The world of pageantry can be very brutal. More often than not, hopefuls give up the moment they face rejection. However, there are also candidates who turn this rejection into motivation to do better than before.
Reina de Mandaue — The Transwoman Pageant (formerly known as Miss Gay Mandaue) is the longest-running gay pageant in Southeast Asia, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The newly crowned winner, Stephie Venice Cabahug, finally achieved victory after four tries in the Mandaue pageant. The coronation night was held on May 9, 2023 at the Mandaue City Cultural and Sports Complex in Barangay Centro, Mandaue City.
Stephie, who represented Mexico, bested 12 other candidates. She was also part of the Top 3 candidates who received the pageant’s Best in Talent award.
When asked about how she felt after finally winning after four tries, Stephie replied that “even if it took four tries for me to achieve that dream, I am still overjoyed that at last, the crown is on my head! In the golden year of the Mandaue Pageant, a true blue Mandauehanon has been crowned as the winner.”
“I was 13 years old when I first witnessed The Mandaue Pageant and from that day I told myself that I will be crowned on the same stage here in my hometown Mandaue,” she added.
She also gave a piece of advice to members of the LGBTQ+ community who also want to join pageants but are still reluctant to do so.
“Never get tired of chasing after your dreams, because a dream will only become reality if you act on it! And if you get tired, just rest and never give up because one day all your hard work will pay off.”
Stephie’s advocacy is on transgender health and awareness. She believes that education can combat ignorance and discrimination. She also aims to work with the Mandaue City Government to create ordinances that will be beneficial to the LGBTQ+ community.
Stephie thanks her glam team led by Dexa May, Jane Ry Remedio Doble, Ashley Bihag, Dianeezz Mae Pulvera and Patricia Sabior, as well as the local government of Mandaue and the Reina de Mandaue — the Transwoman Pageant committee, led by Nanette Cortes and secretariat Wyng Cinco, for making her success possible.