Today is the Birthday of Emman Labirua, the First Hari ng Negros. We are reposting his story.
After the rehearsals I was really scared. Reality started to sink in. I couldn't believe in my wildest nightmares that I would be part of a male pageant. The worst part is that I had to walk in a bikini fronting my family, friends, classmates, neighbors and thousands of total strangers. I not only had butterflies in my stomach, but also bumblebees, dragonflies and killer wasps.
This is only the beginning.
MEMORIES OF HARI NG NEGROS PART 3
Soon after the pageant I went into deep contemplation and did some soul-searching. Intrigues started to spruce up regarding my victory because I was from Canlaon City and it was a hometown decision (even though none of the judges were from Canlaon). This only added to my insecurities.
I admit I do not have an Adonis body nor was I great on the catwalk like the other guys I competed with. Canlaon City at this time had no body-building gyms so I had to improvise. Having no barbels around was no excuse. I would secretly frequent places (junk shops, construction sites, river beds) where I could get a grasp of things and lift objects that would start building definition to my muscles. After a while I started noticing a difference.
My body started to get toned which helped me gain some self-esteem. Nevertheless, I felt the title needed a purpose. Being the first winner, I had to work hard to set the standard for all future Haris to come. I did not want this event to be used as a venue for male exploitation, but rather an avenue for excellence and unity among Negrenses.
You see, Negros Island is divided. You have the Occidental side which speak Hiligaynon and the Oriental side which speak Cebuano. I guess I was lucky coming from Canlaon because I could speak both dialects. Canlaon City sits on the crossroads of the two very distinct cultures.
Realistically, I cannot solve society's problems like drug addiction, truancy, poverty, hunger etc. Which Negros has more than its fair share of. The greatest power I have is to help influence my generation into reaching out for the greater good.
For this, Negros needed a King, and I for one will give her one.