Cebu’s hot summer is made even hotter with the annual staging of bikini contests and shows in resorts in Mactan Island. The most popular event is Jamaican Nights, with FHM bikini shows coming next.
Having missed this year’s staging of Jamaican Nights, the Cebu Network writers went to the FHM (For Him Magazine) Skin Summer Escapade last Saturday in Portofino, a beach resort in Lapu-Lapu City in Mactan Island. (Click on photos to view larger images)
Organizers had printed in their tickets and posters that the event was scheduled for 4:00 p.m. Saturday until Sunday dawn. Don’t let the promise of “until dawn” fool you. In the Philippines, more often than not, people say dawn when they actually mean early morning or before dawn.
So we went to Portofino at 5:00 p.m., giving an hour’s allowance for the so-called Filipino time, a euphemism for our culture’s penchant for tardiness in meetings, gatherings, schedules and yes, even bikini shows. The 4:00 p.m. schedule, it turned out, was for the opening of the gates and not for the start of the show.
We arrived at the beach resort at 5:30 p.m. and immediately started going around the resort’s rotunda, checking booths selling food, shakes, drinks and yes, even imitation Havaianas flip flops sold at 160 pesos each pair. One stall offered the ever-present party service of temporary henna tattoos.
The beachfront was still empty at close to 6:00 p.m. and the huge projector beside it just kept playing commercials endorsing products of the event’s sponsors and a couple of music videos, ad nauseam. Even up to this time, show organizers, staff, security assistants still seemed to outnumber attendees of the bikini show.
We had a quick dinner of pork barbecue, at 50 pesos each, and puso (cooked rice in coconut leaf wrapping), at five pesos each. The barbecue was prepared by Portofino and it was delicious, speaking well of their cooking.
The first sign of event activity came at past 7:00 p.m. when a local band started playing rock tunes with hints of reggae beat. The band was good. It was a pity they were playing to an almost empty beachfront. There were less than 20 people standing in front of the stage as most of the attendees were still in the resort’s rotunda. It turned out that they were waiting for the “bikini car wash” show to start.
Organizers did not bother to announce that the show had started and so we were quite surprised upon returning to the rotunda from the beachfront to see a crowd gathered in one corner with testosterone-fuelled males cheering wildly and several motorcycles sounding their horns.
It was the night’s first bikini car wash and the crowd loved it. A Caucasian tourist behind me was heard saying that no way will the cars get cleaned by the bikini models. The car, expectedly, was mere props and people never really expected the two beautiful models to wash the car. The whole car wash thing was just an excuse for the two women to get wet and strip into their bikinis in front of ogling males trying to steady trembling hands that were holding either a digital camera or a camera phone.
We went back to the beach at a few minutes past 8:00 p.m. and someone took to the microphone, at last, to advise attendees on the schedule for the night’s events. The emcee recited the names of sponsors of the show and the lineup of bands that were to play that night. He also kept saying that another bikini car wash, a bikini striptease and an appearance by Katrina Halili was set to happen “in a little while.”
That “little while” appeared to take a long time and pretty soon, we were bored at the beach, talking of the National Geographic shows we were missing. We were really regretting believing the schedule printed in the tickets and posters and coming to the beach at 5:00 p.m. At a few minutes past 9:00 p.m. in our watch, another band had taken to the stage and, inexplicably, the emcee announced that another bikini car wash show was to start soon.
The attendees were torn between listening to the band and having another go at watching skimpily clad models cavort in full glare of motorcycle headlights and flood lamps while pretending to wash two cars.
We could not understand why the organizers held the two events together when they could have done either of it in the very long time it took for the show to start.
We watched the staging of the second bikini car wash, took a few photos, and then went back to the beach to watch the band played. The second band wasn’t as good as the first and there were times when the vocals were, as American Idol judges would say, “pitchy.”
We wanted to wait for the bikini striptease but after seeing that another band was preparing to take over the stage, we decided that we’ve had enough of waiting. We went home, cursing at the person who decided to place “from 4:00 p.m. until dawn” in the tickets.
On the way out, we saw that there were still a few people on their way to get into the resort. These were the lucky ones, they didn’t have to spend a lot of time waiting in the sands of Portofino. Someone I know later told me that for bikini contests, it pays to be late, not fashionably late but really late. The good part of the shows, he said, typically start late at night.
I wished I had known that before Saturday afternoon.