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Leyte native crowned Queen PH Universe 2019

By: Michelle Joy Padayhag August 11,2019 - 11:47 AM

(L to R) Queen Philippines 2019 second runner-up Charla Diaz (Southern Leyte), Queen Philippines Tourism 2019 Brigite Salvatore (Sulu), Queen Philippines International 2019 Ayesha Tolentino Lopez (NCR), Queen Philippines Universe 2019 Jess Labares, Queen Philippines World 2019 Sheila Magpale III (South Cotabato), Queen Philippines Earth 2019 Angel Marie Madrigal (Maguindanao), and Queen Philippines 2019 first runner-up Paula Luizen Abellar (Siquijor). | Michelle Joy Padayhag

CEBU CITY, Philippines – A Leyte province native was crowned Queen Philippines Universe 2019.

Jess Labares bested 34 other candidates and brought home P100, 000 cash during the coronation night held on Saturday, August 10, at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino in Cebu City.

Labares, 24, followed the footsteps of Samantha Dodson, another Leyte province who won the Queen Philippines Universe crown in 2017. Queen Philippines that started in 2009 took a quick break in 2018 before organizers again held another pageant this year.

The Queen Philippines Universe 2019 crown was already the second pageant crown won by Labares, a Physical Therapy graduate, who dreams of becoming the first transgender woman to work as a flight stewardess. She also won the Ms. Gay Mandaue pageant in 2018.

Queen Philippines candidates paraded in their provincial festival costumes during the pageant’s opening program.  From 34, the number of finalists was later on trimmed down to only seven.

The Top Seven Finalists were asked a common question: “Is the digital age a way to a better world or disastrous future?”

“If I may define the digital age, I would definitely refer it to social media and it has both negative and positive effects. It depends on how you use it. The positive way in which it enables you to communicate to your loved ones even if you are far from each other. For the negative one or disastrous future, it could be used as a tool to bully someone and it can greatly affect one’s mental health. It is not okay and it should not be tolerated,” was Labares’ answer.

Jess Labares receives her crown from Queen Philippines Universe 2017 winner Samantha Dodson. | CDND Photo|Michelle Padayhag

The finalists were judged based on their beauty – 60 percent beauty and intelligence – 40 percent.

Pageant judges included Kadinang Ginto stars Dimples Romana and Beauty Gonzales. The other judges were Bautista Wycoca, Calvin Chua, Josef Sagemuller, Tei Endencia, Leslie Lim, Tina Ocampo, Anton San Diego, Bea Zobel de Ayala Jr., Carol Garcia, and Karen Santos.

Labares admitted having felt so much pressure in joining this year’s pageant because she knew that Leytehanons were expecting her to also bring home the crown like what Dodson did two year’s back.

But her self-confidence made her overcame the pressure that she felt.

“Of course I feel so overwhelmed. Leyte is now a powerhouse for transgender women beauty queens,” Labares said in an interview after her coronation.

Completing this year’s court are Queen Philippines World 2019 Sheila Magpale III (South Cotabato), Queen Philippines International 2019 Ayesha Tolentino Lopez (National Capital Region), Queen Philippines Earth 2019 Angel Marie Madrigal (Maguindanao), Queen Philippines Tourism 2019 Brigite Salvatore  (Sulu),  Queen Philippines 2019 first runner-up Paula Luizen Abellar (Siquijor), and Queen Philippines 2019 second runner-up  Charla Diaz (Southern Leyte). /dcb

Below is a complete list of Special Awards Winners:

Best in Evening Gown: Sheila Magpale III (South Cotabato)

Best in Swimsuit: Sheila Magpale III (South Cotabato)

Best in Costume: Lyn Orozco  (Samar)

Best in National Costume: Angel Marie Madrigal  (Maguindanao)

Queen Philippines Photogenic: Paula Martin (Bukidnon)

Queen Philippines Congeniality: Lena Santos (Bulacan)

Queen Philippines Social Media Princess: Jose Bautista (Surigao Del Sur)

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