latin lovelies (Mexico and Bolivia) and two eastern European blondes (Ukraine and Russia) joined Thailand in the finals. I later learned that Miss Earth Ukraine was the ultimate winner of the swimsuit competition and Miss Earth Venezuela took home the Miss Earth 2013 crown tonight in Manila.
On the weekend, we joined the Andre Bonafacio Day Regatta aboard the catamaran Windjammer, for two days of sailing on Subic Bay. With a bunch of us newbies on board, our boat was a bit speed challenged, but we managed to stay out of last place and even improve slightly in the standings over the course of the three races. Regardless of placement, it was great to be out on the water, despite the fact that our main contribution to the team was as ballast.
The rest of the week was spent sightseeing around Olongapo City and neighbouring Bataan and Pampanga provinces, with stops at the World War Two memorial at Mt. Samat, the sea turtle conservation centre in Morong, the dolphin, sea lion and acrobat shows at Ocean Adventure marine park, the sunken church in Bacolor (see previous post) and the market. Oh yes, and eating of course…everything from bangers and mash to extreme pizza to sushi to a bevy of Filipino delights.
With additional photos by Dennis and Nick.