Cebuana model among early favorites gets Darling of the Press


ILENE Astrid de Vera is off to a promising start in national pageantry as she has been named one of the early favorites for this year’s Mutya ng Pilipinas.

The Cebuana model, crowned Miss UP Cebu in 2015, was chosen Darling of the Press during the press presentation of the 30 lovely candidates of Mutya ng Pilipinas held at Hotel 101 last July 20.

Renowned pageant blogger and writer Norman Tinio said Ilene’s spontaneity in answering questions as well as her charm won her the nod of the press and pageant bloggers present during the event for the 49th edition of the national beauty pageant.

“Ilene glows effortlessly. She projects like a pro despite claims of being quite nervous about her first foray into national pageantry. And it helps that she has a good height of 5’9” as well,” Tinio said in his blog.

He added that Ilene gives “significant credence to Cebu as the Queen City of the South.”

Meanwhile, Jannie Loudette Alipo-on of Navotas City and Colleen Chan of Iloilo City were named runners-up.


Valeriano “Chicoy” Tomol III of Models Association of Cebu (MAC) has nothing but compliments for Ilene, who has been modeling for his agency for more than six years

already. He considers Ilene one of MAC’s best girls and one of his more in-demand models.

“I have been prodding, coercing and encouraging Ilene to join national beauty pageants and now is just the perfect time for her,” said Chicoy in a phone interview with Cebu Daily News last night.

And though pageantry is a totally different ball game from runway modeling, he is confident that Ilene is ready, with the help of stylist and make-up artist Jonas Borces of Kagandahang Flores Cebu who has been training her.

“More to being a handler to my models, I am like a Kuya to them. And if anyone of my models wants to join beauty pageants, I expect them to excel in their field as they have been trained with professionalism … and to stay on top of their game,” he said.

For him, Ilene is well prepared for Mutya ng Pilipinas and he was pleased that she is one of the early favorites.

“Holistically, she is well prepared. She’s been exercising and dieting for the competition. More than the body, she is very spontaneous and articulate, and delivers her lines very well,” Chicoy said.

This is aside from the fact that the Cebuana model has been an avid supporter of MAC’s outreach programs, joining their various activities for children and the elderly.

“If she would bag one of the crowns it would really mean a lot for MAC, and of course for Cebu being the representative to Mutya ng Pilipinas. But just like every other girl who joins pageants, she just wants to do her best and enjoy, of course,” he said.

The pageant’s swimsuit competition will be held at Hannah’s Beach Resort in Pagudpud from July 21 to 23 while the Designers Competition that will showcase the works of young designers will be held on July 26 at Resorts World Manila. The Evening Gown Competition will be at Alta D’ Tagaytay from July 27 to 29.

The coronation night will be held at the Newport Performing Arts Center, Resorts World Manila on August 4.

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