Camille Manalo takes big leap from sports to pageant

Binibini No. 17 Camille Manalo is ready to unleash her positive athletic qualities when she competes in the 2017 Binibining Pilipinas beauty pageant on April 30.

"There are many similarities between sports and beauty pageant. In both competitions, you need discipline, confidence and drive to win," said Manalo, during an interview at the opening of the 2017 Binibining Pilipinas beauty pageant photo gallery exhibit at the Gateway Cinema last April 1.

Manalo said: "The only difference between the two is that you get bruises in sports. But in pageants, you don't need physical contact."

The 26-year-old beauty from Silang, Cavite is a popular figure among taekwando fans after she brought honor to the Philippines when she won gold medal at the 2011 Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia.

This 5'8" tall former athlete is an only child. Despite her love for sports, Manalo said that she was never a tomboy and a spoiled brat.

Manalo said that she has been encouraged by her friends to join local pageants when she was younger. But she said that she was busy with taekwando.

"I was hesitant that time because my focus is sports. Before, taekwando is not a sports pa. Hobby ko pa lang. Then naging sports ko na s'ya at naging passion ko na rin sya," said Manalo who has been into Korean martial art since she was 10.

Manalo recalled that there were many girls who trained taekwando with her that time. But many of them have backed out due to stress and bruises.

This would be the first time that Manalo would be joining a beauty pageant.

'First pageant ko talaga ito. Siguro ang nag-encourage sa akin to join Binbining Pilipinas is I'm finished with my career sa sports. So it's a different stage para sa akin;"

"Hindi ko kinakalimutan ang sports dahil doon talaga ako nakilala. Dito naman ako focus ngayon. Modesty aside, way back high school, they have been encouraging me to join pageants kahit sa local namin," she said.

Believe it or not, joining the prestigious local beauty pageant would also mark the first time that she would be wearing bikinis.

"The reason why I don't like pageants noon is because I don't like to wear bikinis. I don't wear bikinis ever since kahit na sa family outing namin or with my barkadas," said Manalo, a graduate of Library and Information Science at the University of Sto. Tomas in Manila.

But Manalo said that she immediately shifted to pageant mode when she saw the other girls wearing the two-piece swimsuit during the screening of Binibining Pilipinas pageant at the Novotel in Cubao.

"At the screening, we wore bikinis for several hours pero naka-robe naman kami. Since then hindi na ako nahiya. Binigay ko na lahat. But I didn't expect talaga to be chosen as among the official candidates," said Manalo.

When her name was called among the 40 official candidates, Manalo said that she was really surprised. "Parang nanalo na ako. Dun na ako kinabahan. This is it!"

Manalo is competing as an independent candidate for this year's beauty pageant. Her friend wanted her to join in a beauty camp but they ran out of time.

"Sumali ako sa Binibining Pilipinas noong January. So late na talaga kung ngayon pa lang ako pupunta sa beauty camp. Maybe next time," she said.

With her winning moves as taekwando player and beautiful face and figure, Manalo could also pass for a female action star on silver screen.

"Why not! I would love to do action films. Lately bihira na rin ang mga action star na babae sa movies. I would love to try that," said Manalo. - Robert Requintina/TEMPO

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