Miss Mandaue 2015 Ena Velasco discovers the perfect mix of science and beauty
By Fiona Patricia S. Escandor
FOR nearly two months leading to the Miss Mandaue pageant, 22-year-old Ena Velasco’s days were long and grueling — med school in the morning, show rehearsals in the evening, and back to her schoolbooks, or on the ramp again with her trainer Jonas Borces to practice for the big night.
“He trained me in walking and public speaking,” she recalls. “He made me do the duck walk — the ever famous duck walk.”
Yet, it was more than that sheer dedication to her practice that had her emerge from that chapter of her life, victorious. The third year med student, who hails from Bacolod, exuded natural beauty that had her stand out on stage, and in the final Q&A, displayed smarts and spontaneity when she was asked what philosophy she holds dearest in life. The night ended with the Miss Mandaue 2015 crown hers for the taking.
Recalling the moment her name was called, she says, “It felt like I was being drowned in the voices of the crowd. Everyone started congratulating. I was teary-eyed and shocked. It was the feeling that all my hard work, effort and the time I allotted for it, paid off.”
This is only Ena’s third title yet. The first one was as MassKara Queen 2012 in her hometown, followed with Miss Southwestern 2014 when she represented her college. She described herself a “late bloomer,” and that growing up she never pictured herself going glam and up on stage.
“The funny thing is, pageants were never my thing, even modeling,” she said. “I’m just a simple type of girl. I get contented with just t-shirts and shorts.”
Ena said it was the prodding from those around her — and admittedly, the appetite for a new undertaking — that had her walk up to the MassKara Queen screening all those years ago. And perseverance, even with co-candidates who she said she felt were better than her, made her stay. “When I won, it was surreal,” Ena said.
The experience led the 5’9” stunner to modeling. Ena has worked the runways and starred in a couple of print ads, both in Bacolod and Cebu, although, recently she said she has been focusing more on her studies.
More importantly, her first tryst with pageantry also made her appreciate the true beauty of the cause. She said, “Joining pageants is fun. You get to meet other people, and you are given the power of influence. People look up to you and you should set a good example.”
The beauty of advocacy
Ena has also made pageants an avenue for her advocacy of helping others. In Bacolod, she helped an organization that did Bible study sessions for kids on weekends, and now as reigning Miss Mandaue, she has proposed a similar program, as well as nutrition awareness and feeding programs. As a med student, she said that one of her advocacies is to promote health, and recently she was invited by the city to help out in a medical mission — deeming it an enriching experience. “I was able to get in touch with people, see the situation they’re in and I was able to help them,” she said. A former volleyball varsity player, Ena and some pageant finalists will also be participating in a benefit exhibition game against the Mandaue City Mayor’s Cup champions soon.
Ena pursued her undergraduate studies in biology at the University of Saint La Salle in Bacolod and moved to Cebu three years ago when she continued her medical studies. An aspiring physician, she said that that has always been her dream growing up, and when she was a kid she even had those doctor’s kit play sets. “Growing up that was my mindset. I really have the passion and the drive (for it),” she shared, also noting that although she is keeping her doors open to the possibility of joining nationwide pageants, for now, her focus is realizing her childhood dream and getting that coveted degree.
Ena is the 46th titleholder of one of Cebu’s longest-running beauty pageants. She also won the special awards for the fun wear, runway and evening gown competitions. The beauty queen believes that her spontaneity and genuineness were what impressed the judges and the crowd that night, in how she responded in the preliminary judging and to the Q&A. “The judges want to see who you really are and that’s what I presented to them, who I really was,” Ena said. “Plus my performance on stage — I gave it my best.”
Photos: Butch Toong
Designer: Bernardo Flores
Hair & Make-up Artist: Janice the Beauty Fairy
Stylist: Blaq Mafia
Coordinator: Sven Chua of Origin Model Management