“in time passing, stronger than light, gentler than rain”
by Roberto Klemente R. Timonera, Maya Angelique B. Jajalla, Danica Grace Gumahad
Sixty six ladies who embodied the ideals of a Silliman woman have worn the glorious red-and-gold crown in the past years through Asia’s oldest pageant. The theme for this year is “In time passing: stronger than light, gentler than rain,” taken from a poem by Elsa Martinez Coscolluela, Palanca Awards Hall of Famer and Miss Silliman of 1964. Who among these ladies will be the 67th Miss Silliman?
Representing the College of Medicine is Stephanie Dawn V. Barluado, currently in her third year of medical study. This elegant young woman has been painting since she was five, having an eye for flowers, forests, and oceans. She lobbies against violence towards women. “I’ve been to the community,” she says, “I’ve encountered women who are abused, taken advantage of.” She takes this year’s Miss Silliman theme as an affirmation of how, through the years, women have kept an important place in society. When not busy painting or studying, she enjoys playing basketball with her friends. She sings a fine soprano.
A certified pageant-goer, Greenette Gael M. Tuazon, represents the College of Mass Communication. Of all the beauty competitions that she joined, she believes that Miss Silliman is unique in a way that it doesn’t only show the beauty and brains of a woman but it enables them to do worthwhile activities through their advocacies. She says, “You can do more with the crown.” With the theme this year, she is certain that through the “evolution of a woman’s life—with the challenges [she faced]—she became tough.”
She describes herself as a normal teenager who values her family more than anything else. Living her life as simple as possible, Hana Isobel C. Ferrer, from the College of Nursing, believes that the integral part of the society is the mothers who should be given much attention during their pregnancy. As a nursing student, she advocates that there should be health teachings “for mothers to learn to take care of themselves and their children.” She is a woman with inner struggle but still moving and fighting with grace and poise for whatever challenges that may come her way. She says, “We are strong, but we can be gentle as well.”
Driven by her compassionate heart, Laura L. Coosemans from the Institute of Clinical Laboratory Sciences is a lady who values the welfare of others rather than herself. As a Medical Technology student, she will promote Public Health if ever crowned to be this year’s queen. This will “give opportunities for the less fortunate a chance to have medical services.” So far, her journey towards the crown is “challenging but very memorable.” She will continue to be a role model to others and be able to inspire them by being a true Sillimanian.
College of Education representative Natalie Dale A. Portugaleza, Nadelle to her friends, embodies grace in all its forms. A third year BSEd-MAPEH major, she was part of the Silliman University Kahayag Dance Company for most of her college life. To her, dance “is not just an abstraction or a translation of life—it is life itself.” As such, she dreams of spreading the wonders of Philippine arts and culture, especially to the less privileged members of the community. Of this year’s Miss Silliman theme, she says experience, hardships, and trials make a woman stronger. She is, in her words, a person who lives strong by her beliefs, grounded on character, competence, and faith.
From the Tuna Capital of the Philippines (General Santos City), Ivy Cabading, from the College of Performing and Visual Arts, is ready to offer herself to the benefit of others. She says, “We are educated by Silliman University not just for ourselves but also to share to other people.” She was not a risk taker but on her 19th birthday, she promised to herself that she will grab opportunities coming her way. One of which is being part of this year’s Miss Silliman. She wants to compete not with the candidates but to herself—to who she was yesterday—and try to become a better person. The challenge for her now is “keeping the heart” and believing that God is enough to conquer all.
Hailing from the College of Business Administration, Lalaine K. Iligan is no stranger to matters of beauty and wit—she did modeling jobs in her late teens (even participating in the Make Me a Supermodel contest in 2010) and has been part of Silliman’s chess varsity team since third year high school. She advocates the promotion of sports in campus as she believes change starts from within, and that if she could help discipline people, they can help make a change in society. Regarding this year’s Miss Silliman theme, she says women have put themselves on equal footing with men yet have not lost their feminine warmth. She is currently a third year economics student.
The group’s chinita mestiza, Stephanie Jane C. Abila, is the Institute of Rehabilitative Science’s bet for the red-and-gold crown. This 19 year-old lass was an exchange student to Finland last 2011-2012 through the AFS Intercultural Program. Because of her exposure to other kinds of cultures, Stephanie was able to develop her passion for travelling. In fact, her advocacy for this year’s pageant is to encourage today’s youth to travel. “I want people to know that there’s a world out there waiting to be explored,” she said. However, Stephanie still emphasizes patriotism. With her bubbly and spontaneous personality, will Stephanie come home with a crown?
They say that chocolates are a girl’s best friend. But Krizza Mae Batulan from the School of Public Affairs and Governance is an exception. This 18 year-old junior is also a self-confessed foodie. If she were to recommend a food to the tourists here in Dumaguete, she would tell them to eat pork barbeque. However, Krizza turns extra serious when talking about her advocacy. “I want to spearhead the Key Project. It’s an initiative wherein we go to different elementary schools, spend time with children, give them snacks, teach them, play with them,” Krizza said. Her first target area would be Barangay Looc in Dumaguete. “Some children there are working when they’re still supposed to be learning. I want to help them,” she added. Krizza indeed is a living proof that a good cause is a Silliman woman’s best friend.
Part Filipina and part Turkish, Maria Fatima Saudia D. Alsowyed is a second year AB Literature major representing the College of Arts and Sciences. She was crowned Miss Bais in 2011. She enjoys the pageant experience because it allows her to be a positive influence: “You get the chance to make a change,” she says, “using your beauty to create something.” She aims to bring Silliman education to the poor. In fact, she has already started a collaboration with some departments (such as the DSWD, the DepED, and the SU English Department) to help enforce her advocacy. A devout Christian, she enjoys reading the Bible and lives by the motto “Lift all the glory to God.”
After two years of being in a pageant hiatus, the College of Law finally sent a representative for this year’s Miss Silliman pageant. May Rachel J. Uy or “Mimi” joined Miss Silliman later than the other contestants, which caused an internal stir in the pageant committee. However, despite the issues involving her, Mimi chooses to focus more on her strengths. Her advocacy revolves around education and career assessment among youth. “I don’t want today’s children to reach college regretting their courses. I want them to know what they want… it only takes one person to listen to them,” she said. Mimi has been described by friends as an excellent speaker. Mimi was the host of Miss Silliman 2010 and 2012. Let’s watch out for her as she returns to the pageant stage. This time, as one of the bets for the coveted title.