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Features: Fresh from the Chronicles of the Classics: The Search for the Mr. and Ms. Ideal Thomasian Nursing Personality 2009 Takes a Leaf from Literature

It’s the time of the year where beauty and brains meet in one grand affair—the Search for the Ideal Thomasian Nursing Personality 2009 proved itself to be one of the most spectacular events of the recently culminated Nursing Week last November 20.

It was one magnificent evening—a parade of splendor, beauty, grace, wit and charm. During the pre-finals, the original candidates were handpicked through a pre-pageant screening where they displayed their inexplicable charisma and wits before a scrutinizing panel. The long list of twenty-four pageant hopefuls consisted of a cornucopia of freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors. These finalists competed in a battle of presence and intellect as they vied for this year’s most-coveted title of Mr. and Ms. Ideal Thomasian Nursing Personality.

The night was pumped-up with thrill as the spectators gazed once more at the then reigning Mr. & Ms. Ideal Thomasian Nursing Personality 2009—Mr. Vincent Emmanuel Santos (III-9) and Ms. Charmaine Vanessa Chamberlin (IV-3). Both were majestically adorned with classic royal ensemble, escorted each by a dancer carousing in trance-like revelry as they made their entrance. The night was even made more festive by the Nursing Dance Troupe with their interpretative routine, which ended with the emergence of the twenty-four pageant finalists, all dressed-up and in-persona of the literary character that they were to portray with justice. Pageant finalists sashayed across the stage, flawlessly clad in elaborate costumes posing as literary couples paying homage to this year’s theme: Literature.
The program was hosted upstage by Mr. Al Idian of De La Salle University and our very own Ms. Patricia Casas of IV-2. Roving hosts Eunice Abad (III-1) and Issa Perez De Tagle (IV-8) added a cool twist to the program through their conversational spiels with the audience. Gracing the event were pageant winners from the past years, distinguished alumni, and representatives from the various sponsors John Robert Powers, Piso Print, Analog Soul and The Face Shop.

Justin Cagulada (I-4) bagged the award of Best in Talent for his unique and spontaneous dance number during the Talent Night, which was held prior to the coronation night. 

The awards for Best in Theme Wear were won by John Michael Mendoza (III-7), who portrayed Fitzwilliam Darcy of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice”; and Mary Margaret Felix (IV-4), who donned the enchantments of elf-princess Arwen from J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings”. The same pair won the Best in Casual Wear award, sponsored by Analog Soul, and Best in Formal Wear, wherein they both exhibited utter elegance and style in their crisp coat and avant-garde gown. 

Not left behind were Paulo Banzon (III-2) and Jeraika Tio (III-10), winners of the Best in Uniform Award, who exuded the most appeal in their college uniforms. The titles of Mr. and Ms. Congeniality were granted to Gil Joson (I-1)and Ina Kristina Pangan (III-7) for their exemplary amiability towards the other finalists.

Zaphiel Capuno (III-2) and Ina Kristina Pangan (III-7) won the titles of Mr. & Ms. Community Development, for their remarkable participation in the community extension service programs that took place in Marilao, Bulacan days before the event. Pictorial standouts Paulo Banzon (III-2) and Mary Margaret Felix (IV-4) were dubbed as Mr. and Ms. Red Images for delivering their fierce and striking shots during the pictorial hosted by the Red Images, Inc.

Truly, it’s not just fine looks that come to play in the pageant but the brains as well, as a casual question-and-answer segment ensued before the narrowing of the finalists into a chosen few. The finalists were asked to randomly pick a literary character and relate it to themselves. After the top ten finalists were announced, each of the finalists was asked another set of nerve-wracking and challenging questions, which they all answered with grace and substance and on which only a few made their mark. JT Salmon, Zaphiel Capuno, Kim Martin, John Michael Mendoza and Justin Cagulada comprised the Top 5 for the guys, while Jeraika Tio, Ina Kristina Pangan, Marxxandra Magalona, Mary Margaret Felix and Cornelia Joyce Morelos completed the magic list of five for the girls.

During the final question-and-answer portion, each of the finalists was asked to answer a single but wit-provoking question—that is, as to how literature is able to influence both the Nursing profession and the society. All of them were able to answer with poise, elegance and substance, yet certain people answered a cut above the rest.
The final verdict:

2nd Runner-up: Justin Cagulada (I-4) and Marxxandra Magalona (III-6)
1st Runner-up: John Michael Mendoza (III-7) and Mary Margaret Felix (IV-4)

Mr. and Ms. Ideal Thomasian Nursing Personality 2009: Zaphiel Capuno
(III-2) and Cornelia Joyce Morelos (III-7)

Conversely, every contestant proved to be a winner in their own right. The audience attested to that as the entire venue was filled with earsplitting cheers and applauses of students who were tirelessly supporting their favorite candidates.

Truly, this year’s pageant has turned out to be a fruitful endeavor by the Nursing Central Board of Students. Furthermore, it was a soulful reflection of how hard the contestants worked and practiced to make such a successful pageant endearingly possible. It was certainly not a typical Nursing week occurrence; it was a festivity, and of course, a celebration of the Nursing family that was surely something to look forward to next year. 

Here’s a short interview with the newly-crowned Mr. and Ms. Ideal Thomasian Nursing Personalities of 2009, Mr. Zaphiel “Zaph” Capuno and Ms. Cornelia “Lia” Joyce Morelos.

NJ: How does it feel to win the title of Mr. / Ms. Ideal Thomasian Nursing Personality?

Zaph Capuno (ZC): “Medyo pressured kasi parang you need to fit the standard. I didn’t really expect to win the title, akala ko si Jomi (Mendoza) yung mananalo. And nung after kong sumagot, parang pagod na ‘yung crowd, na wala nang nag-rereact. Ganun. But I felt blessed because I wasn’t expecting that I would win. After all, everyone else was at his/her best that night. Being crowned as the Mr. Ideal Thomasian Nursing Personality did not really sink into me, until I realized in the long run that it was both an honor and a challenge, which entails a lot of responsibilities. Yes, I am glad that I won, but really…just the whole experience of preparing and the actual pageant made it already unforgettable.”

Cornelia Morelos (CM): “At first, I was really, really shocked. If you actually saw my expression, you could really see the raw emotions—winning was really THAT unexpected. Being one of the so-called underdogs of the competition, I knew I wasn’t the crowd favorite. I didn’t get any special awards and I wasn’t the most popular person in the group. In fact, I saw myself as an audience than a participant. *laughs* Kidding aside, I feel very blessed. This title has an honor in its bearing that gave me such confidence in myself that I can do so much in my own unique ways, and it felt so rewarding.”

NJ: What do you think is your edge over the other finalists?

ZC: “I think what made me stand out was the fact that I was able to maintain my composure, in a very calm and collected way, even if I was under pressure then. But I believe it was just a small part of that Zaphiel who went onstage. It was really my friends who helped me prepare and get through the whole thing. Without them, I wouldn’t have earned the title at all.”

CM: “Maybe the one thing that’s striking with me was my height, because I am the tallest among the group. Sabi ko, sige…’yung iba sila yung favorite, ‘yung iba they have something unique’. *sigh* But I realized then that what made me stand out amongst the other contestants was the fact that I had a different outlook when it comes to the pageant. I’m not the typical pageant girl. I don’t know anything about pageants. This is the first time that I joined such contest. So I think ‘yung spontaneity ko, in a way na hindi ako rehearsed, was my advantage.”

NJ: Who do you think deserve to win other than yourself and why?

ZC: “For me, lahat naman talaga deserving manalo and nakapag-prepare naman nang maayos for the pageant. I really expected na si Jomi (Mendoza) ang mananalo kasi siya yung parang crowd favorite ‘nun. I think he deserved to win because he was very prepared then. He also carried himself really well onstage.”

CM: “Actually, I believed that everyone in the pageant had ample chances of winning the crown, but I’ve always thought that the one who deserved it was Ate MM Felix. She’s friendly, and the way she projects herself both on stage and during the pictorials and practices showed the true stance of a winner. She was also the crowd-favorite during the coronation night.”

NJ: How did you prepare for the whole pageant? Were there special people involved, or were there some funny moments while you were on the process?

ZC: “My friends helped me prepare for all the stages of the pageant. Some of them helped me choreograph my dance and taught me how to sing properly. Some of them lent me their clothes for my costume and formal wear. I even borrowed Ma’am Libut’s suspenders because mine were too short. Ma’am Gascon and Ma’am Kara also became my makeup artists during the talent night.”

CM: “I remember that before the pageant (coronation) night, while I was so nervous, my mom said to me that I should have fun and just forget the weight of the expenses that we’ve spent for the pageant. ‘Never mind the gastos’, she says. Kasi this event can only be experienced by a selected few—or the so-called chosen ones. *laughs* She told me to just go along with it and enjoy. And what I liked most about the preparations were those gown-fitting sessions—which always made me feel like there’s something special that’s going to happen then—and the practices, as I gained new friends and learned new things too.”

NJ: Have you encountered any difficulties during the pageant?

ZC: “It wasn’t easy preparing for the pageant because of the busy schedule that we had. We are always going home late and had less time to rest. It stressed me out especially since it was my 1st time to join a pageant.”

CM: “I can say that I’m not that graceful as compared to the other participants. I had difficulties in walking and maintaining my poise. Kasi in everyday life, I just walk for the very sake of walking. I didn’t know that there’s an art in walking pala. I also have a lot of nerves because like what I said before, I’m used to being an audience and not the participant.”

NJ: How was it being with the other finalists?

ZC: “Okay naman, masaya to be with other people. It was fun because we had different personalities that seemed to have jived with one other. It was like there wasn’t any competition at all because we were helping each other all the while.”

CM: “Being with the other finalists, I felt no pressure in a way that I saw them as my friends—not as my fellow contenders. During the practices, we developed a kind of closeness that we could compare to that of our relationships with our friends.”

NJ: Now that you’re the reigning Mr. / Ms. Ideal Thomasian Nursing Personality, what could you offer and how would you prepare for the Search for the Thomasian Personality?

ZC: “Right now, I’m updating myself on the different events happening inside and outside of the country. *laughs* Kidding aside, I’m just really taking this time to relax in order to prepare myself for the upcoming pageant.”

CM: “I don’t know what’s going to happen but my friends are extending their help in practicing me with the question and answer portions already. *laughs* I also think that the gift certificate from John Robert Powers would really help me and Zaph with boosting our confidence for the upcoming pageant. I believe that I would be a versatile person then, and this versatility is what I could offer. They could see more of “me”, compared to other participants. Kasi ‘yung iba, they think that you need to fit a certain mold to be a pageant contestant, and I think it should be the opposite.”

By: Demi Molinos, Giselle Cruz and James Manabat


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