Mutya queens have strong family ties

Inquirer Libre - Davao - - PANGUNAHING PAHINA - By Armin P. Adina @diyarista

FAMILY was the driving force behind the newly-proclaimed Mutya ng Pilipinas queens.

“I dedicate my crown to my mom,” rookie contestant Ilene Astrid De Vera told the Inquirer after the culmination of the 49th Mutya ng Pilipinas pageant finals night staged at the Newport Performing Arts Theater of Resorts World Manila in Pasay City on Aug. 4.

During the final round of questions, society pillar Johnny Litton asked the 21year-old real estate officer from Cebu what title she would give a movie about her life.

She responded: “I would like to name it A Single Mom’s Child. And I would like to have my self portray the role of the child. My mother was my inspiration in everything that I did. I’m happy she raised me well, and I’m happy to be in front of you here and show her how proud I am.”

The other big winner, Mutya ng Pilipinas-Tourism International Jannie Loudette Alipo-on of Navotas, likewise cited her family as her motivation to succeed.

“This is my second time, and it’s so happy to finally win and bring pride to Navoteños. I dedicate it to my family. I couldn’t do it without their love and support,” said the 25year-old broadcast journalist.

In the final round, retired Col. Ricardo Nolasco asked Alipoon how she can encourage people abroad to “to visit our country despite the problems hounding Mindanao.”

Alipo-on said: “I will make a travel blog showing how beautiful, how natural the scenic spots in the Philippines are. I will use social media. Since they are in other countries, I will use social media to communicate with them, because social media is the most powerful thing in today’s society.”

She also bagged the lion’s share of special awards, taking the Best in Resort Wear, Mutya ng Pilipinas-Hannahs’, Mutya ng Inglot and Mutya ng Hotel 101 titles in preliminary activities.

Alipo-on also placed second in the poll for “Darling of the Press,” and in the separate competitions for swimsuit and long gown.

In the finals, she was also proclaimed Mutya ng Camera Club of the Philippines.

De Vera, meanwhile, was voted by media men as Darling of the Press, and placed third in the long gown contest. She was also procalimed Mutya ng Resorts World Manila during the finals.

She took home a cash prize worth P150,000, and will represent the Philippines in the 2017 Miss Asia Pacific-International pageant in Manila this October.

Alipo-on, who received P120,000 in cash, will compete in the 2017 Miss Tourism International tilt in Kuala Lumpur in December.

The new title Mutya ng Pilipinas-Top Model of the World went to Isabela’s Hannah Iglesia.

The 20-year-old ramp model, who received P50,000, will participate in the 2018 Top Model of the World contest in St. George in the Caribbean next year.

Mutya ng Pilipinas-People’s Choice Angela Carla Sandigan of Pateros finished as first runner up. She was earlier proclaimed Mutya ng Alta D’Tagaytay.

Television personality Sofia Marie Sibug from Albay was second runner up, She was also Mutya ng CWC International.

The annual beauty pageant pits homegrown bets against representatives from overseas Filipino communities.

And from the eight Filipino-foreigners who competed this year, Savannah Mari Gankiewicz from Hawaii was hailed as Mutya ng Pilipinas-Overseas Commmunities.

The 21-year-old model, who received $1,000 for her special title, was earlier proclaimed Best in Swimsuit and Mutya ng Cynos.

“It feels so great. All of these girls are so beautiful, all the overseas girls. I’m very happy how everything turned out. This sash means I represent the Filipino culture from America.”

She added: “I will use it to share the beauty of Philippines back in Hawaii and make everyone proud there.”

They competed against 22 homegrown bets.

The newly-crowned queens are determined to take on the pageant’s advocacy of promoting Philippine tourism amid the growing unrest in the southern part of the country, and the unfavorable press that the nation has been receiving in foreign media.

“[The crown] means more responsibility for me, and more challenge. I plan to use it as best as I can, to work with the Mutya ng Pilipinas Inc. and to best promote Philippine tourism,” De Vera said.

For her part, Alipoon said “I will promote the Philippines and help [the pageant organization]. I will travel to different places in the Philippines and invite foreigners to visit.”

The annual Mutya ng Pilipinas pageant espouses the advocacy “beauty tourism” and capitalizes on the fame gained by its winners to help boost tourist traffic in the country’s different destinations and attractions.

TV personalities Raymond Gutierrez and Bianca Gonzales hosted the ceremonies together with former Mutya ng Pilipinas Kristine Caballero-Aplal.

The Inquirer is a media partner of the pageant.

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