• CamSur beauty wins 1st ‘Miss Millennial Philippines’


    21-year-old Julia Gonowon

    JULIA Gonowon from Camarines Sur bagged the first “Miss Millennial Philippines” crown. The 21-year-old fourth year Psychology student bested 37 other entrants from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao to win the very first outing of this unique beauty pageant that incorporates the candidates’ social media skills for a cause.

    “I feel so blessed and very honored to win the first title. This win comes as a surprise and it’s definitely a labor of passion and hard work. Also, I wouldn’t be able to win the competition without the love and support of my kababayan. The crown is really for them,” Gonowon said.

    For two months, the Miss Millennial entrants spearheaded the tourism campaign of their respective provinces in a beauty pageant that is first of its kind in local television. They were asked to come up with creative materials to promote the beauty and charm of their provinces.

    Gonowon said her journey to the crown was not easy, as she had to juggle her studies and the competition while being the breadwinner of her family. In fact, fulfilling the weekly tasks had become a challenge for her as she was studying in Manila while often going back and forth to Camarines Sur to work on her materials.

    “I went through a lot during the competition. Since July I had to work non-stop on our weekly challenges. I also had a hard time adjusting to the format as it’s not the typical pageant, which I’m used to. I had to forego the heels and dresses and go back to the basic. But nothing worth having comes easy and it all paid off.”

    Gonowon, who has joined numerous local pageants, also said that she owes much of what she and her family have now to contests like “Miss Millennial Philippines.” She is able to support her education and family with her winnings.

    “Pageants have given me a better life. I had to stop school because my parents didn’t have the money to support my education. I want to finish my degree so I had to think of ways to support that. At first I was hesitant to join beauty competitions, as I’m not used to wearing dresses and swimsuits. But I said there’s no harm in trying. I had to take that risk if I want to fulfill my dreams.”

    She is also grateful to noontime show “Eat, Bulaga,” which mounted the pageant as part of its anniversary activities this year, as it gave her and other millennials the opportunity to show the world what the youth can do today.

    (From left) Second runner-up Eleonora Laorenza, Miss Bayanihan Queen Dianne Lacayanga, Gonowon, First runner-up Carina Cariño and Third runner-up Shiara Joy Dizon

    “I’m thankful to the program because we were given the chance to show that millennials are not just into social media. We can channel our love for technology in so many good things. It’s also a good feeling that we were able to extend a helping hand in promoting our respective provinces.”

    Asked for her next move, Gonowon said she is keen to finish her studies and eventually compete in national beauty pageants. She said her ultimate dream is to win a local contest and eventually represent the country in an international competition.

    Gonowon is also open to joining show business as she is fond of hosting and acting. The young beauty said she wants to inspire more millennials to do good for their community.

    “I want to prove in my own way that the youth of today is not just tech savvy, but we also have dreams and aspirations. We can use social media to inspire more millennials like me.”

    Besides the crown, Gonowon also won a condominium unit from Bria Homes, a Mitsubishi Montero Sport and P500,000 in cash.

    She said part of her winnings will go to charity and that she will visit a remote baranggay in Camarines Sur to share her blessings.

    Comprising Gonowon’s winning court are Miss La Union Carina Carino (first runner-up), Miss Aklan Eleonara Velentina Laorenza (second runner-up), and Miss Malabon Shiara Joy Dizon (third runner-up).

    Meanwhile, Ilocos Norte beauty Dianne Irish Joy Lacayanga was hailed Miss Bayanihan Queen as she received the highest text and online votes. She won P100,000 and one million pesos for her province.

    “Thank you is not enough for all the support I received from the Ilocanos. It’s such an honor for me to represent my hometown and to share the beauty of Ilocos. I hope through the segment we were able to inspire the youth of today to act more and be an agent of change in the community,” Lacayanga ended.


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