I was hired last June 2016 at UCPB as a Loans Documentation Specialist. Few weeks after, people from the office were already having thoughts of letting me compete on the annual Miss UCPB Mindanao which is usually held during the month of August. The pageant is a highlight during the Fellowship Night among all branches of UCPB here in the region of Mindanao. Eventually, the winner will represent the region of Mindanao to compete to the other regions of UCPB such as Visayas, Northern Luzon, Southern Luzon, and the various regions of Metro Manila. Fortunately, my nervousness went away since one my fellow employees represented our unit. However, after the event, one our officers told me that I should already prepare since I will be the next in line. With that, I already know that I will be one who would represent our unit this year.
Joining a beauty pageant was my dream ever since I was in college. A lot of people would encourage me to join because of my height and my straight teeth (they say). However, I would turn them down whenever such opportunities would come because of my lack of confidence. Yet, I still continue to draw interest in watching beauty pageants locally and internationally. With that, knowing that I would represent our unit this year for the annual Miss UCPB Mindanao, I really prepared myself physically. Fortunately, the question and answer portion is not included in the pageant. It would just be a competition of beauties. I always go to the gym for 2 months together with a healthful diet. I never struggled with choosing the food I should eat since I already live healthfully after I’ve been an overweight kid. Even though I haven’t achieved the ideal eleven abs, I am still grateful that I have trained since I have really seen changes in my body.
So, during the month of August this year, my name was already submitted to the office of the Region Head as the candidate who will represent the Support Unit of Cagayan de Oro. All in all, six candidates from the various clusters will represent their respective units. Then, we were given a deadline to submit a sexy sportswear and casual portrait. The swimsuit portion was changed to a sexy sportswear while the long gown was changed to a cocktail gown. So, together with the help of my officemate, Rhyber, and my photographer friend, Alsan, we scheduled our photoshoot a day before the city fiesta here in Cagayan de Oro. Likewise, Kuya Alex, a freelance make-up artist I’ve known, was the one who made me up during that day. The photoshoot took place just here in our neighborhood. It was a struggle for me since I am a sweaty person. I was wearing a leather jacket, boots, and make up during the photoshoot so I was really sweating a lot. For the casual photoshoot, it took place at Stargate Dream Vacation Resort.
After the photoshoot, I had the remaining one month to train at the gym. I was very grateful to the management of Axis Gym since they really helped me to push to my limits so that I would be able to attain a toned physique. I had already made friendships to trainers and fellow gym enrollees At first, I was disappointed since I wasn’t able to achieve the dream abs I wanted to attain during the day of the photoshhot. Nevertheless, my trainer, Sir Ronie, told me that he has seen improvement on my lower body. I have witnessed that my hips and buttocks were more toned than before.
My anxiousness began two weeks before the pageant. I don’t know why I was having that anxiousness. I was preparing for my talent which is a guitar mash-up. Then, one week before the pageant, I really had a strict diet. I opted eating rice and instead, I substituted it with sweet potatoes or kamote.
By September 22, candidates would go ahead to Davao City, which is the place where our pageant would take place, for the rehearsals of our production number and blocking on the stage. It was my first time to go the hometown of our President. We went to Davao City by air travel together with Althea (Miss Iligan), Maricor (Miss Velez), Ma’am Elaine (The Branch Manager of Iligan Branch), and the officers of our center, Ma’am Jeda, Glaiza, and Kathy.
By the time we arrived at Davao, we immediately went to the office of the Region Head at the Magsaysay Branch. I was already very anxious since I won’t know what would happen during the first encounter with the Mindanao Region Head. Gladly, our Region Head, Sir Milo, was very accommodating. He is one of the most down-to-earth individuals I’ve known in the company. Althea, Maricor, and I already wanted to check-in to the Royal Mandaya Hotel to rest after a tiring travel. It was the first flight during the day, so we woke up at two in the morning to travel to Laguindingan Airport which is an hour away from the city. Few hours later, we then met Bebs who just arrived from General Santos. She will represent the Cotabato Cluster. I was glad that we were able to easily converse with each other. I also enjoyed the company with these girls. In the afternoon, I met Ruby who is the representative of Magsaysay Branch. Then, I was very ecstatic that I was able to see Caryl, my LDD Counterpart at Davao, again after a year. It’s very funny since the representatives from the support units of Cagayan de Oro and Davao are from the same department. We stayed at the Region Head’s office until four in the afternoon. We had our lunch, little nap time during the break, and practice at the conference room.
After the practice, we eventually went to the Royal Mandaya Hotel to take a rest. Althea was my roommate. I’m glad that she was my roommate since it’s as if we have known each other for a long time. We just talked about anything from our experiences as UCPB employees to our personal lives. By dinner, we strolled around the city to find a fastfood chain. We then went to Chowking San Pedro. After the dinner, Althea and I went back to the hotel while Bebs and Maricor went to a salon for a manicure and pedicure.
The next day was already the day we have anticipated for. We have the whole morning to prepare ourselves. By afternoon, we still had our practice at the actual stage where we would showcase ourselves. Time went so fast that we never know the coronation night has come. Our make-up artists donned us up. By 6pm, we already went to the Hall wearing our denim skirts and white shirt for the production number.
The event started at 7:30 in the evening after the dinner. I was already very nervous but they say, we should just enjoy the event.
We were already very hungry since we just ate light snacks. Yet, we just ignored our hunger so that our tummies won’t get bloated during the sexy sportswear. The event ended at 12 midnight. Even though I haven’t brought the crown, I was already very happy for the experience. I was very happy for the winners of Miss UCPB Mindanao 2017. I believe that the winner, Bebs, would proudly represent the region of Mindanao during the Miss BBG which will be held on November 2017 at the Makati Head Office.
Together with my fellow officemates from the support unit, we strolled at Davao City for food trip. We went to the batchoyan at Roxas Ave. I was very fulfilled since I was able to satisfy my hunger after the strenuous pageant activity.
THE VERDICT: WOULD I STILL A JOIN A BEAUTY PAGEANT?
Joining a beauty pageant is really very expensive. You need to invest on a lot of things. This made me realize if I would still join such endeavors in the future. However, wearing a crown is really my dream which I wish to fulfill before I turn 25. I don’t want to regret my life by looking back on the things which I haven’t done. I would consider this Miss UCPB Mindanao experience as a stepping stone for me towards greater things. I am still grateful even though I haven’t won so that I would be able to improve myself if ever I would join another beauty pageant in the near future.
Above all, I am very grateful for my fellow officemates who have helped me for the expenses. They have also let me borrow the things which I needed during the photoshoot and pageant. Moreover, I am grateful for the bond I had established with my officemates, my fellow candidates, and the people who organized the event. That’s what truly matters most because it’s not about the destination but rather, the journey and the memories you have made with the people.