By Glazyl Y. Masculino
BACOLOD City – The “City of Smiles” has a new queen after a 22-year-old tourism student of the University of St. La Salle (USLS) here was crowned Miss Bacolod MassKara 2023 on October 16.
Yvonne Catamco, a fourth year college student taking up Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Tourism Management bested 14 other candidates in the pageant during the coronation night held at the USLS Coliseum.
Miss Bacolod MassKara Universe 2022 Kara Daniela Villarosa crowned Catamco, who received a bouquet of flowers, a plaque, and a cash prize of P150,000 from Mayor Alfredo “Albee” Benitez, accompanied by wife Nikki, their son Mayor Javier Miguel “Javi” Benitez of Victorias City, Negros Occidental, and Senator Raffy Tulfo, who was among the judges in the pageant.
Catamco also won the Best in Swimwear, and also received corporate awards like Ms. Northwest Inn, Ms. DITO Telecommunity, Ms. Megaworld, and Ms. Air Asia.
Catamco, who advocates for the underprivileged children, said in a media interview after winning the pageant, that she had been carrying a lot of pressure in this year’s pageant since it was her second time to join the competition.
She joined last year’s pageant, but only won the Miss Congeniality award.
“I really used that pressure to work harder from the last time I joined,” Catamco said, as she thanked those who supported her from the start of her journey until the end.
Catamco said that she really prayed for it. “If something is for you, it will find a way,” she said, adding that she’s very happy of her achievement.
She advised girls to never give up and just keep on dreaming.
She said that she is very happy to represent Bacolod in the national stage and that she will really do her best.
Meanwhile, Tracy Mae Sunio, 23, a former psychology student at Riverside College Inc., who currently works as a virtual assistant, and advocates for Diverse Disabilities Awareness, was the first runner-up.
Second runner-up is 23-year-old Elli Rose Elola, a graudate of B.S. Psychology at the University of the Philippines, who advocates for mental health awareness. She also won the Best in Evening Gown, and Darling of Social Media.
Both of them received a bouquet of flowers, a plaque, and cash prizes of P100,000 and P50,000, respectively.
Ms. Photogenic is Allona Nejar, and Best in Talent and Festival Costume was won by Marianel Tan, who also won the Tiktok Queen Award.
Geralyn Joy Basto received a brand new motorcycle for being the Suzuki’s Choice Award.
Janine Cabrillos was hailed as the Darling of the Press during the Press Presentation of the Miss Bacolod MassKara 2023 candidates at the Atrium of SM City Bacolod on October 1.
Other candidates were Georgette Ysabelle Millan, Therese Pira-an, Jada Biaxyl Celeste, Cailah Jhane Delarma, Rose Mariel Sansing, Kyle Santillan, Ma. Ericka Panganiban, and Crizwin Claire Española.
The candidates went through a series of workshops and mentoring which included Miss Bacolod MassKara International, Jan Marie Bordon along with other beauty queens, Billie Hakenson, a runner-up in the Miss Universe Philippines 2020 and Riana Pangindian,1st Princess in the Miss World Philippines 2021 pageant.
Yeoh Egwaras also taught them Basic Modeling with Pipo Gonzales handling the Q&A Workshop, Personality Development & Wardrobe and Styling with Mikee Andrei, all of Aces and Queens, the company that has produced many beauty titlists in our country.
Their handlers and makeup artists also went through a Masterclass with Raymond Galang, the head makeup artist of Aces and Queens and Jim Ryan Ros, hair stylist of Aces and Queens and owner of Culture Salon Manila.
Each candidate was given an P80,000 cash subsidy by the Bacolod Yuhum Foundation after besting more than 70 ladies who auditioned for this year’s beauty pageant.
Actor and model Marco Gumabao shared the centerstage with actress and influencer Janeena Chan in hosting the coronation night, while actor Carlo Aquino serenaded the ladies.
The Board of Judges was chaired this year by Interior Local Government Undersecretary Margarita Guiterrez, who is also the president of the Professional Models Association of the Philippines (PMAP).
Aside from Tulfo, other judges were Binibining Pilipinas Universe 2009 and actress Bianca Manalo, Harold Geronimo, vice president and head of public relations and media affairs of Megaworld, Lovelyn Segovia, Philippine Air Asia chief executive officer (CEO) Ricky Isla, Jonathan Lochbaum, vice president of Global Strategic Business Process Solutions, fashion designer Avel Bacudio, and Keren Pascual. (Photos courtesy of EP Studios via Miss Bacolod MassKara)