JULIA Gonowon from Camarines Sur bagged the first “Miss Millennial Philippines” crown.
Held last Sept 30, 2017, at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, the 21-year-old fourth year Psychology student bested 37 other entrants from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao to win “Eat, Bulaga’s” anniversary segment.
“I feel so blessed and very honored to win the first title. This win comes as a surprise and it’s definitely a labor of passion and hard work. Also, I wouldn’t be able to win the competition without the love and support of my kababayan. The crown is really for them,” she said.
For two months, the Miss Millennial entrants spearheaded the tourism campaign of their respective provinces in a beauty pageant that is first of its kind in local television. They were asked to come up with creative materials to promote the beauty and charm of their provinces.
Gonowon says her journey to the crown was not that easy as she had to juggle her studies and the competition while being the breadwinner of her family.
She said fulfilling the weekly tasks had become a challenge for her as she’s studying in Manila while often going back and forth to Camarines Sur to work on her materials.
“I went through a lot during the competition. Since July I had to work non-stop on our weekly challenges. I also had a hard time adjusting to the format as it’s not the typical pageant which I’m used to. I had to forego the heels and dresses and go back to the basic. But nothing worth having comes easy and it all paid off.”
Gonowon, who has joined numerous local pageants, also said that she owes much of what she and her family have now to contests like “Miss Millennial Philippines”. She was able to support her education and family with her winnings.
“Pageants gave me a better life. I had to stop school because my parents didn’t have the money to support my education. I want to finish my degree so I had to think of ways to support that. At first I was hesitant to join beauty competitions as I’m not used to wearing dresses and swimsuits. But I said there’s no harm in trying. I had to take that risk if I want to fulfill my dreams.”
She’s also grateful to “Eat, Bulaga!” as it gave her and other millennial the opportunity to show the world what the youth can do today.
“I’m thankful to the program because we were given the chance to show that the millennials are not just into social media. We can channel our love for technology in so many good things. It’s also a good feeling that we were able to extend a helping hand in promoting our respective provinces.”
Asked what’s next for her, Gonowon said she’s keen to finish her studies and eventually compete in national beauty pageants. She said her ultimate dream is to win a local contest and eventually represent the country in the international competition.
Gonowon is also open to joining show business as she’s fond of hosting and acting. The young beauty said she wants to inspire more millennials to do good for their community.
“I want to prove in my own way that the youth of today is not just tech savvy, but we also have dreams and aspirations. We can use social media to inspire more millennials like me.”
Aside from the crown, Gonowon also won a condominium unit from Bria Homes, a Mitsubishi Montero Sport and P500, 000.
She said part of her winnings will go to charity and that she will visit a remote baranggay in Camarines Sur to share her blessings.
Following Gonowon’s win are Miss La Union Carina Carino (first runner-up), Miss Aklan Eleonara Velentina Laorenza (second runner-up), and Miss Malabon Shiara Joy Dizon (third runner-up).
Meanwhile, Ilocos Norte beauty Dianne Irish Joy Lacayanga was hailed Miss Bayanihan Queen as she received the highest text and online votes. She won P100,000 and a million for her province.
“Thank you is not enough for all the support I received from the Ilocanos. It’s such an honor for me to represent my hometown and to share the beauty of Ilocos. I hope through the segment we were able to inspire the youth of today to act more and be an agent of change in the community,” Lacayanga ended.