Sunday, October 2, 2011

LadyMed 2011: Valentina

I think I owe the world the rest of the cake, tiny slices of which I've been dropping in my previous posts. LadyMed 2011 is two weeks past - September 16 - and yes, things turned out quite well. Okay, that's understating it - we won! And since we're all visual creatures who'd itch to death if this world were devoid of images, I'm turning this into my first photoblog entry or something to that effect. Photo credits: Ephraim Leynes, Theodore Delfin Vesagas, Leonardo Serafin Infante, and Jenn Danielle Gargar. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

The theme for this year: Komiks. Philippine comics, that is - so no Spiderman or Batman or, heaven forbid, oh-so-generic Wonder Woman. We chose Valentina (the Filipino equivalent of Medusa), and our research was quite informative. We discovered that she actually has the power to heal, and that she has a PhD in Reptilian Zoology from the University of New Delhi (that make sense to you?).

First off, here are some shots from the shoot. Dress courtesy of Katrina Beatrize Manas. Headdress by Patricia Cruz. Makeup by Analigaya Agoncillo. Necklace courtesy of Philline Aurea Grace Salvador. Photos by Leonardo Serafin Infante. Venue: Unit of  Salvador, 3 Adriatico Place, Adriatico Street, Ermita, Manila.

And now, we transport ourselves to the night of September 16, 2011. This was the stage at the Philippine General Hospital Science Hall.

Meanwhile, the backstage was - wait, we had no real backstage, just the entire hallway surrounding the Science Hall, and it was a totally different kingdom. From the first year Intarmed students, there was Agua Cristi (just Google her); the second year Intarmeds had Dyesebel the mermaid; the fourth years (2nd year med proper) had Galema (the daughter of Zuma - again, Google); and the fifth years had Zsa Zsa Zaturrnah (of the musical film). And here's the star of the night: Costume and headdress by Dan Concepcion (you are so awesome!!!). Makeup by Analigaya Agoncillo. Prop staff by Patricia Cruz. 

First was the opening number, and we were the first to perform. This was how we did it: Four men enter with a sort of hostage, who turns out to be Darna (Valentina's archenemy). The men begin torturing her while she kneels on the floor, helpless and speechless. Then, Valentina enters and channels Angelica Panganiban in the wedding processional scene in Here Comes the Bride (2010).

Due to the crazy and highly inefficient communication system backstage, we ended up changing costume for the second part of the evening ahead of time. So for the preliminary interview, Valentina was already in her black cloak and bearing a brand new Jafar-inspired staff by Dan Concepcion. Bottom photo shows the five contestants (L-R): Valentina, Zsa Zsa, Agua, Dyesebel, and Galema.

And now, what was probably the most awaited and exciting part of the evening: the talent portion. Trivia: We started rehearsing only a week before the pageant. There are four parts to Valentina's talent portion since we wanted to incorporate a sort of storyline into it. The first segment is to Beyonce's One Plus One - a sort of theatrical number (read: sensually acting out the song). Midway, Darna comes in (her entrance has something to do with the lyrics) and slaps Valentina. Valentina falls and a random guy (to prove that she's sort of a slut/damsel in distress) comes to her rescue. Random guy sees her weird head and drops her. Fade out.

The second segment: Belly dancing + Hiphop. That's a lot of booty shaking. View photos in clockwise manner - the fourth photo is the signature snake-head move for the hiphop dance. 

The third segment: Sensual dancing to Usher's There Goes My Baby. Lesson: It is essential that a LadyMed contestant shows off his/her character's sexuality and sensuality by dancing with a group of men in minimal clothing. That is a personal humorous observation.

The fourth segment: Beyonce's Girls Who Run the World.

A talent portion highlight: The headdress came off in the middle of Who Run the World. First photo shows it already falling off a bit. Second photo shows Valentina grabbing it off her hair and now preparing to... Third photo shows Valentina hurling the headdress to the audience, to everyone's delight. 

... Who are we? What do we brought? We run the world...

The swimsuit competition. It was time to channel Shamcey Supsup - because part of our preparation was studying Shamcey Supsup (yes, Supsup who won 3rd Runner-up in the 2011 Miss Universe pageant because of her ugh answer, but that's another story). Swimsuit by Dan Concepcion.

The evening gown segment, where we again channeled Shamcey. Gown by Dan Concepcion. Oh, and if you're wondering what Valentina's doing in the lower right photo, that's her signature move: the snake tongue. Consistency was a major part of the competition, so we thought it best to pattern Valentina after - what else - a crocodile. Duh, a snake, of course.

The question-and-answer portion came next, and our question was: If you were any organ in the human body, what would you be and why? Our answer (in all Ms. Gay Barangay glory): I would choose the brain, initially, because that's where all the knowledge is. But what is the brain without the heart? What is the brain without the heart to decipher what is truly in this world, which is emotion and soul? Thank you. And the judges and the med proper freshmen went wild.

The night was shorter than expected, and a billion more photos were taken. The end result: Valentina was crowned LadyMed 2011, aside from winning the special awards for Talent, Swimsuit, and 'Pinakaartistahin' (most artistic? artsy? like an artist? a superstar?). And look who one of the judges was: Cai Cortez - the woman who made love with John Lapus in Here Comes the Bride.

So what did we learn here?

1. The UP College of Medicine really takes this LadyMed business quite seriously. Just like an exam, this pageant needs ample preparation and a whole lot of dedication.

2. When you join LadyMed, you realize just how difficult it is to be a woman. And that you do not enjoy eyebrow plucking, or the arduous process of putting on makeup and the equally arduous process of removing it afterwards, or wearing high heels for three hours at a party. 

3. More than shedding off all that fur and hair and wearing a girly swimsuit in public, it's the process itself - the long hours, the late hours - that makes one think twice about representing the class. And that it takes someone with serious balls to tackle a job like this.  

4. You'd win only if you have the best and most supportive friends and classmates rallying behind your back. So to everyone who helped make Valentina come to vibrant life, she sends you her sincerest gratitude.

So, who says med school ain't fun?

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