Miss Universe Philippines pageant celebrates mom contestants
MANILA, Philippines — Taking its cue from the Miss Universe Organization, the Miss Universe Philippines pageant opened its doors to mothers and married women to this year’s contest. Three made it to the final list of contestants in the competition that concluded a day before Mother’s Day.
Eileen Gonzales from Quezon City, Joemay Leo from Benguet, and Clare Dacanay from Parañaque City made “herstory” as the first mothers to take part in the national pageant, blazing the trail for more inclusivity in Philippine pageantry.
Gonzales was even chosen as one of the five ladies vying for the special “Miss Hello Glow” award in an earlier activity held with a pageant sponsor, while Dacanay advanced to the semifinal round of the final competition held at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on May 13.
Pageant veteran Gonzales saw action on stage as both a single woman and a mother. She joined the Miss Global Philippines pageant twice, first before she had her child. On her second attempt which happened after she had given birth, she bagged the crown and went on to represent the Philippines in the international Miss Global contest.
The athletic Dacanay is a single mother who used to be a professional softball player. She loves boxing and cooking, and is currently pursuing interior design.
In an interview with Empire Philippines, a creative agency, Dacanay shared that her daughter inspired her to take up space in the world of pageantry when the Miss Universe Philippines organization made a call for mothers like her to join the competition. “It’s really fulfilling. I want to teach my daughter, you have to be proud of yourself for yourself,” Dacanay said.
She added that there still are people who do not approve of mothers like her pursuing their passions and working on personal goals. “We’re actually being someone we want to be, and that’s what makes them (detractors) irritated. We’re not following the social norm, we’re going beyond the norm,” she explained.
Dacanay even sported a short bob on stage, where most women had long flowy locks. In the swimsuit round with the Top 18 delegates, she donned a midriff-baring two-piece swimwear that showcased her toned physique. For the gown portion, she glided in a cotton candy-hued pink number with exaggerated ruching on the back.
She may not have captured the crown, but Dacanay’s achievement in the pageant earned praises from spectators, and may have even inspired more mothers like her to embark on their own journeys to a beauty title, too.
The 2023 Miss Universe Philippines crown eventually went to Kapuso actress and pageant veteran Michelle Marquez Dee, daughter of 1979 Miss International Melanie Marquez, and winner of the 2019 Miss World Philippines title.
The national pageant also proclaimed two more titleholders in a separate event held at the Cove Manila pool club of Okada Manila in Parañaque City, early morning of May 14. Top 5 finishers Pauline Amelinckx and Krishnah Gravidez were crowned Miss Supranational Philippines and Miss Charm Philippines, respectively.
The directive from the Miss Universe Organization to accept applicants who have been married or have already given birth takes effect in the global tilt’s 2023 edition, allowing national partners to expand the qualifications in their respective national searches for their delegates to the upcoming international competition, which will be staged in El Salvador later this year. EDV