Kidnap victim, big (weight) loser are among the Binibini aspirants
FUNFARE By Ricardo F. Lo The Philippine Star
At lunch today when the 30 Binibini candidates are formally presented to the press at the Genting Club of Resorts World Manila, maybe not many in the audience know that one of the girls (who first joined the contest two years ago) is a kidnap victim.
She was kidnapped three years ago inside the subdivision where the family lives, held captive for 24 hours and was released only when her parents paid the P1M ransom.
“I was driving inside our subdivision on my way home from a cousin’s house when a man crossed the street,” she recalled (for security reasons, Funfare isn’t publishing her picture or mentioning her name and number). “I stopped to let him pass but he approached me and pointed a gun at me. My first impulse was to back up but suddenly three other men appeared behind my car. They demanded that I open the door because they said they wanted my car.”
Luckily, the girl who plays basketball and loves cars (“especially vintage cars na hindi naman masyadong mukhang luma”) was not molested by her kidnappers and set free in exchange for the money.
“It was very traumatic,” she continued. “I was so scared that I didn’t go out of the house for one month. The experience taught me to appreciate even the small things in life and not to take anything for granted. I realized that life is short and you have to treasure every moment of it.”
There are other interesting stories about the other candidates, three of whom will be chosen for three titles (Bb. Pilipinas-Universe, Bb. Pilipinas-International and Bb. Pilipinas-Tourism) on April 15 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum (currently undergoing renovation, see story below). The 2012 Miss Universe pageant will be held in December (venue to be announced later).
Ayelee Marie Dasalla, candidate No. 12 (used to be also-ran No. 32, but number had to be changed when she replaced a candidate who backed out), is a biggest loser. Like Charlene Gonzalez (now Mrs. Aga Muhlach) who used to weigh more than 200 lbs. when she was in high school in the US, Ayelee was just as heavy (201 lbs.), that’s why her schoolmates teased her a Miss Piggy like Charlene was. Charlene decided to lose weight and won Bb. Pilipinas-Universe in 1994 and finished among the Top Six in the Miss U pageant held here for the second time.
Will Ayelee, who is the older of two siblings from Mariveles, Bataan, duplicate Charlene’s feat?
A Nursing graduate (2011) from St. Paul’s University (Manila), Ayelee decided to shed pounds only last year for health reasons. Asthmatic as a child, Ayelee comes from a family of diabetics.
“How did I lose weight?” asked Ayelee who is now a trim 105-pounder. “I went on a crash diet and I exercised.” Then she tested the waters and joined the 2011 Miss Bataan contest, finishing first runner-up. “Joining the Bb. Pilipinas contest is my childhood dream,” added Ayelee whose family runs a motorcycle spare-parts business, that’s why she knows how to change flat tires and change oil. She plays chess and target-shoots.
Katrina Jayne Dimaranan, candidate No. 13, was homeless and slept with her siblings in a station bathroom. Her parents separated, and her mother moved Katrina and her siblings from one place to another. After studying in 13 schools, Katrina recently graduated from high school and planned to take up B.S. Psychology in college.
“I am an optimist,” said Katrina who used to sing with a church choir. “I want to inspire people, show them that even if they have gone through bad times, they could succeed. Just think positive.”
Nicole Schmitz, candidate No. 8, is a mountain-climber from Australia whose obsession is to plant a flag at the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro. She also loves hang-gliding.
“I have climbed several mountains in Australia,” said Nicole whose father is German and mother is Filipina (from Cebu).
Graduating end of this year with a Law degree from a university Down Under, Nicole finished a course in Psychology with honors.
“I took up Psychology because I want to know how the mind works,” said Nicole who is a Binibini second-timer (who first joined in 2007 when she was 18).
Another brainy candidate is Roxanne Tadique, candidate No. 20, already a CPA (from La Salle) who’s graduating with honors from the Ateneo Law School on April 15 (day of the Binibini grand finals). She finished high school a valedictorian.
Also an optimist like Katrina, Nicole hopes to bag one of the titles at stake this second time around (she first joined in 2008).
“You have to take risks,” she said, “and discover what you can and cannot do. The only thing to fear is fear itself.”
Another honor-roller is Marie Irisha Arcenas, candidate No. 28, who graduated with an Apparel Manufacturing Management degree with honors from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in L.A. She traces her roots to Cebu where her mother hails from.
“I came home from L.A. to help my mom with her business (bags and accessories for export),” said Marie who is Matteo Guidicelli’s first cousin. “Then, I decided to put up my own brand, Mia Arcenas. I do one-of-a-kind designs…evening clutches, gowns, resort wear, etc.”
And there’s even an Ivatan, Liezl Alcantara, candidate No. 16, who represents the cultural minorities. She was born and raised in Basco, Batanes, by her parents who are pure Ivatan (her mother is from Itbayat and her father from Basco).
A part-time model who is studying at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Marikina, Liezl said that it’s like “living in paradise” in her home province.
“People are peace-loving and family-oriented,” added Liezl who was Miss Rizal 2011. “The province has beautiful scenery, zero pollution and zero crime rate. It’s the perfect place to relax in.”
The big question, of course, is: Will any of three winners (one of those mentioned here, maybe?) surpass the record of Shamcey Supsup who placed fourth (third runner-up) in last year’s Miss U pageant?
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