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I was wrong . . . only partially wrong though. I thought (and kept telling many people) that this Malabuyocanon girl named Raquel Ygona bore a grandiose resemblance to Miss Universe 2012 first runner-up, Janine Tugonon, and Ford Supermodel of the World 2011 winner, Danica Magpantay (both of the Philippines). Which is why I have been encouraging her to join pageants and enter the world of modelling, while she seems reluctant, hesitant, and uninterested to give it a try, feeling unbeautiful and unqualified. Aside from looking like Janine and Danica, it’s quite obvious that Raquel has the height, the figure, and the smarts. However, after I did her makeup for this photoshoot yesterday, two celebrity names knocked on my head: Lucy Liu and Vivienne Tan. Interesting! 

I never seem to have run out of encouraging words for Raquel—let alone inspiring stories or testimonies on beauty queens who have climbed the ladder of success and made noise on the busy pages of Global Beauties, Norman’s Blog, and Adventures of a Beauty Queen owing to their self-confidence, determination, and most especially, their faith in the words of those people believing in their potentialities. I always tell her not to rest on her laurels or put her potential to waste, even if to become a beauty queen seems far from being her dream as yet.

Raquel has both worked and lived in my cousin Alma Allera Pimentel’s house since she was a high school junior, and because she, still, is an Education scholar at Cebu Technological University (Malabuyoc campus), I have no plans of disturbing her studies until she graduates in March. I remember the first time she entered into Alma’s house: I was stunned by her beauty queen’s bone structure and supermodel-like frame. I told her right away: “Girl, others may refuse to find you beautiful because you’re not mestiza, well . . . let’s just forgive them for their narrow-mindedness.”

And so I keep telling her that such beauty may not convince a municipal pageant’s panel of judges, yet I know that her facial features are cut out for the national-international level. I don’t know . . . but I guess it’s because of my trained eye for beauty—fueled by an incurable obsession with beauty queens as well as no-nonsense knowledge of beauty pageants—that I can very well tell when someone is really fit for a crown or just meant to be a boring pretty lady.


Makeup/Hair/Photography: Ariel Allera

Gown: Juanita Alsola-Ferguson of New York

Assistants: Jersey Anne Allera Salazar & Missy Allera Padillo
Locale: Mr. James Pimentel and Mrs. Alma Pimentel’s residence, Malabuyoc, Cebu