Freeman Cebu Entertainment

Mandaue City’s Michael Jhaye Jordan finds new purpose with pageant bid

Januar Junior Aguja - The Freeman
Mandaue City�s Michael Jhaye Jordan finds new purpose with pageant bid

CEBU, Philippines — Michael Jhaye “MJ” Jordan already has a lot going at 21 years old.

An Entrepreneurship student at the University of San Carlos, he is a proprietor of Plant Corner 88, and owns Steer&Stir Café (located at Clubhouse Florence Subdivision in Mandaue City), where he prioritizes hiring staff between the ages of 18-23. Another branch is set to open in Lahug, Cebu City.

Jordan was also a skilled basketball player before an injury waylaid his hoops dreams. At 16, he was part of the Visayas batch of the Elite 60 Development Camp (or top 60 best basketball players in the country) where he represented his city in the 21-under Governor’s Cup.

These days, Jordan is immersing himself in the modeling and pageant industry.

“I was walking up the stairs in school one day when I had this thought [of being a model]. Seconds later, I received a call from Sir Anthony Hejie Suralta who asked if I was interested in becoming a model,” Jordan told The FREEMAN.

“As a believer of God, I felt like it wasn’t a coincidence. I am still trying to find my purpose in life so maybe this is the one.”

Two weeks later, he was asked to join Mister International Philippines (MIPH) 2023. During a fashion show in Bantayan Island to officially introduce Cebu’s four delegates to the pageant, Jordan said walking down the runway felt like “I was in slow-mo and was in the zone.”

“The only time I felt like this was when I was playing basketball. That’s when I knew this was something I wanted to do.”

 Life-altering injury

While in high school at Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu, 18-year-old Jordan had two slipped discs in his spine. It’s a life-altering injury for any aspiring professional athlete.

“I was very good because I was into my craft. So when I was struck with that injury, I was depressed because since I was 10, I knew I wanted to become a professional basketball player,” he shared. “I spent the next years of my life [working on my basketball skills] until that moment.”

Jordan went through five doctors, with the first four telling him the same diagnosis he was dreading to hear: Even if he had surgery for the slipped discs, he can no longer play basketball at a competitive level ever again.

“It was Sinulog that time and I would always hear about how people will go to Sto. Niño to pray for miracles. I had nothing to lose, so why not? I remember praying, ‘I don’t know why this is happening in my life. I dedicated my entire life to my craft. But I trust you and I know this has a purpose.’”

“While I was praying,” he continued, “I felt something in my back. Months later, I was able to play at CESAFI.”

For now, Jordan has put his basketball days behind him while he focuses on other pursuits.

 Not settling for less

And just like the dedication he displayed as an athlete, Jordan has been all-out in his preparation for MIPH.

“I approach modeling and business the same way I approach basketball because I would list down my strengths and weaknesses. I would ask people what I’m good and bad at,” he said.

Should he become the next Mister International Philippines, he will use the platform to help the youth realize their potential.

“I want to maximize my reign to inspire children to go out there, reach for their dreams, and not to settle for less. I believe every person has the potential to be great at something. Not everyone can be the president, but they can be great at something and I want them to find that thing.”

He added, “Maybe they could be a great model, a great teacher. Anything as long as it pushes this world to be better, even if it’s just one percent.”

For now, Jordan has steady eyes on the prize. “I have a calendar that’s booked until June 28 [MIP’s finals]. I want to be consistent and work extremely hard, and not get distracted. After the finals, win or lose, I will still be happy because I gave my best,” he said. — (FREEMAN)

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