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Binibining Pilipinas candidate from Cebu receives criticisms for Sto. Niño costume

By John Patrick Magno Ranara Published May 17, 2023 5:53 pm

A Binibining Pilipinas candidate has caught the ire of social media users after she posted a picture of herself wearing a costume the same as that of the Santo Niño de Cebu, a known representation of Jesus as a child in the Philippines.

On her Instagram account, Joy Dacoron posted a video and a few pictures of herself wearing a costume that was crafted in the image of the religious figure, complete with a red cape, crown, scepter, and an orb.

In the caption, Dacoron wrote, "My costume symbolizes unwavering faith and pays tribute to our province’s patron. The Senor Sto. Niño de Cebu is a source of inspiration and strength for numerous Catholic faithful. I am one of those."

But the costume seems to have a much deeper meaning and significance to the beauty pageant candidate.

"When I lost my father to an accident last year, I questioned God, 'Ngano man, Lord? (Why, Lord?)' The Sto. Niño paved the way for me to shed off my doubts and made me realize that everything happens for a reason. In gratitude, I am sharing this faith to the national stage," Dacoron shared.

While she emphasized that she is wearing the costume with "pride and deep respect" for her heritage, some social media users saw it as otherwise.

One user commented on her post, "The costume is very pretty but as a Catholic I feel offended. This is probably not your fault that’s why it’s very important to collaborate with your designers and your stylists and know what is appropriate and what is not."

Another user who claims to be a senior Santo Niño devotee echoed similar sentiments of taking offense at the attire, "I feel offended that these women will do anything just to get the attention they crave! And how funny that they always say this is to pay homage or tribute. For me, it feels as if you don't respect the devotees and the 'sacred image.'"

Dacoron's photo on the Bb. Pilipinas Facebook page has since been deleted. 

Despite saying in a separate post that she got permission from Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Ruben Labajo and another priest, Roland Angel Anthony Torres, to do a photo shoot in that costume in different churches in Cebu, Labajo revealed that he wasn't aware about the ensemble.

"I have no idea that they will promote the vestments of the Holy Child as national costume, and especially the Augustinian priests also did not know about it," he said in a statement sent to reporters.

The Binibining Pilipinas organization has now started releasing the delegates’ official national costume photos on their social media accounts. The coronation night will take place at the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao on May 28.