Timeless. That is probably the best word to describe the winners of the 2018 Grandma Malabon, a special pageant that brought together the most vivacious, charming and smart grandmothers who represented the various villages of the city.
The top five contenders were the perfect embodiment of the belief that old age is more than just having white hair and wrinkles, or that it’s too late to do anything new. Age doesn’t seem to matter to the bubbly bunch who faced each day the way they did when they were young-—with grace and enthusiasm.
It’s hard not to admire their energy. Most are well into their 60s, but they remain sprightly and sharp, proving that age is really but a number. The grandmas, winners of the recently concluded, month-long Tambobong Festival, which celebrated the 419th anniversary of the City of Malabon, now take on an important role in the community: To uphold Filipino family values.
“We give honor to these grandmothers because they play an important role in upholding the family values of Malabonians,” said Malabon City Mayor Lenlen Oreta.
“Today, most parents work for their families, leaving the kids without any guidance. We see grandmothers to fill this gap in the structure, to serve as the guide while the parents are away so the youth will grow up with the right character and values needed to succeed in life.”
The pageant, however, proved to be more than just finding a role model to step into the responsibility of helping to uphold the values of the community. The participants saw this as a chance to once more showcase their talents and wisdom, and to prove that getting older does not mean the end of the road for most of them.
“I really admire Mayor Oreta for organizing this pageant because it helped us grandmothers in overcoming our fear of getting old. He showed us that there’s still more in life to enjoy,” said Margarita Bautista, 61, fourth runner-up in the Grandma Malabon 2018 contest.
Bautista has dedicated her life to serving the church as a member of the Mother Butler of Saints Peter and John after her husband died, but now, because of the pageant, she realized that she could take on more roles to serve her community as well.
The pageant was also an avenue for discovering rare gems among the grandmothers in the community. Judith Dela Cruz Reyes (third runner-up), for example, a housewife and stay-at-home businesswoman, showcased her flair during the talent competition. She wowed the audience with her enthralling performance of combining aerobics, Zumba, folk dancing and ballroom dancing into one lively ensemble.
“I’ve stayed home most of my life, raising my family while my husband works abroad. So it was nice to be recognized by my barangay as a fitting representative of the Grandma Malabon competition.”
Zenaida Andaya, first runner-up, turned out to be actress Fe Galvez, who once became the leading lady to actors like Dolphy, Jun Aristorenas, and Fernando Poe Jr.
“I’ve had a colorful past, but what I enjoyed most about the pageant was how the community showed genuine care to us grandmothers. During the event, I was feeling very sick because I just had my leg operated on, but the people from City Hall made sure I was well taken care of, to the point that they would feed me just to be sure that I was eating right. It feels nice, it’s a beautiful feeling to be surrounded by people who support you.”
The grandmas also showed wisdom during the competition―characteristics that Mayor Oreta expects for the villages where they belong.
Second runner-up Norma Bustamante from Barangay Tugatog, for example, showed that no matter how much hardships you experience, you should never give up.
“I’ve lived a fulfilling life, but I also faced many hardships like losing my husband at an early age, getting scammed in my business, and even losing all my property to a huge fire. But I choose to see life as half-full. I’m still here, I’m still alive, and I want to show everyone that no matter what happens to you, what’s important is that you remain strong for the people you love. You should invest in yourself and continue to improve physically, mentally and spiritually.”
Miss Grandma Malabon 2018 Grand Winner, Princess Salome Soriano of Barangay Tanong, proved that she was the ultimate grandmother―not only for what she has shown during the competition but also for the example she sets for her community.
At 75 years old, she is head of the Ministry of the True Church of Christ Jesus, where she sets out almost daily visiting depressed areas to preach and spread the Word of God.
“God has blessed me so much, and being crowned the grand winner is, for me, another way to fulfill my role. It is another way to reach out to more people and spread the teachings of the Church. And I am very thankful.”
Ms. Soriano said she used her cash price to support her small community of scholars who have just started the school year.
“I gave all my prize to them and hope that it could somehow ease the burden of the new semester. I also gave a small amount to the senior citizens of my barangay, and threw them a small party which they also enjoyed.”
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