I am on an ongoing journey, still learning a lot,” says Samantha Ashley Lo. “I have met many new people and recently had discussions with Aces and Queens to plan our future. I never thought it would come to this. It’s a good thing they are really nice.”
Here we get a sense of what the Binibining Cebu-Tourism title means to this 24-year-old beauty.
Like a masterclass in casual elegance, the 5’9” charmer waltzed in for this interview in a formal top and casual jeans. What a pretty sight.
A self-confessed travel bug who spends most of her time outdoors, the third year Nursing student aspires to be a mental health nurse.
“It’s not that easy because I’m still studying and I also have my responsibilities as a sister and daughter to my family. In everything I do, I always have to consider family. My handler Sven, after not making it to the Miss Mandaue, said that there’s this new pageant and why not give it a try. I guess I’m glad I did.”
In spite of public attention and the title, Sam remains grounded and a self-possessed individual. “I never lose hope,” she says.
Clearly, the world is hers for the taking.
As Binibining Cebu- Tourism, what is your role and function?
I am a girl who loves the great outdoors so the title seems tailor-made for me.
Actually my best friend and I have been going around and one Sunday we discovered that Asturias is such a magnificent place — the scenery all the way up to the mountains.
We have more of these beautiful places, so basically my role is to promote our lovely island and our good people.
What have you learned about yourself through the pageant?
I realized that I still have a lot to learn in life. And I must be mindful of my behavior, too.
You know I can be a bit grumpy sometimes.
How’s life after Binibining Cebu?
I am on an ongoing journey, still learning a lot. I have met many new people and recently had discussions with Aces and Queens to plan our future. I never thought it would come to this. It’s a good thing, they are really nice.
How was your meeting with Aces and Queens?
It turned out very well.
What I really like about them is that they listen.
They have a nutritionist as well as their own stylist.
Like the challenge given to me pertains to my diet now.
If they say you need to lose weight, they would say it to you upfront.
Of course, they guide you, tell you what need to do and what not to do.
They have everything all figured out in the most functional way.
Is there anything about the pageant that you regret?
I have to stop fidgeting, stop moving my head. Like, Jesus, Samantha! I think that’s my only regret. I need more training and practice to carry myself.
How do you intend to promote Cebu?
Even if I came from America and I’m only in my early 20s, I know what young adults like me desire.
One of these is traveling. And here in Cebu we can experience many unforgettable moments — like sleeping at the beach and looking at the stars.
That’s how I would promote Cebu — as a natural, very relaxed and welcoming place.
What’s your most memorable instant during the pageant?
Everything happened too fast. I was just enjoying every minute along with the other girls.
We were happy even if we were getting tired and had a very hectic schedule.
Do you believe what people say about the world of beauty pageants being ruthless, a cutthroat competition and all? Are you up for it?
I had just finished Miss Mandaue and it was a bit of a downer because I thought I’d get somewhere; unfortunately, I didn’t make it.
Still, I’m very happy for those who made it. They are really great girls and I saw how hard they worked for their titles.
My takeaway is that one just has to go through the phase.
It may take a while but just focus on what’s good.
For me, it’s not that easy because I’m still studying and I also have my responsibilities as a sister and daughter to my family.
In everything I do, I always have to consider family.
My handler Sven (Chua), after not making it to the Miss Mandaue, said that there’s this new pageant and why not give it a try.
I guess I’m glad I did.
Is there any showbiz personality that you look up to?
Julia Roberts. She’s classy, gorgeous, and there is a certain glow about her. Yet she is so grounded and very simple.
Surely you’ve been told that you look like actress Sarah Lahbati.
Oh, yes. But have you even seen my dancing? I can’t dance! (laughter). I am naturally funny though.
How do you see yourself a couple of years from now?
I would have my Masters in Nursing by then. Also I would want to have another crown, and to have my own charity.
I want to experience more travels around the world as well here in the Philippines.
Ultimately, in the future I want to be married and have five little boys — and dogs.
You’re fond of kids?
I am. Children will love you unconditionally, with no hidden agenda.
Plus you can also mold them to be someone great. Like they say, our children are the future.
How would you describe your fashion sense?
Oh boy, it’s not queenly at all. My style constantly changes.
In time I want to evolve into a woman who remains poised even when under stress.
Would you share to us your beauty routine?
I go to Watsons for the two-in-one face mask, put it on for 20 minutes.
I don’t eat much fried foods. I drink a lot of water. I’m an athletic person, so physical activity. And sleep, many hours of it.
What other places do you want to see here in the Philippines?
Siquijor. And Palawan. I missed my trip to Palawan during the pageant.
I want to go back to Baguio since I was only eight the last time I was there.
I love Vigan, my favorite, and I would love to go back there.
As Binibining Cebu- Tourism, what would you recommend to a traveler on a weekend trip? What itinerary will you suggest?
You must stop over in Asturias.
You’d experience the provincial life yet get a sense that the place is developing.
See how policies on waste management are being implemented — things are being reused and recycled and turned into common household items.
Awesome. Next is Kawasan Falls in Badian, Carcar for lunch and Lapu-Lapu City for island hopping.
Are you going back to America after college?
I don’t think so. Cebu is growing on me. I’ve grown to love the people here.
There’s so much genuine love for each other.
Why did you choose to take up Nursing?
Initially my mother and three other sisters only wanted to make sure I do well in life.
So they suggested that I take up Nursing thinking that I could use it when I go home.
While studying my professor showed me great things about this field and from then on I appreciated the learnings.
What’s your message to your nine-year-old self?
Oh, that’s hard. I would say, “Keep smiling, Sam. Life may not always be easy but you have the choice to be happy.”
Will you be joining Bb. Pilipinas in 2019?
Oh yeah, 2019! I can’t do it this year because I have duties to fulfill for my current title. Hopefully, if things go well, 2019 should be a good year for me to join the pageant.
What gift do you want for 2018?
Good health and happiness. But I would also love to have that newly released Michael Kors bag (laughs).