Manila, Philippines – When Miss Philippines Janine Tugonon lost the 2012 Miss Universe crown to Miss U.S.A. Olivia Culpo, two million Filipinos took to the streets of Manila to protest what they claimed to be unfair judging by the international panel of judges. “Our Miss Philippines was clearly the winner,” proclaimed Elias Batongbakal, one of the protest organizers. “Janine not only showed her amazing poise and beauty. She also answered the final question with great intelligence and confidence — none of those ‘major, major’ stuff.” Batongbakal was obviously referring to another Miss Philippines – Venus Raj — who competed in the Miss Universe Pageant in 2010 and lost the crown because of a not -so- smart answer to the final question.
On Wednesday, Filipinos took to the streets again, this time to protest the failure of Manila to take the No. 1 spot in an international survey of “The World’s Ten Worst Public Transit Systems.” Manila came in No. 2, second only to Mumbai. “We were robbed,” protestors chanted. Protest organizer Elena Katigbak said, “Manila’s public transit system is the worst in the world, hands down! How can they take this great honor away from us?”
Katigbak continued, “Where else in the world can one find colorful funny cars (jeepneys) –complete with gas fragrance and obnoxiously loud stereos — stinky buses, dilapidated taxi cabs and sardine-packed light railway system? And did I already mention the 24-hour standstill traffic?”
A Manila public official, who requested anonymity to avoid retaliation from his boss at the Department of Public Transportation, said that he suspects the foreign nationals who undertook the survey were probably met at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, whisked into air conditioned limousines with dark tinted windows, treated with shots of Johnnie Walker Black Label and taken through backstreets inside gated millionaires’ villages before being dropped off at their 5-star hotel in Makati. “They didn’t see the real public transport system of our Metropolis,” the official said.
As of press time, the Department of Foreign Affairs was reportedly preparing a formal letter of protest to the authors of the survey to demand that Manila be declared No. 1 and rescind the honor earlier given to Mumbai.