Bb. Pilipinas-World 2010 Czarina R. Gatbonton

Going for the globe
By Earl D.C. Bracamonte

Bb. Pilipinas-World reigning titleholder Czarina Catherine Ramos Gatbonton departed for Senya in Mainland China to compete in the Miss World 2010. Amid cheeres from family, friends and members of the media, the 19-year-old Bulakena vowed to do her very best to bring home the bacon. “I'm very much ready to conquer the world!”
She watched, teary-eyed, as her parents bid her farewell. “Always call on the Lord,” advised her proud father Fernando Gatbonton.
Young as she is, she knows that there is a bright future laid out ahead of her. She wants to be able to go back to school and finish her HRM degree. From there, she plans to pursue her bigger dream of owning a Filipino food restaurant. She is as feisty in the kitchen as she is in front of the stage lights. Her specialties, she revealed, are Sinigang na Bangus sa Sampalok and Bola-bolang Bidbid. Both are fish dishes, which is not surprising as she grew up helping her fisherman father in their island village in Pamarawan, Malolos. Paraw, in the local Bulacan dialect, means “shrimp.” It was from the abundance of shellfish that their island was named after.
“Join us in our prayers that our daughter fulfills her dreams. Her victory is ours and the entire country's as well,” implored her doting mother Anda Ramos-Gatbonton.
Just like many beauty queens that came before her, Czarina has always dreamt of being crowned as one someday. She has, in fact, been joining beauty pageants in Bulacan since she was five years old. During those innocent years, she would don a towel and wrap it around her neck and pretend to walk like a crowned queen. That innocence remains until today, though life's experiences made her grow wiser and more confident.
“I will arrive into the Miss World pageant thinking I already won. I have been blessed with so many opportunities like six months training with the best team, meeting and talking to a lot of people, as well as studying new cultures. It's hard yet fulfilling at the same time.”
She is very appreciative of the nuggets of wisdom given her by past winners, including batch co-winner Bb. Pilipinas-Universe and Miss Universe 2010 4th Runner-up Ma. Venus Raj. She is overwhelmed by the amount of support that the people behind the Bb. Pilipinas Charities have extended to her. The best piece of advice that she will be bringing with her came from no less than the country's first Miss Universe, Ms. Gloria Aspillera Diaz, who told her to “relax and be herself and think like a winner.”
As of presstime, Czarina has her eyes set on the Miss World crown. When told that she just might become the first Miss World from the Philippines, she just flashed her pearly whites and humbly enthused, ”Like I said, I want to think like a winner and make sure that I enjoy the whole experience. I'll do my very best to capture the crown. My victory, after all, would also be that of every Filipino.”
The coliseum audience as well the televiewers would recall that Czarina, during the national pageant, wanted to be a tree so that she can bear fruit and help sustain life. It sounded much more sincere in her native tongue, especially coming from a smiling teenage aspirant. Just like the tree that she wantas to be, she is a breath of fresh air in today's beleaguered environment. On October 30th, she will bring that same pureness of heart with her as she represents the country in the 60th Miss World pageant.
One of the most eye-opening experiences she went through was when she figured in a vehiculare accident in her hometown in early March. Fortunately for her and her companions, they only came out with bruises; unlike the fateful Camarines mishap that led to Bb. Pilipinas-International 2009 Melody Gersbach's untimely demise.
Needless to say, the incident made her realize how one event can actually shatter one's dreams at the blink of an eye. It is this realization that made her a stronger person, grabbing every break that comes her way.
Now on its 46th year, the annual Binibining Pilipinas beauty pagaeant is a project of the Bb. Pilipinas Charities Inc. (BPCI), a non-stock, non-profit organization founded by its chair Stella Marquez de Araneta, herself a crowned titleholder. She was the very first Miss International winner who represented her native country Colombia in 1964.
With the annual pageant as its main source of funds, the BPCI tries to bring the message of hope and love across the nation. Young Filipina pageant hopefuls are given the opportunity to be ambassadresses of this message as the humanitarian misssions make up BPCI's primary goals. Launched in 1964, the annual quest has become the biggest and most-anticipated beauty event participated in by hundreds of aspirants from all over the archipelago.
“I may be a lady from the islands but I can conquer the world with my big heart and values in life!” blurted Czarina, waving farewell.
The Philippines has yet to win this very elusive international title. The closest the country ever got to winning the crown was in 1973 when Evangeline Pascual was proclaimed 1st Runner-up and again in 1993 when Sharmaine Ruffa Gutierrez was named 2nd Princess.


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