Angeli Gomez: Miss Tourism crown helps me do more good
When Angeli Dione Gomez set foot in Malaysia last month to represent the Philippines in the 2013/2014 Miss Tourism International pageant, she was aware that many people didn’t think she would win.
“The other girls said I couldn’t, because [the Philippines] won last year,” the 5’6”-tall Cebuana told Inquirer Entertainment recently at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s Terminal 4, upon her arrival from Kuala Lumpur.
But Gomez bested 59 other aspirants in the Dec. 31 finals and scored a back-to-back victory for the Philippines, also making the country the most successful nation in the 17-year-old international pageant with three victories. Maria Esperanza Manzano was the first Filipino to bag the title in 2000.
“Everybody’s eyes were on me because I was the representative from the Philippines. So I had a game plan. I used Rizzini’s (Alexis Gomez) winning last year to my advantage, instead of it scaring me. I kept their eyes on me. Every day I tried to stand out. Even when I was sick for five days, I gave my all,” said the 20-year-old filmmaking major.
“I kept thinking ‘I’m a winner.’ That thought seemed to spread. Some girls started saying, ‘I think you’re gonna win.’ And it happened!” recalled Gomez, the fourth Filipino to bring home an international beauty title in 2013, following Miss Supranational Mutya Johanna Datul, Miss World Megan Young and Miss International Bea Santiago.
Gomez said the Miss Tourism International tilt was “the perfect pageant for us because we’re naturally friendly and welcoming.”
She elaborated: “When we get into anything, any industry, we have to understand what it’s all about. Filipinos are generally warm and welcoming. Tourism is our forte. I had fun inviting people to the Philippines. I love our country. I’m proud of our country.”
The Mutya ng Pilipinas Organization, which sent Gomez to the global tilt, had a different insight into the Philippines’ success in the Malaysia-based international pageant.
“We’ve been sending good public speakers, intelligent women—beautiful inside and out,” said Mutya ng Pilipinas president Jacqueline Tan, who assumed the post three years ago.
Tan also believed the organization scored a back-to-back victory for the Philippines because “Mutya ng Pilipinas is breeding winners, Filipino beauties who can compete internationally. Our training is markedly more intense [than ever]. We require the titleholders to train almost every day for at least six months.”
Drive to win
Tan said Gomez’s “passion and determination” made her win. “With that kind of drive, you’d really win,” said the official.
But for Gomez, “luck and God’s blessing” secured her victory.
She said she helped other candidates during the competition by reminding them, “We’re tourism ambassadors, we should help each other and make the world a better place.”
Gomez recalled: “I even got into a little bit of trouble because I lent a girl a sponsored dress. I wasn’t allowed to do that. But she needed a dress. There was another girl who did not know how to apply makeup, so I dolled her up.”
The Filipino beauty queen said she made fast friends with fellow candidates, who all vowed to help Haiyan (international name of Supertyphoon “Yolanda”) survivors.
“I’ll really going to try my best to bring them here. Malaysia really showed support for Haiyan survivors. People I met there said they were helping in their own way. When I visited the (Philippine) embassy, I saw many foundations helping, too,” she added.
Meanwhile, she was certain that her international title would “help extend my reach. The crown would help me do more than I could do before. ”
She is looking forward to a very busy year, hoping to make use of her filmmaking degree to produce a short video to support her campaign, in line with her new title.
She vowed to help provide housing and jobs to those affected by “Yolanda” and “help them get back on their feet.”
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