Pageantry, as it brings the bevy of beauty queens to national and global prominence, has been so powerful in fulfilling many dreams while serving as a platform to bring awareness to people. These beauty queens serve as an inspiration to many, attributing their accomplishments to their mentors and other people behind their success. In the November 28 episode of Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan, we feature their stories revealing how they enriched and inspired each other with their kindness and selflessness.
Elyrah Koleene Miranda, an aspiring beauty queen, proves that being beautiful goes way beyond just being confident, because owning one’s beauty also means accepting one’s imperfections. Koleene has a split foot deformity, a rare limb malformation disorder which she had ever since she was born. Because of her situation, she experienced being bullied in school. Koleene’s mother, Kristine Miranda, became overprotective of her. For instance, when Koleene was younger, Kristine would always accompany her when she goes out. But when she knew Koleene became confident despite her disorder, she said she is now less worried about her child. Koleene would then represent her school in beauty pageants, although her condition made it difficult for her to wear the right shoes. Thankfully, a respected shoe designer, Jojo Bragais, helped Koleene and gave her free customized shoes that exactly fit her. Koleene’s mom was very happy and couldn’t believe that there are really genuinely kindhearted people like Jojo who wouldn’t think twice in extending their help to other people. And because of that, Koleene became more confident and comfortable when she joined the pageant and placed 4th runner up. For giving her the inspiration and opportunity to be more confident, Koleene gave Jojo a balisong which symbolizes bravery, and Barako coffee which can remind him of that inspiration she gave him in making those customized shoes.
Jojo has become undeniably successful in his career but behind all his triumphs were saddening experiences in life. When his parents separated, he went with his mom, and he wasn’t supported by his dad during his college years. That’s why he was forced to provide for his education by hosting gigs and joining pageants. He became close to the family of his girlfriend but things didn’t turn out so well in their relationship and they broke up after graduating. He felt depressed and unmotivated because Jojo felt like he was going to start from scratch again. Time helped him heal from his heartbreak, and eventually, he found love again with another girl whom he thought he would marry. However, that dream vanished when he knew that she was cheating on him. Jojo found it hard to accept and he became depressed once again. That’s why his mother decided to let him stay with their relatives in Rizal. That’s where he got to visit an old shoe factory. He became curious and interested in the shoe products of the factory. He talked to the owners of the factory and was asked if he wanted to buy. He said yes and that’s when Jojo started his show business. It was a rough start for him as he encountered problems and challenges, but that didn’t stop him from pushing through with his business. Until he got a big break when his friend, Yvethe Santiago, used his shoes in joining Binibining Pilipinas. And because of her, Jojo met and knew Gerry Diaz, a beauty queen mentor who gave him opportunity to be an official shoe sponsor of Binibining Pilipinas. To thank Gerry for giving him the greatest opportunity, Jojo gave him a royalty card which gives him the privilege to get any Bragais product.
Gerry came from a middle class family. His late father was a successful businessman. Although his father provided everything for the family, Gerry shared that his dad wasn’t really the type who’s very affectionate. He was even distant from him. Gerry thought he was so focused and invested in their business. However, when Gerry reached college, his dad suffered from hypertension. That’s also when their business went bankrupt. He was forced to take accountancy even though he really wanted to pursue an arts course. But Gerry still did well in his studies, graduating magna cum laude in college. Even with his achievements in school, Gerry would face a difficult chapter in his life with the demise of his father, who has been extremely proud of him.
As Gerry recovered from his latest personal setback, he became the youngest manager in a leading bank, while raising a beautiful family with his partner and son. Aside from being successful in career and family, he also found joy in watching beauty pageants. That was what led him and his beauty camp to train future beauty queens. Miss Universe Philippines 2020 Rabiya Mateo, who was once handled by Gerry, attests to how helpful he has been in molding her into becoming the woman that she is now. Rabiya shared that he was the one who taught her how to stay grounded at all times. And one of the people Gerry is most thankful for is Boyet Blas, who introduced him to the world of beauty pageants. Managing the pageant website, Boyet asked Gerry if he wanted to help contribute articles. Gerry said yes and that’s when they started building their friendship. To thank Boyet and to give him appreciation, Gerry gave him an acrylic display which is very sentimental to him.
Boyet is the general manager of LEA Investments Corporation, and he used to be in the world of showbiz and film production. Even though he was exposed to the field of entertainment, he admitted that he was introvert. But he became more confident when he became an exchange student. He got the chance to study in the US, where an American family cared for him. He admitted that he experienced racism in the country because he was being judged for how he looked and not for how he really is. He then went back to the Philippines to finish his studies but he had a complication with his nose, and this made him undergo surgery. And it was followed by more surgeries that enhanced his physical appearance.
As he gained confidence after his grueling journey overseas, Boyet would help beauty queens achieve that same self-assurance that brought them to the limelight, leading him to take many responsibilities in promoting pageants, such as managing websites. This became the opportunity for him to help Gerry in also following the same path in developing beauty queens. This allowed Gerry to open the doors for Jojo in sharing and presenting his artistry in shoe design that impressed Binibining Pilipinas, which made him its official shoe sponsor. And that kind of fulfillment Jojo passed on to the aspiring beauty queen Koleene with his generous act of providing customized shoes in a pageant made her gain the confidence and self-respect she needed despite her physical deformities.
This exchange of goodwill and generosity among people is what Paano Kita Mapasasalamatan features every Saturday, 6:15pm, aired on the Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, and A2Z Channel 11.