06 October 2008

Death of a Beauty Queen : Miss Philippines Ma. Rosario Silayan

Is it my eyes or one of the gowns turn green and then blue alternately? But this picture is taken on the same time.

The pictures you have just seen above are the Top 5 of the Miss Universe 1980 in Seoul, South Korea. There were 69 contestants at that time from all over the world. Miss USA Shawn Weatherly snatched the crown leaving Miss Scotland Linda Gallagher, Miss New Zealand Delyse Nottle, Miss Philippines Ma. Rosario Chat Rivera Silayan and Miss Sweden Eva Brigitta Anderson as the 1st to 4th runners up respectively.

Now, the one wearing green or blue gown was Miss Philippines Ma. Rosario Rivera Silayan. Can someone uncover the real color of the gown?

Though Miss USA won that year's crown, it was Miss Philippines who snatched the heart of the audience and of the world. But this is also the coming of the end days of the Philippines as the force to reckon with in the world of beauty pageants. The years prior to this pageant, the world seen how the Philippines tried to revolutionize the pageantry with never-before-seen gowns. This is the time Miss Philippines introduced this kind of gown better known as the mermaid gown.

This is a creation of a famous Filipino designer, Renee Salud. The gown proved to be a hit.

During that pageant, Chat Silayan was a crowd favorite. The crowd even sang a song for her. And do you know that song? It was a Happy Birthday song. Yes, Miss Philippines was celebrating her 20th birthday at that time. But today, it is very sad, Chat Silayan had joined now our Creator. She died of a cancer.

This is my second blog entry about a death of former contestants of any pageant known to us. Do you remember when I wrote about Miss India 1996 Nafisa Joseph suicide? Expect me to bring to you every now and then stories of beauty queens who have left our world for eternity.

"Death of a Beauty Queen" will be the title I gonna use for every entry about the death of any beauty queens.

Let's read an article written for us by Ricky Lo of the Philippine Star about the passing of Ma. Rosario Rivera Silayan.


MANILA, APRIL 25, 2006 (STAR) FUNFARE By Ricardo F. Lo - She closed her eyes Saturday night and she never opened them again.

That’s how Michael "Mike" Bailon described how his wife Chat Silayan, 1980 Bb. Pilipinas-Universe, slipped quietly into the night. She was declared dead at past seven o’clock Sunday (April 23) at the St. Luke’s Medical Center where she had been confined for almost three months during which Chat waged an unflinching battle against colon cancer with stoic determination. Like Rio Diaz, also a beauty queen (1977 Mutya ng Pilipinas) before she joined showbiz, Chat lost the battle but won the war. She was 46.

"She was lucid until she closed her eyes for the last time," Mike told Funfare during an interview at the Santuario de San Antonio in Forbes Park, Makati City, yesterday afternoon. Chat’s body, lying in a sealed white casket, was brought there at six o’clock yesterday morning. "We were talking and, as usual, she was calling me Mikey as was her wont when she was making lambing. Then, we prayed together. After a while, she closed her eyes and that was it."

Chat’s battle with the Big C started in April 2004 when she underwent surgery on her colon, one foot of which was cut. For a while, Chat felt relief, only for the pain to recur a year later. Her doctors told her she had only one year to live.

"Actually," recalled Mike, a member, like Chat, of the Alabang New Life Center since December 1992 when they got married, "Chat began to be bothered by a pain in her lower back as early as l999. She thought it was due to a slipped disc which was closely monitored by the doctor. The pain went away but it came back in 2004 when she was diagnosed to have colon cancer, first stage. A year later, she was opened up again but the cancer had moved to her ovary, fourth stage. Then, it spread to her liver and other organs."

At first, according to Mike, Chat asked the usual question cancer-stricken patients usually do, "Why me?" But through the long months that she suffered, she became resigned to her fate – you know, Lord, Thy will be done!

She had been on liquid diet since January this year, often taking Gerber.

Ma. Rosario Silayan in real life (the daughter of the late theater-movie actor Vic Silayan), Chat became an overnight star when she won as Bb. Pilipinas-Universe in 1980, the same year she represented the country in the Miss Universe Pageant in South Korea, finishing third runner-up to Miss USA Shawn Weatherly. It was a memorable gift for Chat who was celebrating her 20th birthday that day (July 8).

Noted "beauty expert" Felix Manuel, "The host, Bob Barker, asked the audience to sing happy birthday to Chat who became an instant favorite when she thanked the crowd in Korean."

She joined showbiz soon after. After only a few years, she went to the US to take up acting lessons.

"She was a good person and a good friend," said Melanie Marquez, 1979 Bb. Pilipinas-International and that same year’s Miss Intrernational, Chat’s bosom buddy who was also in the States at that time pursuing a modeling career. "When I was in L.A., she asked her friend to take care of me. When she went naman to San Francisco, I asked my friend to take care of her," added Melanie who was among the first to rush to St. Luke’s Medical Center the night Chat died.

Besides Mike, Chat is survived by her three children, Victor, 17 (from her relationship with an Italian director); and Timothy, 12, and Michaela, 11 (with Mike).

(Her remains lie in state at the Santuario de San Antonio in Forbes Park, Makati City, at the same chapel where Rio Diaz’s cremated remains lay. She’ll be buried at the Manila Memorial Park in ParaƱaque City on Saturday, April 29.)