Tuesday, May 1, 2012


by Melchor Natividad

International Nursing Day is observed on May 8, 2012 in honor of the birth date of Florence Nightingale who came to prominence for her pioneering work in nursing during the Crimean War where she tended to wounded soldiers. She was dubbed as the Lady with a Lamp as she goes on rounds to wounded patients usually during at night.
When I learned that May is the month where Nursing as a profession and vocation is celebrated, I thought of nurses who became celebrated as beauty queens. It was only in the recent future that Sandra Seifert a registered nurse was crowned Miss Philippines-Earth in 2009 and eventually became Miss Earth-Air in the same year. However, the girl that had an imprint in my mind is Michelle Cueva Reyes, First Runner-up in the Binibining Pilipinas 2001 Beauty Pageant. She made a memorable mark on me because it was my first time to watch the Binibining Pilipinas live at the Araneta Dome.

The year 2001 was both remarkable and memorable. It was the year that Zorayda Ruth Andam, a law student from the University of the Philippines and a magna cum laude graduate romped off with the Bb. Pilipinas-Universe title and Miss Tourism Title. The Bb. Pilipinas-International title went to Maricarl Tolosa. The Bb. Pilipinas World went to Gilrhea Quinzon. Michelle was adjudged as the first runner-up and Maricar Balagtas was second runner-up. That night a young lady from Baguio City kept the audience alive and kicking by telling everyone to keep quiet while trying to given a decent answer to the question of former Miss Universe 1969 Gloria Diaz. All the girls were asked question and the Top 5 would eventually be asked again to decide their ranks. All eyes were glued to Michelle and Maricar that night but they faltered and one unassuming lady went on to be crowned Bb. Pilipinas World and as I said, Michelle and Maricar were relegated to runner-up positions.

Surprises of all surprises however, Maricar Balagtas was sent to compete at the Miss Globe International in Turkey and she came very triumphant. On the other hand, Michelle Reyes went on to participate in the Miss Tourism International in 2001 at Anatolia, Turkey. She was crowned as the winner. So take note, the two runners-up were winners during their reign. On the other hand, Zorayda Andam was sent to the Miss Tourism World Beauty Pageant held in Medellin, Colombia wherein she was adjudged as the Miss Tourism World Asia and one of the semi-finalists. In the year 2002, Michelle was picked to participate in the same pageant held in Ankara, Turkey this time and a second tourism crown was won by her for the country. Add to that there was also another pageant where she won Model of the Universe-Asia.

As I was reading further, the theme of this International Nursing Year is “Closing the Gap from Evidence to Action.”  I was nodding my head because, here is a nurse who showed great evidence of beauty, grace and pleasant demeanor and translated these traits of a beauty queen into action and the resultant products are two titles in the international tourism arena. In the annals of the history of Philippine beauty pageants, she has now established herself as the first Filipinas and Asian to ever win two consecutive world titles.
Michelle Reyes is a 5’8-1/2” beauty from Daet, Camarines Norte who before joining the pageant bandwagon is a nurse at the pediatric ward of the University of Sto. Tomas Hospital. She got married to a doctor in 2004 and is happily enjoying a blissful married life to Dr. Darnel Viray Dabu.

There are thoughts being forwarded about Michelle. There are a lot of what ifs? Foremost of these what if is that “What if she was sent to the Miss Universe Beauty Pageant, would she make a bigger difference over Zorayda?” What if she was chosen to be crowned Bb. Pilipinas World, would she be the first Miss World of the Philippines and would have a better performance than Miss Gilrhea Quinzon?” Retropectives like these still ask lingering questions because the present time allows girls who bungled their interviews to win one of the titles. In that edition of the Bb. Pilipinas Pageant, not only Michelle and Maricar messed up their answers but also Gilrhea. In the recent past, Janina San Miguel won the Bb. Pilipinas World title despite a great interview mishap, although she would later resign from the title. Michelle had greatly showed that action speaks louder than words – and that is what a nurse is all about. She is a caring, loving and sharing person that everyone felt during her sojourn in the two cities of Turkey.
It is great to reminisce a year where the runner-ups did a lot better than the title holders. Are we getting to be spectators of repeating history as the runner-ups in the 2012 edition of the pageant faltered? Michelle wonderfully performed to the best of her abilities and we hope the chosen queens and runner-ups would do well too.

Photo Credits:  
Miss Tourism World, BPCI, Missosology.org, Beyond Essence, flxmanuel.multiply.com, anovahealth.co.za

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