Freeman Cebu Entertainment

Future doctor is Miss Cebu 2022

Vanessa A. Balbuena - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  After leaving her imprint as the first Miss Mandaue titlist to propose and implement an advocacy project, Gabriella Mai Carballo views her crowning as the newest Miss Cebu as but a wider platform to work on more causes.

The 23-year-old model and future doctor was declared Miss Cebu 2022 during the finals held Wednesday evening at the Plaza Independencia. The pageant, resurrected after six years, was supposed to hold its coronation on January 12. It was postponed to a later date after December’s Typhoon Odette.

Carballo, wearing a red strapless evening gown by designer Harley Ruedas, also bagged the Miss Oro Galleria award.

“I felt like when the others were getting the major special awards, I thought it’s really anybody’s game right now, so there was no part of me that was expecting even if I was confident with the answer that I gave. I was really like, ‘You know what, we’ll just see what happens,” she told The FREEMAN minutes after her victory.

Miss Cebu this year only had one round of Q&A from which the judges determined the Top 5 placement.

Asked about the strength that her generation possessed in order to survive and thrive in these challenging times, Carballo said, “Our generation is known as the generation that has consistently had access to so much information on the internet. Now a lot of people may see this as a bad thing because maybe we’ll spread bad news to other people,” she said.

“However I believe in the contrary. Our generation, with this knowledge, has the ability to empathize with people [from] all across the globe. And as a Cebuana, I hope that I can embody this quality and use it if you’ll allow me to be your Miss Cebu 2022.”

Carballo is the niece of Miss Cebu Tourism 1991 Golda Ceniza. Born in Miami, Florida, she moved to the Philippines when she was 14.

She made her mark in the Cebu pageant scene for being the first Miss Mandaue winner, together with her 2018 court, to propose advocacy projects and actually implement the approved one during and beyond her reign.

The campaign, which she named the Green Wave project, had them going around schools in Mandaue City to teach children about proper waste management and segregation.

For her Miss Cebu candidacy, she re-titled it to Green Wave Cebu with a new project espousing proper hygiene that she dubbed Sabon Sugbuanon.

“Now post-typhoon, I was looking at the statistics on how many trees we lost and I can do something about that with the Department of Agriculture that would be really great,” said Carballo, who is in her second year of medical school. “But of course, Sabon Sugbuanon, I’m still going to continue with that.”

Carballo said that being Miss Cebu 2022 is a “bigger opportunity to establish more projects.”

“As you guys know after Miss Mandaue I really committed so much of my life to that. So my intent of joining was to grow my network and to make more projects. Now, I work with JCI Zugbuana, so I’m hoping that with this network of women, and of course the Miss Cebu organization, that there’s a lot more that I can do.”

Named first runner-up was licensed physical therapist Dannika Anne Ocampo, 25, who was also awarded Miss PAGCOR Charity. The rest in the top five are: second runner-up Ciairha Monsanto, a 25-year-old registered nurse; third runner-up Christine Aberion, a 22-year-old Architecture apprentice and freelance digital artist (a Miss Fili and Most Confident by Dr. Wong’s Lightening System awardee); and fourth runner-up Karla Marie Frances Niere, a 21-year-old Psychology major who also won for Best Tourism Video.

Also receiving awards were Bianca Wilhemina Willemsen as Miss Friendship and Miss Photogenic;   Lorraine Hann as Miss Koomi, Miss Peakway, and Best in Modern Kimona; and Rhean Emmanuelle Caruana for Best in Evening Gown, whose designer Jun Escario was also chosen Best Evening Gown Designer.

The night’s first tribute was given to Cebu’s Queenmaker, the late Jonas Borces, who passed away during the pandemic. Miss Cebu alumna who recently won in national pageants were also given special mention.

An early conversation piece among the audience and netizens watching the program was actor Tony Labrusca, who was mocked for the lackluster delivery of his opening spiels with co-host Karla Henry.


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