The mamas of Cebu are ready to bring it
Karla Rule (The Freeman) - September 13, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — When Mrs. International 2017 Jessica “Jee” Eribal turned over her national crown last year, she felt sad that there wasn’t any Cebuana onstage that competed for the title. This time around, after she successfully mounted the recent Mrs. Cebu Philippines 2019 competition, the Cebuana beauty queen made sure to bring the seven most capable candidates to Manila.

The winners – Mrs. Cebu Philippines Cherryl Dacua, Miss Cebu Philippines Lubesly Tellidua, Mrs. Elite Cebu Philippines Melanie Trani, Mrs. Cebu Philippines Gaia Analou Ramnarine, Mrs. Cebu Philippines Lumina Jucil Juntilla, Mrs. Cebu Philippines Celestia Joceth Japitan and Mrs. Cebu Philippines Aqua Septy Magaspi – will be representing Cebu province in the upcoming national pageant for moms, Mrs. International Philippines 2019, after making it to the Top 7 of the regional rounds held Sept. 1 at the Mezzo Hotel.

Eribal is proud of the Cebuanas who will be part of the 30 candidates that will compete in Manila on December 15 and looks forward to their performances which she will personally see through. In their first interview as winners, the seven moms shared takeaways from their unique and colorful experience and their hopes that the whole of Cebu will have their backs as they represent the province on the national and hopefully the international stage.

How does it feel to be doing the interview as title-holders?

Cherryl: I can distinctly remember when we were here for the first time, we were inviting viewers for the show. And now we’re here not as contestants but as winners. It’s surreal.

How did you celebrate?

Lubesly: Not yet! After the coronation night, we slept!

As mothers, you are unfailingly in the stands cheering for your families. How does it feel that the tables have turned and you’re the one being cheered on?

Melanie: It’s really overwhelming.

Septy: They really boost our confidence on stage.

Joceth: It was really overwhelming and I was so happy but there was also pressure because our mayor from Asturias was present.

Cherryl: We’re used to cheering for our children but it’s a different feeling with people cheering for you. Grabe ka overwhelming ang feeling. Through this, we are able to show everyone to still pursue their dreams.

What was the most challenging part throughout your journey to the crown?

Analou: It was the Q&A. Before, I used to tremble. Pakantaha lang gyud ko pero pageant…

Jucil: It was striking a balance. We are full-time career women and also mothers so we really had to learn how to balance. Medyo guilty pud ko because I go home everyday from Danao City so I have to make it up to my son. But seeing my supporters, who were soaked in the rain… It was very fulfilling and at the same time I’m proud of myself.

Lubesly: Because of my international experience, grabe ang pressure for me. I thought I cannot fail. All segments, since day one grabe ang pressure gyud. And I got sick, and my kids nag puli puli didto sa ospital…I can say it’s an achievement.

Cherryl: For me, it was the swimsuit competition. I really don’t…I just wanted to survive sa swimsuit. Aside from that, we have responsibilities at home, with our husband and children, and our responsibilities at work. You really have to be on your toes, there were so many adjustments. But along the way, I can really say na we are superwomen. I don’t know how we did it.

Can you tell us about the relationships you formed throughout the competition?

Lubesly: I’m really happy na our co-candidates are really supportive. Even those who didn’t make it to the Top 7, until now they are really supporting us. Muingon silag “Go sis! Dapat make Cebu proud!” Nindot siya. They are an addition to our extended family.

Septy: The challenge for me was when I was supposed to back out and I only had two weeks to prepare. Physically, emotionally I was very tired. I’m thankful for my sisters, they really told me not to give up.

Jucil: Septy and I have known each other for 10 years. And when she told me that she was backing out, I got emotional. At first, we joined for fun. We missed the stage. But suddenly, we were here for a purpose.

Cherryl: We have realized na for us to shine, we don’t need to shadow somebody else. Lahi ra gyud ang moms. We lift each other up. Sauna, dili gyud. Now it’s a team. It’s Team Cebu.

What are your expectations when it comes to competing nationally?

Melanie: We are now gearing towards outside our comfort zone. It’s like a jungle out there. We have to level up our selves also. Now, we are legitimately role models of Cebu society because of our crowns and titles.

Septy: Based on my experience in Miss Bikini Philippines back in 2009, we observe that Cebuanas are very competitive. We are competitive and so I believe that this competitiveness gives us our edge.

What are the lessons from Mrs. Cebu Philippines that you’re going to use to your advantage when it comes to the national and international stage?

Melanie: Always be prepared for anything.

Cherryl: Preparation is a really important key. We not only prepare physically but also mentally, emotionally and even financially.

Analou: Consistency and positive outlook.

What surprised you the most about yourself upon joining the pageant?

Melanie: I found hidden confidence.

Analou: The confidence that I had before, some people took that away from me. Now, it came back. I realized na my confidence was back.

Joceth: Finding a better version of myself. You know how it is, life becomes typical. Magbantay ka og anak, magluto, mugawas ka wala lang. But now, kung mugawas sa balay naay mu-greet. Ma-boost gyud ang confidence.

Cherryl: I realized that I am a woman of strength. There are greater possibilities pa gyud na I can tap for me to be a better version of myself.

Septy: My fighting spirit.

Lubesly: I have proven it. I am a single mom with three kids, and dili kalikayan, we live in a society that cannot survive without criticizing the person next to them. I have insecurities. The discrimination is maka push sa akoa, that’s why I keep joining and aiming to win. It lifts me up.

Jucil: What surprised me is naa pa diay koy ika-buga oy. Pageantry is my mom’s dream but she wasn’t able to do it so iyang gipasa sa akoa. But then I got pregnant. Her world turned upside down. Look at me now, look at us now. Naa gyud mi ikabuga and we will do more.

JESSICA “JEE” ERIBAL
Philstar
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