As promised, here is the second part of my feature on Bb. Pilipinas World 2003 Mafae Yunon-Belasco.
This time, Mafae engaged your blogger in a lengthier (and more candid) online conversation about a variety of subject matters.
Read on, and tell me afterwards your new impression/s of this down-to-earth woman who can definitely serve as a good role model to future beauty queens and even the young mothers of today.
About Bb. Pilipinas 2003:
1) I know that, deep within, you were seriously hoping to win the Bb. Pilipinas Universe title that fateful finals night last 2003. But when Carla Gay Balingit was called for that crown, how did you honestly feel?
Honestly, back in that moment I was hoping to be crowned Bb.Universe 2003 only to follow the footsteps of my beautiful aunt Desiree Verdadero ( Bb.Universe 1984, Miss Universe 3rd Runner up). I do not regret my success and Carla’s success because we won fairly and equally deserving of our crowns.2) Do you think you would have given the Philippines a more respectable placement in Panama where Miss Universe 2003 was held instead of competing for Miss World in China?
Definitely a tough question but in all I do whatever it may be, I put my 100%. Whether it be World, Universe or International, I would of made sure I will bring success to my country. Regardless I am proud to have represented my country the best way I can.
About Miss World 2003:
1) Was eventual winner Rosanna Davidson of Ireland really a lock for the title as early as the arrival of the delegates in Sanya?
Truthfully my main goal was to be the top favorite, I actually didn’t notice Rosanna until her dad was introduced to us all. Rosanna’s father is Chris de Burgh. He was famous for singing “Lady in red”. I honestly was starstruck at that point.
2) What percentage of your wardrobe did you actually take care of? You brought along such stylish get-ups that made you effortlessly stand out.
Why thank you for noticing, actually all I brought to China was organized by the wonderful Stella Araneta. Of course with the advice by former reigning queens Bb. World 2002 Kate Manalo and Bb.Universe 2002 Karen Augustin. Whom til today have been my best mentors. Daily I would analyze the attire requested and I would make sure I stood out by doing the total opposite or wear something that will certainly make me stand out.3) What was your fondest memory with the other delegates during pre-pageant activities? Who among them would you consider as closest friends back then? Are you still in touch with some of them?
Oh, you’re bringing me back to memory lane. Being in the Miss World 2003 pageant was the best thing that has ever happened to me apart from (marry my dream guy and having beautiful babies with him) . The friendships I gained were amazing. I was close to Miss China and Miss Iceland, unfortunately Miss China and I have lost touch. Although I remember the fun times we had visiting her homeland, I was receiving letters from fans and I would have Miss China translate them because they were always in chinese characters. I remember she would read them and giggle the whole time. I would ask her why and what, she would say he is inlove with you lol. Miss iceland and I on the other hand we still keep intouch up to this day. She also married an athlete ( soccer player) and have beautiful children.4) During finals night, were you already confident of moving up the ladder of competition ahead of the rest? Looking back now, would you have re-worded your answer to the final question?
hmmm All i remember was a few hours sleep because of mixed excitement and anxiety of not knowing what will be the next plan God will have for me. I was definitely happy, very happy! The people of china that supported us along the way inspired my energy and for that night. If given the chance to re word my answer, No …because I know I made sense, I know it was not planned or memorized, I know I absolutely did my best and I know things happen for a reason.5) Once and for all, what is the story behind the uber fashionable red gown and killer red heels that you wore during the live finals itself?
Yes it was definitely my outfit I adored the most. It was a Baraza inspired outfit. I felt so comfortable, beautiful and glamourous wearing it that I did not even recognize our former president Fidel Ramos in the front row cheering for me waving the Philippine flag.
About being a tennis coach:
I never knew about this detail in your life. Were you a competitive tennis player as a teenager? Have you participated in tournaments? Which tennis superstar did you look up to?
Reason why alot did not know my first love is mainly because i became a woman. Being a tennis player allowed me to learn discipline, self control and health. Also because I was boyish and very competitive to succeed and win my games. I disliked losing and I had to learn how to control my temper when things were not favoring my way. I played Junior Professional in Sydney and travelled interstate. I competing in the Milo Cup back in 1996 in Rizal Memorial and won the 18years Singles, runner up in the 16years singles, 18 and 16 years doubles. My favorite players were Stefi Graf and Andre Agassi, how cliche that they ended marrying each other.Related to this, what kind of a tennis coach are you?
As a mother and having strong women mentor me, it helps that I am able to coach with a motherly instinct. Whether young or adult I can adapt to the skill or personality of my student. The goal I always have in mind in each class i teach is first and foremost to have fun. Learning whether sport or academic should be interesting and exciting. I am able to determine when my students need my attention for certain areas. Being a mentor for anyone is to be able to keep their spirits high, this starts within my self and that helps me get through my classes.
About home-schooling the kids:
1)What is the primary motivation behind this?
Homeschooling is a topic that most parents are skeptical of, truthfully Nic and I were also at first. After seeing the developments of our youngest daughter Nicole 6yr old now (homeschooled for 3 years), it amazed us how she was growing up independently and socially active. Her maturity level was definitely extreme compared to our boys. When we introduced it to our boys it was merely the fact because the local schools were seeking interest of offering them scholarships for basketball. Since our boys are coming from an international school and not used to the local curriculum we decided to prepare them on entering the local schools by also enrolling them with TMA Homeschool. At first they were sad because they missed their friends but after a few months they were liking the fact of having to wake up later than usual, having to wear uniform and enjoying the family bonding. They also adapted on being independent with their studies. They would be the one asking or telling me what they learnt and what they want to learn more of. I honestly love homeschooling and would recommend every parent to research on it and give it a chance. We are the best teachers for our children no one else, especially with the internet evolution.2) Don’t you think the kids might be missing out on the interpersonal relationships that get to be established inside the classroom and campus?
They definitely miss their friends but they have gained new friends from the homeschooling program. TMA has so many social gatherings that the kids have interaction with other kids. Like right now my two older boys attended a three day camp with other high school homeschoolers. Just because its called homeschooling it doesnt mean they are stuck in a box all day. Actually most showbiz, hollywood and professional athletes are homeschooled. This enables the child to have the best of both worlds when they have time to perfect a talent. If you really look into it, by the time you reach college it is pretty much like homeschool, why? because it is your responsibility to attend your classes, make sure your reports are handed in on time, you are enrolled on time and make sure you pass the credits needed. Nobody holds your hand so why not start early? College/University is pretty much like homeschooling.3) How do you compare them to other children who go the usual route of education?
Well as far as comparing, I would rather compare them to how they were in a traditional school and being homeschooled. I believe my boys especially have gained more confidence within themselves. We are able to bring them to all our engagements and seek advice from us than they would being in school. They are more vocal with their needs and questions about life. They are able to adapt to different age groups and personalities. They have a clear understanding of the differences of humans, whether healthy or with a disability. With our Belasco Unlimited Skills Academy, we have a “give back” where we visit charities and spend time with the children. Our own kids are open to the setting where they are able to adapt to these less fortunate human beings. I believe that is really the key to succeeding in life, being able to give back to the people of god that lack more than you.
About being a wife and mother and businesswoman:
1) How would you describe yourself as wife and mother? Do you consider yourself cool, relative to these roles?
As a mother and wife….haahh my husband should answer this for me lol. Honestly I am definitely OC to the point I would do anything for the happiness of my husband and children. That is really my priority. If cool means being real about life than I must be over kill cool. Nic and I are definitely on the same page when it comes to parenting. We tell our children the truth, of course PG rated but the truth. We want our children to grow up knowing they can trust us and only us.2) How do you juggle the time between running the house, helping out in Nic’s sports academy and managing a business?
I truly believe God blesses us with the opportunities to be the best in all we do and what he offers us. Juggling my life is not a thought that I have to plan out, I basically take each day as it comes with open arms. Its what he granted me so there is no reason me to question it or complain. I am merely here enjoying the ride and the blessings. If you would like to add more infos, please do so.
Thank you for giving me a chance to inspire others like you are by having your wonderful blog! God Bless Norman xoxox