Mindanao Gold Star Daily and its lifestyle section the “UrbanLife”, a lifestyle section that remains true to its origin as the only independent lifestyle section in Northern Mindanao, honouring past and previous beauty queens of Cagayan de Oro for the past years since its conception in 2013.
With that in mind I have had the privilege to talk and get to know each reigning Miss Cagayan de Oro for the past five years, and understand how and what they have worked for over their reign as this city’s Queen. Some have affected changed, and even some transcended and competed in the national level – Meanwhile others in God’s graces are contented and continued their advocacies in any ways they could.
In today’s issue we have a very unlikely queen that gained the masses vote, trust and against all odds, dominated its competitors in the last Miss Cagayan de Oro pageant – a “Dark Horse” of the past pageant if you may say, a complete underdog that did not even reach the top 12, but still won it all, and has become an inspiration for future hopefuls. Because of her wits, courage and an undying belief that she could be more. She became one of this city’s most memorable Miss Cagayan de Oro Queen to date.
She won simply because she believed in herself, trusted, thought positive, and offered every moment and experience she had to God – and to the one who was no longer with her, yet gave her the strength and persiverance . As a witness during last year’s Miss CDO, me and other colleagues witnessed a woman, who is fearless, determined and true. Regardless of what others may have thought, their bets of the ideal Miss CDO – Miss Suico managed to changed hearts and minds of the crowd and the judges.
What made the coronation night special was how Mary Chris Suico showed Kagay-anons it’s okay to be flawed.
Mary Chris Suico who represented Barangay Macasandig, bested twelve other hopefuls in last year’s most awaited event highlight of Higalaay Festival 2018. Suico a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, majoring in marketing, and daughter of Renato and Annabelle Suico – enjoys hosting, theatre acting, cooking and watching movies among others.
She is currently Mags boutique’s National Operations Head and describes herself after the pageant as a Goal Oriented individual, able to see what is more important to her for her future as well as to her love ones; Happier, as she explains that until now she could not come around the thought, that she is now one of a long-line of beauty queens of this city; Blessed, as she appreciates what she has accomplished before, during and after Miss Cagayan de Oro.
An hour with her seemed short, as she explains who she is as an individual. A person, underneath all the glitz and glamour that comes with the title of Miss Cagayan de Oro – “I haven’t changed” she said.
“I don’t, think nay nag bag-o sakoa, other than the title. During Miss CDO, hadlok man mo compete, especially when you’re up against other ladies that are well capable and worthy sad matawag as Miss CDO. But I am still who I was before the pageant – ako gyapon si kring-kring na naila sa mga tao, ” she said.
What changes did she notice after being crowned as Miss CDO? Her take-away was she is more confident than before.
“After being named as Miss CDO wala may pag bag-o, who I am, kong naa may pag-bago, siguro tungod lang nahimo kog Miss CDO. Wala man ko nag expect na ako mo daog last year, pero I just enjoyed the experience. Siguro, ang change akong nabantayan is I am more confident now than before,” She said.
But what made her join Miss CDO in the first place? Suico explains that she has been a fan of the pageant, and has been inspired by women that competed as well, and hoped someday could be recognized as one.
“Since I was a little girl I was always an audience [Miss CDO]. Fan nagyud ko sa Miss CDO sa panahon pa ni Amadia Piatti. There was always something in me na ga drive bitaw, na mo join. Not many might not know, I imagined myself one day na mo tindug sa Limketkai Atrium as a candidate man lang, let alone as Miss CDO,” She said.
Suico shared that she has always wanted to join pageants; she joined a few during her high school and college days. But it was when she graduated that she had the courage to try out for Miss CDO, and try her luck.
“As I graduated college, I joined with the encouragement sa akong mga friends. But behind that I believe it’s every woman’s dream to become a Miss Universe, I wanted to become one myself or a beauty queen in general,” she said.
Adding that she was encouraged and motivated to join last year’s pageant by his friend and mentor Joshua Yu. She and Yu shared it was a struggle. They recalled that during the pageant it wasn’t easy. They had to compromised on a number of things, luckily, lady luck was on their side, and even when all and everything was against them – they persevered.
“Lisud kayo gyud amo gi again ni Joshua, there were times bitaw wala mi space to do my makeup, naa-pud times tungod sakoa ka rattle maka limot ko ani, ana, ug unsa paba na kay tungod sa ka nerbyos,” recalling during the coronation night “I forgot to strap my heels.” She shared.
When pressed what her edge was during the entire competition she smile and said “Kabalo ko kong asa ko kusgan, and ako na gi gamit during sa pageant. That is being talkative, friendly and I guess nakita sa judges na I was being myself, I gained my confident through that. ”
In each ordeal that she endured, she remained positive. Before and after the competition she always stayed optimistic in every pocket events that they had to compete in, and more after she won.
“There were so many challenges and fears during my reign. First of all, dili man ko part sa Top 12, I was the 13, although it was already an honour to be part of the Top 15, pero at the end of the day, 12 ray kwaon. That was maybe the hardest moment – knowing you came so close pero, di gyapon ka kasulod,” she recalls.
She was declared as a candidate a little bit late in the competition and felt left out. But regardless of that hurdle, she took it all in the problems, issues and everything else during the entire pageant and used that to her advantage.
Is Suico the “Dark Horse” of Miss CDO 2018? “Actually a lot of people asked me about that. Why would they think of me as the dark horse? I questioned myself, and as I look back at my experiences. I believed that I was really the dark horse because I never gained any awards during the pageant night. But it’s not really a big deal if you are. Dark Horse or not, it’s more on how you’re able to represent yourself genuinely,” she said.
Her most fond memory during the entire Miss CDO 2018 was during the sponsors visit, this was where she could expressed herself and get to know other candidates without trying so hard to please anyone. “I had a great time, kami tanan nalingaw gyud ani nga panahon, marag wala mi sa competition, naka bonding ko with other candidates,” she said.
One memorable moment of Mary Chris’ was during the question & answer portion that made a mark in all of us who witnessed – a queen in the making. It was a bit mind boggling at first but we caught up.
Even though not being crowned yet, during her final Q&A, she offered it to her “Lola” in confidence she said – she was happy that her grandmother could witness her wear the crown. At that moment with doubt in our faces, we realized that her “Lola” was only there in spirit.
In tears she recalled “When I was crowned Miss Cagayan de Oro I never set any expectations after the pageant, but at that very moment when I was declared as the winner, wala ko naka rehearse kong unsa ako reaction, because I was enjoying the moment. In my mind whatever happens tonight, I was already contented with it, then I was crowned as the winner, I was super happy naka ingon gyud ko si lola gyud hinongdan ani tanan.”
“I offer my achievement to my family, and to the important person that I opened up with to all the Kagay-anons that night; to my lola, during the casual interview I felt the painting was meant for me, seconds before. Nako sa stage sige kong ingon sakoa self lola help me with this, help me…”
She further recalled memories with her grandmother that she was very supportive of her growing up and joining pageants and has always wished to see her wear a crown. Suico added that during the coronation night when presented with a painting of an old woman, all she could see was her lola.
“Wala koy lain ma-share sa mga tao ato na moment, instead I shared what I felt, I have a lola who passed away and I shared with everyone what my lola was to me, and who she was as a person and a grandmother, and I hope I didn’t scare the audience that night,” she recalls.
For her parting words she has always looked up and asked her grandmother for guidance and strength every time she walked up on the stage during the entire Miss CDO 2019 to her “Maka wala ug kaba man-gud, mura kog gahatagan ug confidence ug pag salig sakoang self.”
CDO, I never expected how it would change my life, I will always treat Miss
Cagayan de Oro, regardless if I took home the crown or not. I met a lot of people
and got more connected for this city. I would no longer be known as a normal
person. But as one of Miss CDO, and it really is something to be proud of,” she
Suico shared an advice that may help other candidates in this year’s pageant; be yourself, and enjoy the moment –regardless of what others may say.
To her supporters, she could not find the words to express how thankful she is, for being there during the most life changing moment of her life, but shared that hopefully they all know that she is very thankful for their support from day one.
To her successor and to the candidates, she hopes that you would enjoy every moment that you are part of Miss Cagayan de Oro, because this is only a once in a lifetime experience.
“Just enjoy the moment, be yourself, and always remember regardless of what others may say, always remember that it’s not them who would be up on that stage representing you, but you, yourself,” she concluded.