Freeman Cebu Entertainment

Queen Mother of Cebu 2024 unveils its 23 candidates

Januar Junior Aguja - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — On its second year, the Queen Mother of Cebu organization – founded by nurse, mother of two, writer and beauty titlist Julianne Mae F. Vera Cruz – gathered 23 candidates who will be vying for the seven titles at stake, topmost of which is the main crown currently worn by inaugural winner Myth Anisca Tuñacao.

Revealed during an April 7 press conference at Robinsons Galleria Cebu were finalists Beatriz Cabañero, 33; Ella Mae Zeek Abella, 29; Minnie Marante, 51; Hyacinth Basamot, 30; Wilgirl Romeral, 45; Princess May Abellanosa, 37; Jeanelyn Paulin, 48; Maria Edissa Colmenares, 48; Emmalyn Apas, 36; Esterlita Codera, 47; and Hannefah Basanon, 29.

Also in the roster are Norlaine Selgas, 42; businesswoman Jan Paulin, 47; Elsie Alburo, 56; Maria Liza Petallar, 41; Rose Nel Yap, 35; Rica Marie Lañojan, 36; Jasmin Laput, 44; Jeana Diamada, 53; Jehan Tribunal, 40; Queenie Rose Yve Alegado, 29; Jen Hecell Rodriguez, 34; and Rosemarie Cabahit, 34.

“The organizers are making sure that they take good care of us as much as possible. They know the plights of being a mother and there are a lot of financial challenges when it comes to joining these competitions,” said Marante, who was awarded Best in Runway by Chameleon Models of Cebu during the event’s fashion show segment.

“They made sure we don’t spend that much and we are supported financially and emotionally. I am so proud of this competition. Win or lose, I will still offer my services to the organization.”

Basanon, who’s had to parry criticisms for being a teenage mom, said that while many “looked down” on her, she instead showed them that her situation has been “a blessing because I know how to love, raise, and respect the living at an early age.”

Abella agreed, stating, “I have seen firsthand these teens who got pregnant. If given the chance that there could be a better life [for them] after this, it’s by giving back the support. We have to remember that these young parents have potential to become better parents, and if they are a better parent, they can be a better citizen of this country.”

As for Paulin, she said age should not be hindrance for them to “excel, especially in helping the community. I will show the world that being a mother, you should embody good values to help make the world a better place for women.”

Cabañero, who selected Darling of the Press, shared about her mother’s battle with psoriasis and how she admirably “endured a lot of challenges to raise our family, to protect and nurture us. My superhero is none other than my mom.”

On how she would balance her duties as Queen Mother of Cebu if she’d win and being a mother, Cabañero said: “I will make sure that I am able to flesh out my advocacies. I should be able to balance because the community that I am working on is already part of my personal life. They are already my family.”

Basamot, who won Best in White Long Gown had a similar response. “I would set my priorities. As a mother, our priority is our family but given the chance now that I am one of the finalists, it’s just a matter of self-discipline.”

She also shared her insights as a mother that makes her a worthy candidate. “I learned so many things from my child, one of which is kindness. Children are kind by nature and they don’t expect something in return when they give a toy or a piece of candy to their playmates,” she shared.

“I wish everyone would learn from a child that kindness is free and can go a long way. I hope to use my Queen Mother journey to spread kindness to everyone, regardless of status quo,” Abella added.

The Queen Mother of Cebu 2024 finals will be held May 11 at the IEC Convention Center.

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