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Sayang Sabah - The voice of Sabahans

Promoting culture through beauty pageant

Top from left to right  – Ruby M.  Sahali,  Datuk  Fatimah  Shara  Ahmad  Noor,   Bakri Arfha         Below – Arnapha Abdu Sadam, Cheryl Chan, Fatima Rauda Lipae

Beauty pageant especially with international participants can promote understanding and rapport through culture.

The two days event from 25 Feb until 26 Feb was organized by Bakri Arfha, the owner of Sri Andaman Bridal Beauty and Boutique saw contestants from Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore and India.

He said, apart from promoting cultural interaction, it also help to educate the young generation about their traditional custom.

A representative of the Philippines, Arnapha Abdu Sadam,23, who was crowned Ms Culture

Asia said that she took three weeks to prepare for the competition.

She said she was happy to win and realise her dreams although she was not confident of winning. Her family and friends’ encouragement helped her tremendously though.

As for her costume, she shared that it was her province traditional custom usually worn during the

Seaweeds Festival which is an annual celebration that held on every Sept 25th.

“It takes place in my hometown in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi. This province is also known as the Seaweeds Capital of the Philippines as well as the Carrageenan Capital of the World,” she shared.

Cheryl Chan,26, who represented Malaysia was the first runner-up and had proudly displayed her Kadazandusun costume.

Her costume represented Kadazandusun culture in Sabah and worn by most of the women during Kaamatan Festival or during their wedding ceremony. It was made from black velvet with gold trimming on the edge. The dress was sleeveless and called sinuangga by Kadazandusun tribe. It was tucked into sarong and secured by three rows of silver coins ( himpogot )and three rows of brass rings belt (tangkong).

She was also wearing many traditional accessories such as bangles (gohong), necklace (hamai), earrings ( simbong), ring (sinsing) and brooch ( paun).

The second runner-up for the beauty peagent competition is Fatima Rauda Lipae,18, who also represented the Philippines.


She was wearing a Meguya Festival costume that represented her Upi  province of Maguindanao, Philippines.

“This costume is worn during the celebration where we give expression of thanksgiving for triumphs, abundance, prosperity or any form of blessing received. Upi is the conceptualization of Meguyaya Festival and it is the Upians’ way of expressing gratitude for all the bounties. Meguyaya is a three-week celebration which culminates every December 22.”

She strutted the catwalk with pride as she represented her country at that time.

The event was also attended by Congresswoman Representative, Lone District of Tawi-Tawi House of Representatives in Philippines, Ruby M. Sahali.

According to Ruby, every nation has its own beautiful culture and it was important for them to experience cultures from different countries.

Kota Kinabalu UMNO Vice Chairman, Datuk Fatimah Shara Ahmad Noor, the guest of honour said that the beauty pageant showcases the beauty of youths in Sabah and its consumer-oriented cultural products.- By Saila Saidie/Sayangsabah





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