Her millennial voice


WHEN “Eat Bulaga” host and newscaster Luane Dy announced that among the 38 contestants vying for the title of Miss Millennial Philippines, one 17-year-old caught her attention as she came unperturbed with no makeup on, viewers took notice of the teenage beauty queen from Lapu-Lapu City.“I was the only contestant  without  makeup.

Actually, lazy lang gyud ko adto nga day to wear makeup,” Sarah Elizabeth Madrigal declares, still blushing in natural youthful candor when reminded of the compliment she received  from the host. Disarming and somehowa walking contradiction, the Grade 11 student is both soft spoken and regal in demeanor, her voice alone warranting an inquest of her pedigree.

As a young adult with a promising academic background, she has won coveted titles and gained experience from pageants such as Little Miss Philippines and Miss Teen Earth. Her latest, of course, is making it to the Top 10 of Miss Millennial Philippines, the  38th anniversary offering of “Eat Bulaga!” to its viewers.

She does recognize that she is lucky. She also has the full support and the quiet presence of her mom.And while she is still on the path of discovering things, she is certain of the person she wants to become.“I am torn between business management, architecture or medicine.

I really don’t know yet though I do remember when I was still a kid, I would feel pity on those who are living in the streets. I would tell my mom na someday I will take care of them,” Sarah shares.Amidst the pressures and challenges most teenage girls deal with every day— she has gotten by mostly by living in the moment, letting her faith take her where she’s meant to be, then facing it head on. On being grateful in the midst of uncertainty, fate aligning itself, there are perks in being a wallflower.

She is Sarah Elizabeth Madrigal. (NRG) There were 38 candidates who competed for the Miss Millennial Philippines crown. What do you think made the judges pick you as one of the Top 10? It has got to be my fighting spirit. Though I am the silent, shy-type,  when I talk, I always make sure that I make sense. I may not be the jolly type of person, and admittedly I felt a bit insecure with most of the contestants, I mustered that ounce of courage just to work my way in. I fought since it was a competition. I worked very hard.  All in all, I just did my best.

How have you been since the pageant?

I am fine. I am a little tired but I am good. It was fun and challenging at the same time because I was the youngest and lisud siya with all the 38 contestants, then some are older pa nako. There are those who are quite experienced and maka-feel sab ko og slight insecurity kay bata pa baya ko pero, I took this  as a challenge.

Do you think it was to your advantage that you were the youngest?

I consider it as  an advantage because they were looking for a fresh millennial,  more of an ambassador for the youth. I am not that  perfect pero I was suited for the crown because they found something in me—that I have what it takes to be Miss Millennial.

How did you get into the pageant?

I was a runner-up of a local pageant, Miss Lapu-Lapu. When the organizers of Miss Millennial Philippines were looking for a representative for Cebu, unfortunately they couldn’t find anyone . So they turned to Lapu-Lapu and ako ang gipa-represent ni Sir Hembler (Mendoza, Lapu-Lapu City chief tourism officer) because our reigning queen was going to represent Binibining Cebu. They thought I was well-suited for the pageant  since I am younger than the reigning queen.

Which part of the coronation day was most fun for you?

Definitely not the question and answer because I was quite disappointed with my answer. Feel nako I did not give my all. The questions for the other contestants… sayon ra man ilaha like: What do you want to post on your social media right at this very moment? And the question given to me was: If gadgets were not invented and there were no photos and videos, how would you describe your city? So, na shock ko sa akoa. I was not expecting it because I thought nga simple lang, light and conversational lang. I just froze and I paused. Good thing nigana akoang critical thinking adto. Maayo gani nakatubag ko adto. I just capitalized more on music and the arts in showcasing Lapu-Lapu.

What were your fellow candidates like?

My fellow contestants are very friendly, especially Miss Antique, Davao and Masbate. We are like more than sisters and nakita nako ngadto how important it is to build relationships. Though nagka-close na mi, importante sab that we did not miss out on the goal that we are joining a competition — that we are doing our very best and we aim for that title or the crown.

What were your expectations?

What did you feel when your name was called as part of the top 10? Initially, I was expecting 50 percent that I would make it and 50 percent the other way around. The basis for the top 10 was the pre-pageant, and I’d like to believe that I did my best during that time as I was able to answer all of the questions and I was satisfied with my answers. So there was that part of me nga naka-feel nga madala gyud akoang name. Eventually nahimo siyang 75 percent that they will call my name.

How did you prepare for the competition?

I just educated myself by learning more about my city. I mean, every local is a tourist baya gihapon sa iyang city because not all would know. I know of other contestants nga they would go to the gym or go on a diet but it was not a typical pageant man gud nga there would be height or weight requirements, or that you have to wear high heels. They were just looking for an ambassadress who can talk and speak for the youth. I just focused on my mental capabilities that I would be able to answer all of the questions and not much into my physical.

How did you deal with the pressure?

Wala man ko na-pressure kay I was just having fun. I mean it’s part of the experience na if I will win, then that would be nice, and if not, still okay. Chill lang gyud kaayo ko because it was instilled in us na we were all winners as we were queens na baya from our city or town. And even though I may not make it, I do know that na-recognize ang Lapu-Lapu City. So it was not all about the crown. The main goal was to promote my city.

Did you always want to do this — joining pageants and all?

It was not a plan nga I would join beauty pageants. Na-inspire lang ko because like most Filipinos it is our favorite pastime to wait and look forward for the next major beauty pageant and mo-watch gyud mi. I was just encouraged and so I joined, and seeing my mom looking very happy as I walked on stage, na-inspired lang gyud ko.

Who are your role models?

Siguro, mom ra gyud nako. Anad ra man sab ko nga gamay ra gyud ang tawo around me. Now with the things going on around these are all new to me and wala kayo ko naanad og daghang people. Karon ra gyud ni that I get to talk to people, and I have to talk. Silent ra gyud ko nga pagkatawo and I am always with my mom or my family.

What’s your relationship with your mom like?

She’s not strict, she’s also not that luag. She’s the type nga she would make sure nga I am having fun with my life and that I know of my limitations.

Are you also part of a clique in school, like most teenagers?

I have friends and these are just like small number of friends. I have this thing about reading people and I think I am good at it. It is not about judging pero naa man gyu’y aura ang tao and from there I can assess if this person can be a friend or not. I also do card-reading on the side pero I don’t like to take it seriously.

How are you as a student?

The nuns loved me. When I was in grade six in Saint Alphonsus (Catholic School), I was urged by the nuns to be like them, and I would do readings during Sunday Masses. I told my mom about it and it was daunting for her because usa na lang baya ko nga babaye and in a proper manner I would just say to the sisters that my mother is apprehensive of me becoming a nun. “Sorry, Sister, dili mosugot akoang Mama.” And they would understand ra sab. I would say nga this is a total transformation at least for me from the shy Catholic girl now doing pageants.

But did you entertain the idea of becoming a nun?

Na-encourage lang ko sa mga madre because since I was a kid, religious man gyud ko. I think I got it from my mother. And going to a Catholic school being surrounded by all the religiosity I was somehow encouraged by it, the whole spirituality.

What do you do in your spare time?

I love watching Disney Channel or just be with my dog. I have a Chow Chow. His name is Sam. He is one year old already. Also I always love writing. I used to have a blog pero I forgot about it because I was eleven pa back then. I tried blogging because that was kind of uso pa at that time, and now it’s vlogging. I am also into sports. I do volleyball and a little bit of swimming.

What do you write about?

Anything kay sukad pa pagkabata nako, if emotional ko dili nako siya isulti or i-istorya. I would keep things to myself or if not I would just write it down. And it is my mom nga makasakop nako with all my pent-up emotions nga writings kay masakpan man niya. Masakpan niya hidden in my bed or anywhere. Also I have been a campus journalist since the elementary. I love feature writing.

Whose writing style do you look upon to then?

Actually he is not a writer. He is the philosopher Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre. He inspires me. I live by his thoughts on freedom and responsibility from which all of us should and always be free, as well as for us to be responsible not only from what we do but also with our present circumstance.

Have you decided what course to take in college?

I am torn between Business Management, Architecture, or Medicine. I really don’t know yet though I do remember when I was still a kid, I would feel pity on those who are living sa streets. I would tell my mom na someday I will take care of them.

Are you open to entering showbiz? Why not?

Yes, I am very open to any opportunity that’s for me out there.

Are you always on social media?

Dili kaayo, like I only spend an average of four hours in a day with it. Though I am mostly on the internet to do research on a certain topic for my studies. Dili lang kayo ko malingaw with it, depende ra gyud na siguro sa tawo.

The word “millennial” has been given such bad rap these days. What’s your take on this?

Millennials are very curious man gyud.  We like to explore things to the point nga we don’t know what we are doing. The important thing there is we have learned our lesson. I mean we are not afraid to commit mistakes, there are things that are inevitable as long as we know where we stand. I don’t believe in failure, it’s either we succeed or we learn.

How do you deal with negative emotions or bouts of sadness?

When I was a kid if there is something that would bother or pain me, I will just keep things to myself or if not I will write about it. I was saturated and turns out I was sick of the cycle of bottling things so this time I try to at least be open about it or at least to let it out to people that I trust. I don’t want to keep it to myself na. This is me. I am now transparent to most people and it does help.

What  is the biggest challenge of being a millennial?

To understand old traditions, because naa man gyud ta’y mga pagtuo that we have to somehow apply and go with the times. It is very hard for us to understand and cope because we were not there during this period and lisud siya sabton kay dapat it should be people from that generation who should teach us. It is a bit challenging pero it’s just a matter of understanding. Actually, I am no longer a millennial; I am more part of the Generation X. Kay those who were born in the 90s sila ang millennial while kadtong sa 2000 that’s where I belong.

So, how do you describe a true millennial?

A millennial for me siguro is wala na siya nag base sa edad. It doesn’t mean nga if you’re 60 or 65 dili naka millennial. A millennial should be a commemorator of the past, a doer of the present and a promoter of the future. That to me is my definition of a millennial.

In Miss Millennial Philippines, you showcased the beauty of Lapu-Lapu City. If you were to bring a tourist to another part of Cebu province, where will you take him or her?

Siguro sa Bogo City. My father is from Bogo and wala pa kaayo na discover didto. Since as a kid I have always been traveling there and nakita nako that there’s some potential in the city. Their local government is diligent and there are these undiscovered places, contrary to the usual waterfalls and whalesharks nga makita nimo sa Facebook. I remember this scenic wharf which until now still looks majestic. Nice kaayo ang dagat. Their beaches there are not commercialized yet, most of them don’t even have cottages.

You have quite a following on social media. What’s your message to girls who look up to you?

I always say this to girls younger my age nga it would be good to tread your own path. Never idolize me because lain-lain man ta. Seriously, dili gyud ko mutuo og idolatry or fangirling. In this world of imitation, be the original. In this world full of wants, be the need. And in this world full of echoes, be the voice.

TAGS: anniversary, crown, her, medicine, Millennial, path, Philippine, Sarah, tell, Voice
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