NorthCot lass to represent PHL in 2014 Miss Universe pageant PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 05 April 2014 11:19

There is pressure now, apparently, on newly-crowned Binibining Pilipinas Mary Jean Lastimosa of North Cotabato’s Tulunan town to do well in the 2014 Miss Universe pageant.

The Philippines has consistently won in the Miss Universe pageants in the last four years — Maria Venus Raj won fourth runner-up in 2010; Shamcey Supsup won third runner up in 2011; Janine Tugonon won first runner in 2012; and Ariella Arida won third runner-up in 2013.

Lastimosa, who hails from Barangay Sibsib in Tulunan, now wears the crown that effectively made her become the country’s bet for the 2014 Miss Universe pageant.

Relatives, friends and supporters, among them North Cotabato’s chief executive, Governor Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza, are confident she would have a good winning chance in the upcoming international contest.

The venue and date of the Miss Universe Pageant for this year are yet to be announced.

Daily Zamboanga Times learned Wednesday that from among 33 contestants initially selected to join the Miss Universe 2014 pageant, 26 have confirmed to join so far, and one of them is the country’s very own Lastimosa. More than 80 contestants are expected to join in the pageant.

Lastimosa bested 39 other contestants in this year’s national pageant, winning the Binibining Pilipinas Universe and best in swimsuit awards, before she was crowned the country’s 2014 Binibining Pilipinas at the end of the program.

The Miss Universe 2014 will be the 63rd since the pageant began more than six decades ago.

In this year’s pageant, the 2013 Miss Universe, Gabriela Isler of Venezuela, will crown her lucky successor at the end of the event.

Lastimosa virtually is no stranger to beauty pageants. The 2014 pageant wasn’t the first time she joined the Binibining Pilipinas. She joined the pageant in 2011, where she was named second runner-up, and, subsequently, in 2012, where she was chosen as among the top 12 finalists.

She was first crowned as “Mutya ng Tulunan” during the 2003 municipal fiesta of Tulunan, her hometown, which is located in the second district of North Cotabato.

She had won the “Mutya ng Davao” title during a pageant in 2008 in Davao City.

Lastimosa finished elementary at a public school in Barangay Sibsib in Tulunan. She graduated from the Tulunan National High School and then studied college in Davao City.

Relatives said Lastimosa was “a smart dresser” and was always conscious of how she behaved in public and in school.

A cousin, Jelyn Muyong, said Lastimosa was caring to both friends and relatives and is known to be compassionate.

“She is a very thoughtful lady,” Muyong said in the Hiligaynon vernacular.

Teachers of Lastimosa in high school described her as always neat, a courteous and respectful student.

“And she is intelligent too,” a school mate in high school, who asked to be identified only as  Len-Len, had said.

Mendoza, who, along with her constituents, supported Lastimosa’s participation in the March 30 pageant at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, said preparations are now underway for the welcome rites they are to extend to the beauty titlist upon her return home soon.

“We are so proud of her. She brought our province fame and honor,” the North Cotabato governor said in an emailed statement.

She said Lastimosa’s win was a tacit indication that North Cotabato, or Central Mindanao in particular, is not bereft of fine and talented women.

“It came at a time when people in the province are gaining headway in developing our eco-tourism potentials into ‘domestic wonders,’ and in showing to all Filipinos and to the world that we have peace and good investment climate here. Blessing comes in many forms indeed,” Mendoza said. — Felix Ostrea