Freeman Cebu Entertainment

Azriel Coloma: Fresh face of pageantry

Vanessa A. Balbuena - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  Azriel Atima Coloma had no illusions of landing a crown, much less being named among the Top 16 finalists, in her very first beauty pageant.

Standing at just 5’2” and pitted against cross-over national pageant candidates, the 19-year-old told The FREEMAN that her Hiyas ng Pilipinas journey was mired with constant self-doubt and insecurity.

“It has been fun but really pressuring because I’m competing with veterans. I felt I wouldn’t make it because I’m the newbie. No experience at all and I’m not that much known for people to be interested in me,” said Coloma, whose closest brush with a beauty contest was a Miss Milo Olympics stint which she considers more of a competition among muses and not a full-on pageant.

Going into the Hiyas finals, Coloma said she felt she bungled her Closed Door Interview and so wasn’t counting on being a semi-finalist.

“Honestly I was shocked that I was part of the Top 16 because during the closed-door interview I wasn’t that much happy with my performance. I felt I put too much pressure on myself. I was so nervous that I forgot to say what I really wanted to,” said Coloma, who represented Tacloban City in the inaugural edition of the country’s first Cebu-based national pageant.

“So Top 16, I started crying already because I was really overwhelmed. I also thought I would only be until Top 16. And then I was getting awards before the announcement of the Top 5. I was like, am I gonna make it?”

Against the odds, Coloma did make it, bagging one of the three crowns at stake and a slew of corporate awards. As a Miss Elite Philippines 2022 titlist, she will represent the country at Miss Elite Philippines in Egypt next year.

Born in Tacloban, Coloma has been based in Cebu right after her kindergarten years. She is set to graduate from K-12 this month (under the Accountancy Business Management strand) at the Maria Montessori International School in Talamban, Cebu City.

With her mother’s business inclinations rubbing off on her, she is planning on taking either a Marketing of Accountancy course in Manila. Her mom has been running an organic cleaners enterprise which she has been lending a hand on for years now – including handing the finances, its social media, and helping with payroll.

Coloma is also part of Cebu Overland Club where she goes on off-road trips with family and friends that includes a charity activity. Though not a stranger to philanthropy, Coloma said one particular Hiyas activity made a huge impact on her.

“We went to this charity called Little Lambs. It was my first time to visit a charity that focused on kids with disabilities,” she said. “It made my heart heavy and made me realize how blessed I am. It’s something I want to work on now. That was an eye-opener for me.”


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