Miss Southern Leyte 2013: The Pageant Night

Forgive the title.. 😀

This year’s Founding Anniversary of the province of Southern Leyte proved to be a blast. It’s always a season that Southern Leytenos look forward to. The highlight is the Miss Southern Leyte pageant night, where 19 beautiful ladies are featured and compete for the coveted title.

This year, I won the crown. 😀 #VeryHappyAndGrateful

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When the photoshoot and rehearsals started three weeks ago, I was culture shocked. Most of the candidates lived their lives joining beauty contests. They knew what to do and bring and how to act or project. Me? I had no clue 😀 LOL

If it weren’t for my “kikayness” during college, love for fashion, and obsession for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Shows, I’d be a complete fish-out-of-water.

As the rehearsals and publicity stunts progressed, I’d be crying, whining, groaning in pain, bleeding (don’t ask), and crying again. It was an overwhelming experience of missing home, not knowing what to do, feeling alone, etc. But enough about my insecurities.

The days leading up to the pageant was all the more exhausting. The girls and I would be wearing heels for HOURS. We’d get up at 6 in the morning and head back to our hotel past 11pm (or even 1am). IT. WAS. TIRING.

It was a good thing that my makeup artist and hair stylist arrived a day earlier. Jayvert gave me a crash course on strutting to make my legs seem longer, gliding with a long gown, projecting to audiences, etc. It’s a good thing I’m a fast learner, sort of.

Plus, he’s a REALLY GOOD makeup artist. 😀

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The pageant night itself was chaotic and nerve wracking. Now, it seems like a blur. We could barely hear anything backstage, except for the roar of the crowd, the hectic calls from the stage managers, and the purred chatting of the candidates and makeup artists.

Our first appearance was the production number. Our costumes were patterned after Thai native outfits since the theme of the pageant itself was Amazing Thailand. 

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It’s a relief that Jayvert took care of ALL my accessories, so I didn’t have to worry about that part. During introductions, the cheer of the audience (and my supporters 😀 ) were definitely a confidence booster. But by the time I got backstage, I was panicking and almost hyperventilating. I was overwhelmed by it all. Such a big production for a first timer like me. 😀

Next was the swimwear competition.

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I must say, I look HOT HOT HOT in this photo. 😀 Not at all what I expected. I was a bundle of nerves up on stage, but apparently it didn’t show. Hehe. It’s also a good thing that we can barely see anything from the audience because of all the LED lights blaring on us.

Next was the evening gown competition.

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Thank God my makeup artist taught me how to work the gown on stage. I was called the “girl in the butterfly dress” because my centre pose involved fanning up my mermaid skirt like wings and swishing them as I faced the crowd. Too bad I’ve yet to find any photos of it. Anyway, my gown looks gorgeous does it not? Again, thanks to my makeup artist. 😀

Immediately after, we dived straight to the preliminary questions. By then, I could hear my heart beat in my ears. I was soooooo nervous. Thank you USC for my education in speech, diction, and grammar. Whew! The other girls, sadly, weren’t as lucky as me. A lot of them stuttered and struggled with their answers. But they kept their grace and elegance so kudos, girls! 😀

After the questions, we were serenaded FOUR TIMES STRAIGHT, the parents and policitians were recognised, and we were given special awards. We had to stand in 6 inch heels, pose, and smile for more than 5 hours! Yep, FIVE! By the time the 3rd song ended, I was muttering under my smile to Miss San Fransisco, “Oh God…”

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Can you spot me in there? 😀

After all the grueling standing-in-6-inch-heels ordeal, the top five was called. I was preparing my brain for loss because I knew I wasn’t a favourite. I was good but, to my mind, I wasn’t that good.

First spot was for Miss Malitbog. She was charming, a mestiza through and through, and she walked like catwoman. 😀

Second spot was for Miss Macrohon. She was cute, VERY determined (she’d do anything to gain the top spot), and had stage appeal.

Third spot was for Miss Hinunangan. She had the face of a seductive angel and her smile was a knockout.

Fourth spot was… *drum roll*… MINE! Who would’ve expected that this bulingit girl would make it to the top five? I definitely didn’t! My supporters went wild. I could hear them screaming from rows away. I WAS ECSTATIC as well! 😀

Fifth spot was for Miss Sogod. She was REALLY tall and white and her smile was really sweet.

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After announcing the top five, we barely had time to breathe and retouch when we were IMMEDIATELY taken to a sealed bus outside, with loud music. Nerves, pressure, noise – IT WAS CHAOS in my brain. By the time I was called, I could hear my own blood pumping in my arteries (exaggerating? not really). When I faced the judges, the audiences, and the hosts, I could barely think. BUT, I was very calm. Weird, huh? I could still talk AND think flawlessly.

To quote one blogger, I devoured the Q&A and owned the night. 😀

The gradual naming of the runners up was an intense set of minutes. When Miss Hinungan was proclaimed Second Runner Up, I was SOOOOOO NERVOUS! Miss Sogod and I were the only two left, so no matter what happened I’d come home with a coveted title. 😀

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Then… *drum roll* the new Miss Southern Leyte is Miss San Juan!

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I nearly cried but I remembered I had to exude elegance and poise under pressure. Everything was a blur from that point on. Endless photos were taken, poses, greetings and congratulations, hugs and kisses – I am one lucky girl! 😀

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Until now, EVERYBODY is giving me their congratulations, greetings, and bids of “We’re so proud of you…” I’m still floating on a cloud of happiness, pride, shock, and gratitude.

Thanks Ma for ALWAYS supporting me, coming to my aid whenever I called for help even when you were busy, and for believing in me.

Thanks to my family for being really supportive and encouraging during the pageant.

Thanks to my high school friends for screaming their lungs out during pageant night and for encouraging me ALL the time.

Thanks to my makeup artist and hair stylist, Jayvert and Megan, for mentoring me, working their magic on me, for teaching me how to be Ariela Arida, and for telling me to think “like a Queen”. It worked. 😀

Thanks to my college and office friends for their prayers and votes of confidence.

Thanks to ALL Cabalianons for their warm greetings and congratulations.

Thanks to our Almighty God for blessing me with courage, wisdom, and strength to get through the pageant successfully.

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Fairy tales don’t always come true, but dreams do. 😀

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