What will Gaziniâs Miss U walk be like?
Miss Philippines Universe 2019 Gazini Ganados (with a child during the World Smile Day celebration) has yet to create and name her own Miss U walk
What will Gazini’s Miss U walk be like?
(The Philippine Star) - October 18, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Miss Philippines Universe 2019 Gazini Ganados felt feverish that afternoon. But she had a good deed to do — cheer up children with cleft palate and their parents at the celebration of World Smile Day.

“Other people need my presence,” said Gazini. “I feel guilty if I don’t do anything. I’m used to going around and being productive. It’s better than just lying down in the house.”

The children’s faces lit up when she sat beside them and cut out colorful pieces of papers to make plush toys of various shapes and sizes. Other children’s faces showed that feeling as they sat in rapt attention, little fingers drawing lines and cutting pieces of paper with Gazini’s fellow queens — Bb. Pilipinas International Patricia Magtanong, Bb. Pilipinas Supranational Resham Saeed, Bb. Pilipinas Intercontinental Emma Tiglao, Bb. Pilipinas Globe Leren Bautista, Bb. Pilipinas first runner-up Aye Abesamis and Bb. Pilipinas second runner-up Samantha Bernardo.

The beauties, dressed in black T-shirts, were just as immersed on the work at hand as the children. They knew that they were dealing not just with any other kid. They were dealing with children whose lives turned from gray to red after Smile Train helped them correct their cleft palate condition through treatment or surgery in partner hospitals nationwide.

Gazini admitted feeling overwhelmed, as childhood memories come flooding back.

“It gives me joy that these kids are getting a chance to have a new life through Operation Smile. It’s good to know these kids are having fun even if they have this illness.”

The beauty from Zamboanga has her personal advocacy (Smile Train is a partner of the Miss Universe pageant). She’s into elderly care — which she notes is not as popular as it should be in the country. After seeing her own grandma’s plight, Gazini vowed to prioritize elderly care as this year’s Miss Philippines Universe.

So is making her Miss Universe walk as memorable as her predecessor, Catriona Gray’s viral Lava Walk. But Gazini has yet to create and name her own “walk” as of press time.

Duplicating, even surpassing the Lava Walk is not the only challenge facing Gazini, who expects a lot of comparisons with her predecessor, Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray. So Gazini is learning things like fixing her own hair, coming up with her own wardrobe, cooking her own food, moving with more grace and others every day. She’s also taking up voice and dance lessons.

Gazini also sought Catriona and Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach’s advice. Have fun and be yourself, the Miss Universe title holders told Gazini.

Her predecessors’ words have had a calming effect on Gazini, who isn’t worried about the upcoming Miss Universe competition.

“Some people said training for the Binibini is harder than that of Miss U. The Bb. Pilipinas preparations are pretty tough. It’s just a matter of recalling it and trying to improvise. I’m almost there,” Gazini beamed.

The children who surrounded her, are almost there as well. The cleft palate that used to define them, is gone for good. They are free to smile again, to go or resume school without being bullied, gain new friends and find a good job when they grow up.

“The surgery is life-changing,” Smile Train Area director Kimmy Flaviano says. “Beneficiaries speak well, breathe, eat better. We’ve partnered with the University of Sto. Tomas, De La Salle University and Cebu Doctors’ University’s speech therapy programs.”

That certainly gives many affected children — and their parents — a reason to smile.


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