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From Pilar Pilapil to Tracy Maureen Perez, here are the Cebuanas who helped put the ‘queen’ in ‘Queen City of the South’

By AYIE LICSI Published Oct 04, 2021 5:53 pm

The "Queen City of the South" is in the business of producing pageant-winning beauty queens.

After Cebu City native bagged the Miss Universe Philippines 2021 crown on Sept. 30, fellow Cebuana Tracy Maureen Perez followed in her high-heeled footsteps and took home the Miss World Philippines 2021 title. Perez's win means two out of the four candidates competing in the major international pageants—Miss Universe, Miss World, Miss Earth, and Miss International—are Cebuanas.

In 2021, Cebu has grown four national pageant title winners, and as netizens have joked online, there must be something in the city's water that produces winning beauty queens. Winning pageants isn't something new to Cebuanas, though, as they've ruled the pageant scene before, winning national and international crowns. Here are some notable Cebuanas who have brought pride to the Queen City of the South.

Tracy Maureen Perez

Although Tracy Maureen Perez stumbled twice on the MWP 2021 stage, she gracefully picked herself up with a smile on her face. This industrial engineer by profession is no pageant patty: her Miss World Philippines (MWP) 2021 run is actually her second attempt at the coveted crown. In 2019, the 28-year-old competed in the 2019 version of the pageant where she finished in the top 12. Perez also competed for the Miss Universe PH 2020 crown, where she finished in the top 16 with the Miss Photogenic award.

Beatrice Luigi Gomez

Beatrice Luigi Gomez's win is a historic moment for local pageantry as she's the first Miss Universe Philippines (MUPH) winner who's openly part of the LGBTQ+ community. In the event's interview challenge, she gushed about her girlfriend of six years, and during the Top 10 semifinalists Q&A, Gomez talked about how the Philippines is ready to have a queer representative in the international pageant scene.

“I honestly believe that our country has definitely been in a long way in battling our fight for equality, especially for the LGBTQIA+ community. Our country has been very supportive and I definitely think we are definitely ready to send someone, an LGBTQIA+ member to the Universe,” she said.

Shaila Mae Rebortera

Competing alongside Perez in MWP 2021, Shaila Mae Rebortera won the Miss Multinational Philippines 2021 title. This licensed dentist won several crowns when she joined MWP, including Sinulog Festival Queen 2018 and Miss Millennial Philippines 2018.

Steffi Rose Aberasturi

Steffi Rose Aberasturi was a standout in the recent MUPH pageant as she won the Top 15 runway challenge, and in the end, she bagged the 2nd Runner-up prize. Before joining the prestigious pageant, Aberasturi competed in pageants and won multiple crowns, including Binibining Cebu in 2018.

Gazini Ganados

Talisay City's Gazini Ganados had big shoes to fill representing the Philippines in the 2019 Miss Universe pageant after Catriona Gray won in 2018. This Filipino-Palestinian model finished in the top 20 and took home the Best National Costume award for her Philippine eagle-inspired ensemble. 

Before her international pageant stint, Gazini competed in Miss World PH 2014 and won the Binibining Pilipinas 2019 pageant.

Jamie Herrell

When she was 20 years old, One News anchor Jamie Herrell was crowned Miss Earth in 2014. The 27-year-old beauty queen also competed in local pageants in 2013 including Reyna ng Aliwan, Sinulog Festival Queen, and Miss Mega Cebu. She was the second Cebuana to take home the Miss Earth crown after fellow Cebu-grown Karla Henry's win in 2008.

Pilar Pilapil

Before she graced TV screens with her acting chops, Liloan's Pilar Pilapil represented the Philippines in the Miss Universe 1967 pageant after winning the Binibining Pilipinas Universe title in the same year.

The now award-winning actress might not have placed in the top 10, but she was welcomed home with movie offers in films by Fernando Poe Jr. and movies with Dolphy.

Pilar Pilapil with Ms. HongKong. Image from Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc.
Joel Rey Carcasona

Cebu also has a beauty king amongst its ranks with Joel Rey Carcasona who bested 23 other candidates for the Mr. Gay World Philippines crown in August. This nursing graduate from Cebu will represent the country in the Mr. Gay World pageant next year.

Thumbnail and banner photos from Instagram.