Respected pageant producer and queen maker John De La Vega did his final farewell walk last Jan. 15 when he expired of cardiac arrest at the World Citi Medical Center in Quezon City at half past 4 in the afternoon. He was 40.
De La Vega was among three of the country’s most highly recognizable pageant queenmakers, along with Aces and Queens’ Jonas Gaffud and Kagandahang Flores’ Rodgil Flores, who are credited for revolutionizing the Philippines’ presence and participation in various beauty competitions worldwide, which got the country started in its winning streak in international pageantry.
As a queen maker, he founded the House of JDV about a decade ago, and produced local and international winners such as Jeslyn Santos, Miss United Continents 2016; Karen Grace Atienza, Miss Landscapes International 2018; Ali Forbes, Miss Grand International 2013, 3rd runner up; Achelle Joy Medrano, Jewel of the World 2018, 2nd runner up; Divine Veranga, Jewel of the World 2019, 1st runner up; and his very first big time winner, Czarina Catherine Gatbonton, Binibining Pilipinas-World 2010.
An Arts Studies graduate of the University of the Philippines, De La Vega was also known as an events director, whose portfolio included some of the satellite activities of the Miss Universe 2016 pageant held in the Philippines, and other high profile regional cultural presentations such as the annual Mimaropa Festival and Miss Bicolandia.
In 2015, he decided to organize his own national and international pageant searches, which led to the birth of the Jewel of the Philippines and Jewel of the World competitions.
In one of the pageant’s coronation ceremonies, Dela Vega tearfully said: “I’d like this pageant to be a platform for those women who are usually deprived of the chance to compete and express themselves by the other major and bigger pageants.”
De La Vega is survived by his parents Eduardo and Arlene of Romblon Province, and siblings Amos and Edelyn.