Fresh faces, pageant veterans among Miss Manila 2024 candidates

Bot Glorioso - The Philippine Star
Fresh faces, pageant veterans among Miss Manila 2024 candidates
Manila City Mayor Honey Lacuna with the Manileña candidates of ‘Miss Manila 2024: Woman of Worth’ during the 'sashing ceremony' at the Bulwagang Villegas of the Manila City Hall.
STAR / File

Organizers of the “Miss Manila 2024: Woman of Worth” have unveiled the Top 24 candidates who will compete in the beauty pageant’s second edition.

This year’s list of hopefuls is a mix of fresh faces, pageant veterans, professionals, and women advocates chosen by a panel of screeners namely, Michelle Arceo, 2023 Reina Hispano American Filipinas second runner-up; Gerry Diaz of Aces and Queens; Rodgil Flores of Kagandahang Flores; Tita Lavinia of Titas of Pageantry; and Charlie Dungo of the Department of Tourism, Culture and Arts of Manila (DTCAM).

The STAR, together with bloggers and other members of the press, recently witnessed the sashing ceremony of the candidates which took place at the Bulwagang Villegas of the Manila City Hall.

Manila City Mayor Honey Lacuna graced the occasion and had the pleasure of putting the sash on candidates representing their respective districts in Manila.

“It all started with a call from the City of Manila for Manileñas of grace and substance to come out of their shells and explore the possibilities of becoming Manila’s embodiment of empowerment and virtues,” said Mayor Honey in her speech.

The city mayor added that the lovely ladies will not only vie for the crown but will also compete for the opportunity to represent and be an ambassador of the country’s premier city.

The lovely ladies exuded poise, charm, and wit as they introduced themselves one by one on stage. These women are out to prove that they have what it takes to be a “Woman of Worth.”

In this day and age, pageants are no longer just beauty tilts. They have become platforms for showcasing empowerment, diversity, intelligence, and leadership. Thus, it didn’t come as a surprise to hear from the girls how they would want to utilize a platform like the Miss Manila beauty pageant to empower others.

Future lawyer and pageant veteran Estephanie Ladignon, representing Pandacan, shared with The STAR the reason she started the Happy Feet Foundation by E in 2019.

“It has been my principle (in life) that every time I achieve something – whether in academics or beauty pageants — I should give back to the community as well. That’s why, after I won Mutya ng Pandacan last 2019, I thought of putting up the foundation.”

“I’ve been doing charity works in Pandacan, Tondo, and recently, I went to Rizal and Cabiao, Nueva Ecija,” said Estephanie whose Instagram account is filled with posts of her various charity works like feeding programs, gift-giving to kids and donations to victims of calamities, among others. She is a full scholar at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila.

Gastambide representative Shefally Daime Valencia aims to push for her advocacy on women’s health. “A lot of women right now are experiencing sexual abuse and even girls as early as 13 years old have already been infected with HIV. Apart from that, more and more women have either breast cancer or cervical cancer. If I win Miss Manila, I want to help spread awareness of the importance of taking care of our health, especially women. I want my fellow women to learn more about such illnesses.”

Also advocating for healthcare is 20-year-old Sunshine Gabuat from Malate, currently a pre-med student at De La Salle University.

Licensed architect Xena Ramos, who represents Sta. Ana, talked about her advocacy on disaster mitigation.

“I am with United Architects of the Philippines and our responsibility is to provide assistance to victims of natural calamities and disasters. We go to different places in the country to share knowledge with people not just with the solution-based but also the preparedness.

“I joined Miss Manila because I believe it will allow me a greater horizon, a greater space to have this voice wherein I could express the need to focus on the different issues that are very relevant right now, and especially with Manila we have different environmental issues as well as with violence against women,” said Xena who also joined Binibining Pilipinas pageant last year. And if her name already rings a bell, it’s because she also happens to be one of the stars in the TV5 drama series “Lumuhod Ka sa Lupa.”

Like Xena, 25-year-old Jasmine Paguio of Paco is a pageant veteran. She participated in three national and international pageants in Canada where she was born and raised. She decided to come home and fate led her to be part of Miss Manila where she continues to advocate for environmental sustainability.

Meanwhile, Christine Banzon, who represents Sampaloc, took up speech-language pathology to be able to help people with communication disorders.

Twenty-four-year-old Charyzah Esparrago of Old Sta. Mesa, on the other hand, is a part owner of a clothing store that makes sure “that we have body neutrality in our clothes. It means that whatever your body size is, you can express yourself and be confident in what you wear.”

Completing the lineup of gorgeous ladies who will vie for the Miss Manila 2024 crown and title are Trina Martinez of Abad Santos; Victoria Isabella Bobier, Arlegui; Mikaela Rachell Orense, Arroceros; Lienel Navidad, Dagupan Extension; Dindi Dianne Gibaga, Don Bosco; Jubilee Therese Acosta, España; Jeriza Uy, Gagalangin; Mary Angela Lim, Labores; Sandra Moustafa, Legarda; Leean Jame Santos, Manuguit; Trisha Rosales, Morayta; Imee Soyangco, New Panaderos; Sofia Nina Cornejo, Otis; Ednalyn Gunio, Quiapo; Amanda-Kay Rhodes, San Andres; Aliya Rohilla, Sta. Cruz; and Daniella Mazen Moustafa, Tayuman.

Hosted by Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, the Miss Manila 2024 Grand Coronation Night will take place on June 22 at the Metropolitan Theater with a delayed telecast on GMA the following day.

Miss Manila is a project of the City of Manila, The Department of Tourism, Culture and Arts of Manila in cooperation with KreativDen Entertainment.

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