A 22-YEAR-OLD medical student stood out during the Miss Mandaue 2015 pageant last Thursday night, becoming the 46th winner of one of Cebu’s longest-running beauty pageants.

Ena Louis Velasco, the tallest among 12 contestants, impressed the judges during the fun wear, runway and evening gown competitions, all three of which she won.

Joining her court were Cynthia Thomalla (first runner-up), Beatrice Luigi Gomez (second runner-up), Elizabeth Scheer (third runner-up) and Kelsey Quinn Adams (fourth runner-up).

The Bacolod City native also drew loud cheers from the crowd inside the packed City Sports and Cultural Complex during the question-and-answer portion.

Respect

Asked what philosophy or value she holds dearest in life, she replied without missing a beat: “The philosophy or value that I hold dearest in life is respect. I believe respect is the key to love, peace and honesty. With respect, we’re able to do good to others and achieve love, peace and honesty.”

Velasco, who stands 5’9", said the competition was so tough she wasn’t sure she would win.

“The competition was tight. I didn’t expect I would win the crown tonight,” she told reporters.

Velasco said she will promote health as her advocacy during her reign. She is studying at the Southwestern University-Matias H. Aznar Memorial College of Medicine.

It was not Velasco’s first time to joined a beauty contest. She was crowned MassKara Queen in 2012. She also joined the Miss Southwestern University last year.

“I wanted to prove something to myself. I wanted to be able to bring proud and honor to my family and friends,” she said when asked why she joined the Miss Mandaue 2015 pageant.

She said she plans to join the Binibining Pilipinas after finishing her studies.

Crowd favorite

Mayor Jonas Cortes and Cebu Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale were among the officials present at the pageant night, held on the eve of the city fiesta.

Supporters of each candidates filled the sports complex, waving balloons and photos of their bets.

Claire Pestaño, who drew the loudest cheers from the audience throughout the pageant, fell on stage during the evening gown competition.

She didn’t make it to the top five, but she received the Media’s Choice Award. She also placed third in the talent competition and second in the fitness contest.

Thomalla bagged most awards, taking home Miss Photogenic, Miss Professionalism, and Miss Fitness awards. She also received three corporate awards.

The contestants wore gowns made by Cebuano designers during the evening gown competition.

Velasco, wearing a gown designed by Philip Tampus, outshone the other contestants during the evening gown competition.

Rei Escario, who designed the gown worn by Monica Tawide, was picked by renowned Cebuano designer Cary Santiago to win the Best Designer award.