EXCLUSIVE: Catching up with reigning Binibining Pilipinas queens

Published September 24, 2020, 11:52 AM

by Robert Requintina

What’s up Binibinis?

The reigning Bb. Pilipinas queens – Miss Universe Philippines Gazini Ganados, Bb. Pilipinas International Patch Magtanong, Bb. Pilipinas Intercontinental Emma Tiglao, Bb. Pilipinas Supranational Resham Saeed, Bb. Pilipinas Globe Leren Mae Bautista, and Bb. Pilipinas Grand International Aya Abesamis – now hold the record for the longest reign in Bb. Pilipinas history after pre-pageant competitions for the next batch of queens have been delayed due to the worldwide pandemic.

Yet the lockdown paved the way for our queens to prepare for a running start, learn new things, and plan for the future.

Manila Bulletin Entertainment caught up with our reigning Binibining Pilipinas queens as they talked about the lessons learned the past months and goals for 2021 during an online chat recently.

File photo of reigning Bb. Pilipinas beauty queens taken in January 2020. From left: Bb. Pilipinas Grand International Aya Abesamis, Bb. Pilipinas Globe Leren Mae Bautista, Bb. Pilipinas International Patch Magtanong, Miss Universe Philippines Gazini Ganados, Bb. Pilipinas Supranational Resham Saeed, and Bb. Pilipinas Intercontinental Emma Tiglao. (Photo courtesy of Bb. Pilipinas Charities, Inc.)

1) What are the lessons learned during the pandemic?

Gazini: “The lesson I’ve learned during the pandemic is of humility, that life can be simpler! I think there’s always a lesson in every difficult situation. This pandemic is forcing us to slow down and grow a bit more each and every day. And to be grateful for the gift of life.”

Patch: “Among other things, I learned first and foremost how to be adaptable. We plan our lives so meticulously and we feel like we have complete control over it, but no matter how much we prepare, we have no idea what the future holds.

“Ultimately, your best weapon during challenging times is how you rise above adversity and make do with the cards we’re dealt. Our plans for the year have been shaken up, but the only thing we can do is to regroup, make new, even better plans, and move on.”

Resham: “One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is that nothing is promised or owed to me in this world. This fact really humbled me during this pandemic and opened my eyes towards all the things I should be grateful to have.

“It wasn’t easy losing a sense of stability since I couldn’t work anymore due to social distancing and that I was stuck in a foreign country: Indonesia, Bali during this time either. I felt very lost and uncertain. But, the moment I decided to take time to work on the inside out I realized that a lot of what I thought I lost was actually meant to help me gain a sense of myself that I had been neglecting.”

Emma: “I’ve learned a lot about myself and see the world around me with new eyes. I’ve learned how to cook Salted egg Shrimp, to paint, to listen more.

“I’ve also learned that tomorrow is not promised. The only thing we have is today. And we need to enjoy it. Be grateful each day that there is food on your table, your families and friends are still healthy and be thankful even for the challenges in life that make reaching the goal more rewarding. Remember, there is more to life than this pandemic. And with that, I’m coming out of this Crisis Shutdown a better and brighter person.”

Leren: “The best lesson I learned during this pandemic is “We plan, He decides”. It just dawned on me that no matter how we plan things for ourselves, if it’s not God’s will, it won’t materialize. It’s all about having faith in His plans.”

Aya: “The great lesson I’ve learned from this quarantine/ pandemic is to always be grateful of what you have, do not take things for granted, kindness is power and continue the journey of loving and knowing yourself more.

2) What have you lost and gained during the crisis?

Gazini: “The pandemic has affected absolutely the whole world, the economy, with small businesses and startups suffering but thriving. There has been a massive financial loss, with businesses having the risk of closure. However, there are those that have shown excellent growth, adjusting to the situations.

“As for me, I’ve lost a very special person. My mentor who I miss everyday and is loved dearly by many! At the same time I’ve gained more time to spend with my family and pets.”

Patch: “We definitely lost many opportunities. This year, we were supposed to be finishing our reign and venturing out beyond our duties as queens. Right now, the entire industry has all but shut down. But despite that, we’re happy to keep our crowns a little bit longer, and do more with the platform!”

Resham: “I sometimes feel guilty for admitting this but it’s important to be honest…I didn’t feel I lost anything during this crisis. I feel guilty because I know many have had to struggle during this time.”

Emma: “There are many things I’ve lost like modeling jobs abroad, events with Binibining Pilipinas and I can’t even travel. But despite these missed opportunities, what’s more important is that I was still able to pursue other productive and more meaningful  endeavors like being a guest speaker twice at Global Youth Model United Nations, the precious time and memories with my family and online school/class experience.”

Leren: “Well, everyone lost their freedom to do the normal things they do before this pandemic but one thing I gained during this crisis is more time with my family that I personally took for granted before as I was too busy with work, friends, and other activities. Since we were on lockdown, it allowed me to see the beauty of quality time with my family.

“Once we go back to normal (hopefully soon), I promise to spend more time with my family and balance both my personal and work life as we never know what’s ahead of us.”

Aya: “Definitely this year’s summer, the social and outdoor activities were lost and a bunch of great opportunities. But we’ve also learned how to be productive with what we have, learned new skills, and how to make ways to help others.

“Being selfless is also important in order to protect each other by doing our part and still staying connected with one another even when we’re kept at distance.”

3) What are your plans for 2021?

Gazini: “It is September now and in no time after just four months New Year begins and yet we still don’t know when this pandemic will end. However, with the ferocious research and steps towards vaccine tests, I think we are near to find a solution. Right now we have to protect ourselves and safeguard our loved ones against the harm of the pandemic.

“As for myself, I have been taking care of my well being mentally,spiritually and physically. This health crisis has changed my lifestyle and I hope others may do the same. I grow my own food with the peace of mind that my meal is well kept. It has become pertinent for survival to at least know how to grow my own food organically. Additionally, consumption of immunity boosting smoothies and having a balanced diet to be relied upon.

“Also, I’d like to make more time by being involved in volunteer programs for those affected by the pandemic. I also make sure that I follow strictly the health precautions and social distancing measures implemented by the government.”

“This pandemic gave us more opportunities to try to connect with people, reconnect with family and friends. May everyone do the same also, after all we can make it through with this crisis stronger. Make and maintain friendships and better make it real. Cheers to a healthier lifestyle in 2021.”

Patch: “I’ve been involving myself with different organizations, speaking about social issues, through webinars and zoom events, so I would like to continue that. I’ve been taking on some legal work as well, not in a full time capacity, but hopefully we’ll be seeing an improvement with the situation soon.”

Resham: “I have many goals and plans and I’m usually not one to share ideas until they have come to fruition haha. However, I do plan on continuing to grow my business here in Bali. Eventually expanding it and bringing it home to Manila as well. I will be blogging a lot of these experiences and updates on my website, so stay tuned and check out www.raebaaee.com.”

Emma: “Right now, my goal is to make my family safe, happy and healthy. Still planning on what business I should venture into. Hopefully I can build a successful one soon so that I can help more people. Honestly, there are too many plans on my mind but I want to leave some things open. I will just go with the flow and go where life takes me.”

Leren: “I just aim to be healthy and safe with my family until this pandemic is over and just cross the bridge when we get there.

“What I learned from this crisis is to live life day by day, be grateful for the little things, and not get caught up with things that you can’t control.

“Every crisis is an opportunity. I plan to take advantage of this time to reconnect with family and friends. And also, to make sure that my family and I are safe and healthy.

“I also plan to focus on our new business called WINGED IT by Serene Cosmetics, which was launched this September. Our main product is a dual eyeliner stamp which allows you to achieve a perfect winged eye in seconds. A nice way to make your eyes pop while wearing your mask!”

Aya: “My main goal of course is to stay safe and healthy. Save up and live the life we have. Enjoy everyday and hustle for your dreams. We’ve all adjusted and it’s a matter of adapting to what has happened but by being extra precautious and keeping our loved ones and ourselves safe.”