CHARLENE JAMES DANDAN

1.

CHARLENE JAMES DANDAN

Organizer of Binibining Pilipinas Israel

TALKS ABOUT BEAUTY PAGEANTS

TACHANA MERKAZIT

(Central Bus Station)

Tel Aviv

March 2010


CHARLENE JAMES DANDAN


I am Charlene James Dandan, I come from the Philippines.

I came in Israel the year 2000. My parents…I was born in one of the cities…a very interesting city in the Philippines. It’s a city composed of Muslims and Christians, but the Muslims are more dominant, but I am a Christian. My father is a politician, he is a former Mayor in Cotabato City in the place of the Muslims.I graduated in the year 1990 with a degree of Bachelor of Science and Biology, a preparatory for Medicine,in one of the prestigious schools in Davao City; The Davao Doctors School of Medicine. Before I made the Binibining Pilipinas Israel, way back in the Philippines I did a lot of beauty contests….in Cotabato City, where I live. I made the Binibining Catabato and it’s like similar to the Binibining Pilipinas.Then when I was in Israel, at first, I am just an ordinary like the other foreign workers. But in the year 2006 I started with a muse only in one of the basketball tournaments here in Israel,competing with girls and I won the contest. Since then the magazine Manila Tel Aviv Magazine, a Filipino magazine here in Israel, interviewed me and asked to be the choreographer, a judge and at the same time made the Manila Tel Aviv Top Model that is a fashion show, a modeling contest. I organized that one and then, later on I was exposed by the Filipino community, they recognized me wherever I go.

Then I decided…but prior to the Binibining Pilipinas I am also a beauty queen in Israel. I joined a contest for the…. it’s for the gay! And then, that is in the year 2007, when I won the Queen of Asia Israel and competing, representing Philippines. Then I decided to continue to share my talents to the Filipino community, and not only to the Filipino community, as well to the Israeli.


What is Binibining Pilipinas?


CHARLENE JAMES DANDAN

Binibining Pilipinas is a competition of young Pilipinas here in Israel. This is an Israel chapter since there is really a real Binibining Pilipinas in my country, that is the most prestigious beauty contest in the Philippines. We have a lot of different beauty contests in the Philippines but Binibining Pilipinas….this is the contest like The Miss Philippines where we have to choose Miss Philippines Universe, Miss Philippines World and Miss Philippines International.


What are the qualities of a Binibining Pilipina?


CHARLENE JAMES DANDAN

In the Binibining Pilipinas the girls must project really the definition of a woman. A woman with substance. A woman that looks like a Pilipina, talk like a Pilipina, walk like a Pilipina with the gestures of a Pilipina.


How do you select the candidates for the pageant?


CHARLENE JAMES DANDAN

Those girls really undergo a series of interviews, some…yes, yes, with me…to qualify, to be one of the finalists of the Binibining Pilipinas.


KÖKEN ERGUN

What do you ask them in the interviews?


CHARLENE JAMES DANDAN

No, I ask about the country and then about themselves but mostly to select the finalists for the Binibining Pilipinas Israel, the first one you have to know first the physical beauty, the outside beauty. But not only the outside beauty but also the character of the candidates. And then there is an age limit, of course….and then personality…and most they can represent the city or, let’s say, the city where she came from in the Philippines. And she knows….and the most important she really knows about Philippines’ culture. Because this is a beauty contest with a purpose, we have to make charities that we have to help. We have to go in the hospital, we have to help the foreign workers also who are in needs.And then we have to…how you call it? To gain, to sell the tickets that we can gain money and that money will be sent in my country.


KÖKEN ERGUN

The money will be sent back to the Philippines?


CHARLENE JAMES DANDAN

Yes, who needs help, yes. And also not only in the Philippines but also here in Israel foreign workers who are in needs, like for example who are in the hospitals.


What is your favorite part of the beauty pageants?


CHARLENE JAMES DANDAN

The most important for me which I like it and it’s so happen that I like also because I joined the contest also. Like The Queen of Asia is a beauty contest from different nationalities…Nepal, India and I represent Philippines…is the national costume because it shows…For me it’s the national costume because it’s showing the different costumes of different countries in Asia and I love it. I know how to carry our national costumes. Because like, for example, when I join the costume I won the dress in national costume because I carry it compared to other candidates.


What is Ethno-Modern?


CHARLENE JAMES DANDAN

The Ethno-Modern that is the costume and also the production number because the Ethno-Modern it has something with…why it is Ethno-Modern? It is showing the different Ethnic parts of the Philippines, the different tribes and then wearing…The real Binibining Pilipinas, they must wear their original costume from different tribes, yeah. But what I did in the Binibining Pilipinas is that it’s like a little bit modern yeah, yes. Because it is the latest now, not really the old one but if you will see the old one is more unique because you will see the costume in the Philippines, the original.


What kind of awards are given to the pageant?


CHARLENE JAMES DANDAN

The Binibining Pilipinas receive, of course, a cash prize that comes from the solicitation aside from the crown, sash, plaques, bouquet and a lot of items, gift items also…


KÖKEN ERGUN

Like what?


CHARLENE JAMES DANDAN

Those are coming from the sponsors…yes, yes, jewelry, diamonds… That the winner get a diamond…and then aside from the cash and also I remember, a crown, plaques, sash and then gift items like beauty products of one of the biggest company in Israel, I cannot remember already what company is.


Why are beauty pageants so important for the Filipinos?


CHARLENE JAMES DANDAN

Philippines love beauties, yeah. So we have a lot of beauty contests and there are different titles of beauty….We have a lot of contests in the Philippines, different titles. But what I said, the Binibining Pilipinas that’s the most prestigious one. But actually I don’t know how many, it’s hundreds titles of beauty contests what we are doing in the Philippines.


What about the Tachana Merkazit?


KÖKEN ERGUN

And tell us about this place where we are now, the Tachana Merkazit?


CHARLENE JAMES DANDAN

Tachana Merkazit? No, it so happens this place is common for, not only for the foreign workers from the Philippines or from Asia but this is the common one. Because this is where the center, where the autobus…you know the Filipino foreign workers come from different cities in Israel. So this is the bus station…So every Saturday this is the place…like, like, yes, if you need to go for a taxi or for the sharut, so this is the common one. And this is also the place, this is the reason also a lot of Pilipinas or married an Israeli who have business here in Tachana Merkazit for the purpose of…No, what I said: this is really the center.


KÖKEN ERGUN

So this is also why you made the beauty contest here?


CHARLENE JAMES DANDAN

No, it so happens we did it in the discotheque…the Binibining Pilipinas Israel because the sponsor is in….yes and the discotheque.


How do you choose the jury members?


KÖKEN ERGUN

And how did you choose the jury members? Who are the jury members?


CHARLENE JAMES DANDAN

Some they are really, how do you call it? Trusted to be the judges and then some comes from the sponsors because there is sponsors but they know how, of course they know how to judge because they are managers. One, I remember, in the pre-pageant she is a top model also, she is a model. And also in the final she is an Israel model here in Israel. And then, the manager of the beauty products in Israel, so she knows really, what’s really a beauty of a Filipina.


Question & Answer


KÖKEN ERGUN

I remember the Question & Answer was also a very important part.


CHARLENE JAMES DANDAN

Yes, of course. That’s the most important because to be a beauty queen is not only to be a beauty from the outside but also you must have brain to represent Philippines. Yeah, that you know how to talk if you are already, how you call? Talking with, how you call it? With confidence…


KÖKEN ERGUN

So this is one of the very important points that the jury will make, right? It’s the decisive moment. And some contestants couldn’t even talk because they were very nervous I guess.


CHARLENE JAMES DANDAN

Yes, that’s really a part of a contest. In my contest before also, there are some candidates who doesn’t answer and…No, because…it’s, it’s…maybe you feel tired and if you are nervous already and then…No, but for me it’s really that the…the crowd, because how many crowd? Thousands watching you and then you are in front wearing…. sexy like in the swimsuit and then…no, only that one. The crowd who are shouting, yes, because they like you or maybe they don’t like you it’s like that. So, that’s why prior to the contest proper the candidates were trained to be, to face in front of the public, yeah.


What was your question when you were competing?


KÖKEN ERGUN

Do you remember in your competition where you were a contestant what was the question & answer?

What was the question they asked you?


CHARLENE JAMES DANDAN

No, I remember the question they asked me: what is the one thing that the Israelis must learn from the Filipinos? And what is the one thing that the Filipinos must learn from the Israelis?

So I answered with confidence that comes from my heart. Because in the question & answer is not really you will memorize or you will think or you have to research but it really comes from the heart. Because if it comes from the heart you can answer nicely. I answered: the one thing that the Israeli must learn from the Filipinos is our culture and particularly the characteristics. Because it is only one thing, so the one, so what I answered is about the character of a Filipino…a character of a Filipino which is common. We are hospitable, our hospitality. Hospitality in the sense, I make it a little bit shorter that…Because I will site an example. Like if we have a visitor comes from our country we really give importance, yeah. The hospitality of Filipinos… we show it….But what I answered that: the one thing that the Israelis must learn from the Filipinos is that we Filipinos give respect to the Israeli, we give to high regards to our visitors, we show our hospitality to all. Not only for Filipinos but also to our  visitors coming from different nations, because that is the most important.

And then, the other one that what is the one thing that you learn from the Israelis, I said that…because I… it really comes from my heart, that I came from a very conservative…like this is the reason Binibining Pilipinas you are really a little….not so conservative but really defines the gesture of a Pilipina that you walk with boys, with elegance, like conservative..not like the other one that…like you know… Now it is really different, showing a lot of nations, like a little bit modern. But the real Pilipina is like our grandparents, our grandma. Yes it’s like that. Or, in short, really behaves. So, no. I said that at least in my life, that I am here in Israel already my…. being a conservative is not so…is a little…I am not so conservative already, at least a little bit…Not modern, or a little bit liberated. Not liberated, I cannot explain it, but not really the real one, that in the Philippines…Like really, like, I cannot explain how I will say it but: school, then finish school, go a house…like that. Sheltered, like you are sheltered.

Yes, and here there is a little bit freedom and maybe because my family is not here. But even my family is not here…maybe I am like this already because I am really conservative. Yes. That’s the reason I really like in the house. You see, now…oh look…I…


KÖKEN ERGUN

And tell me, you were the choreographer of all the production.

You did everything basically….it’s a lot of work.


CHARLENE JAMES DANDAN

No, because If it really comes from your heart, it is really your talent, you really want to share your talent you can do it.


KÖKEN ERGUN

No, ok, you can answer…


CHARLENE JAMES DANDAN

Hello, Maryln….

My friend they are calling me already, that we have to start our meeting. We can do it? You see it is 8.05 and our meeting is eight. Yes, because you know that they will really take me in their apartment only outside, that they really…I make an alibi…


Choreography


CHARLENE JAMES DANDAN

No, the production number…When I made the beauty contest, the Binibining Pilipinas I had already an idea how I will do it, yeah. What I really want to show, in our words the sariling atin “showing our very own”, like showing the Philippines itself. Yeah, showing our culture in the Philippines, showing the different tribes in the Philippines and then showing how the Pilipina acts, how they will act and how they will carry their costumes. How they will dance and then how…just like that, yeah.


KÖKEN ERGUN

And how did you decide the set? There was some set, there were the visuals….


CHARLENE JAMES DANDAN

Actually if you will really meet the…it is really more, how you call it, a bigger space…you will show the stage, like…

The setting is more on the Philippines, the decorations, but it so happens, you know, the place is a little bit….


KÖKEN ERGUN

In this one there was just a TV screen showing Fashion TV…


CHARLENE JAMES DANDAN

No, it’s there already, it’s there already. I am not the one who made the decoration in the final, only the pre-pageant. But it’s not really my idea because if I will make a beauty contest in a bigger space…Look like now, the Binibining Pilipinas now is really planned, we have our meeting…Because we will do it in the Auditorium and it’s a big…thousands of Filipinos will come because it’s an organization already, it’s not…That one is only Bahay Kubu[1] with me.This one is an organization put by one of the organization of the Filipino community in Israel. My friend, my friend, they will get angry with me already. I am so sorry my friend…it’s ok?

—-

[1] Bahay Kubu: A night club for foreinger workers, situated in the basement of Tel Aviv’s Central Bus Station. Along with many other social events of the Filipino Community, Binibining Pilipinas Israel 2009 took place there.

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