Arienne Calingo, a Pinay beauty with the 3 Dâs
Arienne, an Education USA ambassador for the US Embassy Manila, cultivates dedication, determination and discipline.

Arienne Calingo, a Pinay beauty with the 3 D’s

Rogelio Constantino Medina (The Philippine Star) - January 7, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Former Miss World Philippines 2016 First Princess to Catriona Gray, Arienne Louise Braga Calingo, started dancing classical ballet when she was five. She was a dancer for the Fresno Ballet and participated in The Nutcracker each year. In California, she was trained under Marin Dance Theatre. In later years, she took adult ballet classes in different dance schools. Through dancing ballet, she has learned discipline and diligence. Her favorite is dancing the Dying Swan to the music of Camille Saint-Saëns.

A woman with many diverse hobbies, Arienne enjoys playing the piano and violin and beatboxing. She even served as a guest DJ on GV99.1. She is also an award-winning poet. Recently, she taught herself photography and stop motion animation, and her photography and poetry were featured by Harvard University. She will be joining Miss World Philippines again this year as Candidate #9. 

She has served as a volunteer teacher in disadvantaged communities in the Philippines, USA and Thailand for nine years. She first began as a volunteer for the Immigration and Citizenship Program at the Center for Employment Training in San Jose, California. “That was one of my most interesting volunteer opportunities, as I had the chance to utilize my Spanish speaking skills. Through that program, I helped tutor people who were applying for their US citizenship, and most of them happened to be native Spanish speakers,” she recalled.

With mom Gemeline

After volunteering there, she served as a volunteer creative writing teacher at Alma Community Center to children ages four to 13. This opportunity was when she really started to fall in love with teaching children. A year later, she received the Jean Donovan Fellowship from the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education. “Through my fellowship, I helped launch a fashion design program for children of disadvantaged backgrounds in Southern California. Then, at Georgetown University (where she graduated cum laude), I was an English as a Second Language volunteer tutor under the Foreign Language Exchange Program. Through this, I taught English to graduate students from Saudi Arabia and Thailand. In return, they practiced Arabic and Thai with me,” she said with alacrity. 

After college, she moved to Bangkok and lived there for a year. She later collaborated with a school in Bangkok to set up an essay-based scholarship program for students seeking to learn English. “All these experiences have instilled in me with a great sense of fulfillment, and I hope to continue inspiring others and learning from them.”

Education really means the world to her. She recently obtained her Master’s degree in International Education Policy from Harvard University as the only Filipino in her graduating class. She has presented about international education worldwide, including Thailand, South Africa and UK. Borne out of all her experiences in education, she conceptualized LEAD (Leaders in Education, Advocacy, and Diversity). Through LEAD, she has been collaborating with fellow Kapampangan visionaries — both students and professionals — to create informal education programs for the 1,500 street children of Angeles City. Recently, she visited the artistic, talented kids from Bale-balayan Museum for the Poor for Transformation through the Arts, a center in Angeles City that gives opportunities for these kids to learn indigenous musical instruments.

Arienne being interviewed by Slovenian news for her UNESCO work

She admitted she experienced a lot of instances of racism during her high school years. “I used to cry a lot, almost every single day after school. But, I have learned that it is through struggle that we find our strength. Sometimes, we need to feel uncomfortable and experience adversity in order to change and grow. Since high school, I have learned to transform my challenges into learning opportunities.”

For the work that she has done in her community, Arienne was a recipient of the Pupul ning Banua Award for the Arts from the Angeles City Tourism Office. Before joining Miss World Philippines 2018, she was a consultant for UNESCO. These past few months, she had the opportunity to travel to Malaysia, Slovenia, Italy, South Korea and China for her work. 

Arienne, an Education USA ambassador for the US Embassy Manila who spoke recently with US Ambassador Sung Kim at the inaugural Grad Studies Fair at EDSA Shangri-La, is certainly a beauty who cultivates dedication, determination and discipline.

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