Sunday, January 3, 2010
Rica comes home
After almost 100 days in the Pinoy Big Brother (PBB) Double Up house, our STRAP sister Rica Paras (see pic above) finally exits the best reality show on Philippine TV. On 2 January 2009, Saturday night, I along with STRAP officers, Santy Layno, Joy Cruz and Rica’s sister Eds went to the PBB Double Up house for the live eviction night (see pic below). Rica was up for eviction that evening along with three other housemates, Paul Jake, Sam and Johan. I thought it was going to be either of the three above not Rica who was going out that night.
The show itself started uneventfully with the three hosts Mariel Rodriguez, Toni Ganzaga and Bianca Gonzales coming out on stage (see pic below). The highlight of the evening was the live telecast of the New Year concert that the housemates put together. Rica hosted the concert from inside the PBB Double Up house. The concert was the housemates’ weekly group task. To pass the task, the housemates were to commit only 10 mistakes in their sing-and-dance routines. Each time a housemate mouthed the wrong lyrics or made a misstep, a buzzer would go off. The housemates ended up committing 40 plus mistakes and failed the task.
After the concert, the hosts turned to the housemates nominated for eviction. Around three weeks ago, the show introduced a new twist in the viewers’ casting of text votes. Viewers of the show now had two options, to vote to evict or to vote to save. Each housemate nominated for eviction will then have two scores, evict and save votes with the former subtracted from the latter resulting in their final ranking. When the votes were revealed, Rica unbelievably had the lowest number of evict and save votes and was announced evicted.
I was so shocked and could not believe my ears. I had to ask Joy and Santy if I heard the announcement right. They confirmed my fear. Rica was instructed to say goodbye to her housemates and was escorted outside the house onto the stage fronting the PBB Double Up house where a live audience was waiting. As she stepped out, the crowd cheered and started calling out to Rica. Rica waved at the fans and gave a very heartwarming speech. She said that she was happy to be out and that she hoped that with her story people will learn to stand up for their loved ones who are different. The entire time she was poised and looked very calm. She handled it really well.
After the show ended we had to wait for instructions before we could see Rica. She was asked to stay the night near the PBB Double Up house to ease her slowly into life outside the show. She was going to be debriefed by the show’s psychologist first before being released back to the real world. We were ushered into a small conference room to see her. When she came in we all hugged her in joy and she shrieked in delight about being happy to be finally out. We all chatted and our phones were ringing off with friends calling to ask how Rica was doing. Rica spoke to her friends and family on the phone and we were with her till around 2 in the morning when we had to leave her finally. Before we left, we took one last group pic (see below) with Rica’s aunt Espie and another STRAP officer Mae Hernandez.
Rica is now set for a new chapter in her life. I hope it brings her happiness and success. Her being the first transpinay on PBB is truly a groundbreaking achievement and she has given a new and refreshing face to the community of transgender women in the Philippines. She represented us very well on the show and we are so proud of her. She is to me truly STRAP’s Woman of the Year for 2010. Soar high my sister. Your time to shine has come!