Half-Aeta vies for Miss Guimaras crown

ILOILO CITY — Her being a member of an Indigenous Peoples (IP) group did not deter a half-Aeta lass from dreaming of the Mutya ng Guimaras 2016 crown.

Ruth Emily Valenzuela, with a towering height of 5’4, is just one of the nine candidates vying for the crown. “My journey is not easy,” she said. She cited that discrimination does happen because half of her is an Aeta, from her mother’s side.

However, her experience of hunting for wild animals in the forest as part of their culture makes her unique when compared with the other bets.

Valenzuela is the eldest among the five brood of Romeo and Gemma Valenzuela of Sitio Liningwan, Barangay Maabay in Sibunag, Guimaras. She is an incoming fourth year student at the Guimaras State College taking up Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education.

Joining beauty contests is not new to her. In fact, this pageant is already her fifth. Last year, she represented Sibunag in the Search for Miss Pag-Asa Youth Association of the Philippines in Negros Occidental and won third runner up among 26 contestants.

“I have proven my best,” she said. “I am blessed because there are people who believed in me.”

With her status, she challenged her fellow Aetas to never be ashamed of what and who they are.

“Always pray and do what is right,” she stated.

She added that IPs are privileged and the government has provided them with opportunities.

“There is a lot of Aetas who are now professional. I am a municipal scholar and I have to maintain a certain grade,” she shared.

Meanwhile, other candidates vying for the Mutya ng Guimaras 2016 are Joanne Porras from Jordan, Joyce Gayorgor and Dana Mae Diana of Buenavista, Sheryl Faith Perania and Rowena Grandeza of Nueva Valencia, Jell Roses Duga and Mary Welsen Quezon of San Lorenzo and Shara Vim Vilches of Sibunag.

The coronation night will be on May 20 at the Provincial Capitol Gymnasium. PNA / northboundasia.com