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18-year-old beauty crowned Miss Universe PH Cagayan de Oro

February 2 ------ That Filipinos are obsessed with beauty pageants was made abundantly clear once again during the finals of Miss Universe Philippines Cagayan de Oro (MUPH CDO). The Atrium at Lim Ket Kai mall in downtown CDO was filled with guests wearing terno or barong while very vocal supporters of the 17 candidates cheered from the balcony. 


Starting this year, the different provinces will be holding their own pageants where the winner will be sent to compete at Miss Universe Philippines as their province’s official representative. The other option is for a province to appoint its representative instead of staging a local pageant. The invocation prayer in CDO last Saturday was chanted by the SoulFly Trio of Bukidnon State University before candidates from the different baranggays performed in a production number. Instead of tiny dresses or separates, they were clad in matching midnight blue jumpsuits and heels. The production overseen by pageant director Dennis Almazan moved along relatively smoothly: the girls introduced themselves, exited then came out again to strut in halter-top swimsuits emblazoned with the words “Cagayan de Oro” and “CDO.” Singer Arthur Nery sang two songs to deafening cheers and applause; it was the Cagayan de Oro-born artist’s first time to perform in his hometown after his popularity skyrocketed with his 2019 debut album, “Letters Never Sent.” What struck this writer was how much time and effort was spent by Miss Universe Philippines’ accredited partner Rejellaine Vidad, national search consultant Mags Cue and marketing mananger Vahjna Babia to put together the pageant.  


Everything from the lights and sound system to the tableau vivant of the candidates as they posed in elegant terno by members of the Oro Fashion Designers Guild and guest designers was topnotch. Giving her stamp of approval with her presence was Miss Universe 2011 third runner-up Shamcey Supsup, one of the five judges during the finals. More importantly, Shamcey is also the national director of Miss Universe Philippines Organization. Even the questions for the MUPH CDO Q&A portion were carefully considered and site-specific. The candidates were asked for their thoughts on what Kagayanon delicacy they would offer a visiting chef, what landmark represented Cagayan best, and what specific issue they would raise with government leaders if given the chance—and why. Except for a few missteps, all the candidates did pretty well. At the end of the evening, 18-year-old beauty Lynn Eirene Lomomgo was crowned Miss Universe Philippines CDO with Rexzil Paayas and Christine Campion as first runner-up and second runner-up, respectively. Lynn also won two special prizes, best in swimsuit and best in evening gown. Her terno by designer and medical doctor Mavy de Leon flattered her frame and featured fringed butterfly sleeves and mirrored pieces that glittered as she walked. 


What should have been a celebratory night, however, was sullied by online fans of some of the candidates who felt that their bets should have at least placed in the top three. If Lynn does well at the Miss Universe Philippines pageant scheduled later this year in May, all the bashing and online bullying directed at her now will just be collateral damage. 




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