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Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Philippines Sunday, May 11, 2008
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As the glitter of the show, the cheers of the crowd, and the thrill of the prizes gradually become memories, the 2008 Lin-ay sang Negros winners now share and ponder on what they have learned as they look forward to face the promises and challenges ahead.

Seventeener Karlyn ‘Karl’ May Bautista , who went home to Hinigaran town with the beaded blue crown, says that more than ever, she has learned and proven that a positive outlook into the gifts and trials of life will not only help someone go through them but will help him or her experience them with triumph.

Karl, whose grandmother, Nanay Piling, passed away during the pageant’s talent night, says that instead of weakening her, the loss had given her more inspiration and strength to be with her fellow candidates until the coronation rites when she faced the audience and the judges with confidence.       “I miss her. But I know she’s happy night now,” the first year Nursing major at the Far Eastern University in Manila, adds.

Karl, who was first sent to study in Manila by her mother, Erlinda, and her father, Oscar, when she was in the fifth grade, says that she now wants to concentrate more in earning her degree so she can give back something to her parents later.

Speaking of family, Mona Gail D’Angelo of Victorias City, the first runner-up, says that because of the pageant, her view of life has positively changed.   Mona, who lost a younger brother in a road accident in the United States that also left her father, Russell, unable to walk, shares that she now believes that everything in life indeed happens for a reason.

      The 20-year-old Nursing graduate of the University of St. La Salle adds that the through the Lin-ay, she has realized the value of having a “big heart” and in enjoying life’s moments by just being herself.   

But although she now sees life as still beautiful despite what happened to her family, she still cautions that “everyone must be responsible for their actions. (We should not) drink and drive if we don’t want to take somebody else’s life,” Mona says.

Also fighting for the value of life, Bacolod City’s Kristine Alonso, who was chosen second runner-up, considers the pageant as another event that has given her experience and growth.      The B.S. Psychology major at the University of San Carlos in Cebu City, who was also among the Top 3 in  the 2007 MassKara Queen pageant, believes that it takes a lot of courage to be who he or she is.

“I am an Ilongga at heart who loves to travel to places and learn from people,’ Kristine says.

The 19-year-old adds that her pageant experience has taught her wisdom to embrace her roots more.     Born to Bacolod natives, Ramon and Erna, Kristine wants to continue her passion in helping take care of tires spirits and wounded hearts and her contribution in the cause to preserve the earth for herself, her family, and the people she encounters.

The lights, the cheers, and the prizes may have started to fade but Karlyn, Mona, and Kristine, who bested 21 other hopefuls,  show that they have gained more to serve as their strength and inspiration in the days ahead.

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