MAKATI CITY, Philippines—With the online voting for this year’s Mrs. Universe pageant approaching the homestretch, Philippine-born beauties representing different regions in the international competition are appealing to Filipinos for support in their quest for the crown.
Pageant veteran Lina Gabbaoan from Ilocos Sur, who is now based in the Netherlands, is Mrs. Universe Continental Asia. Germany-based Decereen Joy Baquiran, born in Bukidnon, is Mrs. Universe Western Europe, while Sweden-based Jay Marie Calunsag, also born in Bukidnon, is Mrs. Universe Northern Europe.
Joybelle Potabes from Isabela is Mrs. Universe Western Pacific Asia, while Francesca Chin-Yang Park from Parañaque is Mrs. Universe Southeast Asia.
Gabbaoan, who happens to be the director of the five regions she and the four other ladies are representing, also carried the title Mrs. Philippines World Continental Europe in 2019.
She and her wards are sent to the Mrs. Universe pageant by Gabbaoan’s Maxam Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps less fortunate children in the Philippines by supporting basic necessities in schools, renovating old or neglected schools, especially in the remotest area, and funding and providing tools and equipment.
“We hope to ease the burden and inconvenience of the students in their education as well as enhancing their capabilities through sports-engaging programs and promoting the ‘bayanihan’ spirit,” Gabbaoan said.
She said her foundation had earlier planned to hold competitions selecting the Mrs. Universe representatives from the five regions she is handling. “Unfortunately, because of the [Covid-19] pandemic, all planned events needed to be canceled. Part of the profits would have funded the foundation’s yearly projects, as well as the advocacy of the winner,” Gabbaoan explained.
This year’s edition of the Mrs. Universe pageant is virtual, with all competition segments being conducted online. The votes will be accepted until Dec. 24, and the results will be announced on Jan. 1, 2021.
Several other delegates of Filipino descent, now based in Sydney, are taking part in the virtual pageant—Mrs. Universe Australia Maryrose Salubre, Mrs. Universe Australasia Kristine Tootsie Aseron Santos, Mrs. Universe Oceania Olivia Rosete Wheeler, and Mrs. Classic Universe Philippines Ceres Calizo.
Homegrown Filipino beauties are likewise in the fray—Mrs. Universe Philippines-Quezon City Star Villanueva, Mrs. Universe Philippines-Cagayan Valley Jennifer Duduan Capio, Mrs. Universe Philippines-San Juan City Cynthia Lim Huang, Mrs. Universe Philippines-Laguna Monique Cantalejo Rivera, and Mrs. Universe Philippines-Muntinlupa City Chanell Antas.
Former Filipino top model Gerone Olorocisimo Demiar is also in the competition. She carries the Mrs. Universe Philippines-Makati sash.
The 2020 Mrs. Universe pageant lists 88 official delegates from different parts of the world.