Butuan hopefuls in Bb. Pilipinas through the years

By Jackie Tigbas

The buzz around town is that of a Butuanon young lady, Dia Mancao Magno is joining Binibining Pilipinas 2019. Five winners will be crowned title-holders the end of summer season in Manila.

Magno is not only a beauty queen material but an active athlete, she is a member of the Philippine badminton team at the 2011 Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia. The Bb. Pilipinas tilt is her very first in a beauty competition. At 24 years old, she is a graduate of Ateneo de Manila University.

In the past, Butuan beauty queens and aspirants had join the national beauty contest through the years but not one grab any of the five major titles or even minor ones. Two or three former Mutya hong Butuan (Miss Butuan) title holders from 1990s to 2000s joined and did not even landed top 15 or the semi-finals.

But as Butuanons they already graciously made the city proud. After all, Butuan since 1970s was known as the home beautiful young ladies studying in Cebu and Manila.

Other than beauty contests, however, one Butuanon lady in early 1970s made it big in the world of advertising. Her name is Vivian Avila, who became the first Miss Magnolia of San Miguel Corporation after a prestigious search in Manila universities.

Avila became the official endorser of the famous ice cream and many believed her face was the most beautiful that time.

But before Avila, there was Laurice Guillen, a stage actress and photographic model. She had her portrait in classic black and white poster posted in department stores and photo shops. Guillen, the film director today is of course a respected leader in mainstream and independent movie industry.

Both ladies should be honored by Butuanons who achieved so much in their time and even now.

Other Butuanon beauties who made a name in their line of work include Charito “Ching” Plaza, a former Miss Agusan High School in the late 70s and now holds a national government position.

At Urios college front, Carmela Guzman was named Miss Urios High School in mid-70s. She is now a physician.

A former Mutya hong Butuan, also of the early 70s, Maritess Guingona was considered the most beautiful and intelligent Miss Butuan title-holder. Now based in Manila and involved in spiritual and peace work.

But the most achieving Miss Butuan title-holder who is now a lawyer and dean of the College of Law of Father Saturnino Urios University is Atty. Josefe Sorrera-Ty. A high school valedictorian and CPA topnotcher before she took up law at UP. Many want her to hold an elected public position.

In early 2000s a young lady from San Francisco, Agusan del Sur won a major title in the search for Miss Philippine National Red Cross and named Miss Mindanao. She won second place to a lady from Bacolod who later became Bb. Pilipinas Universe years after.

Other Butuan and Caraga beauties also landed as professional fashion models in Manila’s modeling industry. But one Siargao lady did more, she won the Mutya ng Pilipinas and the Model of the World title in New York. More than that, she became a pilot and sources say manned a commercial plane abroad.

But then, centuries before, has anyone heard of Twanbaloka, the Butuan river maiden who elope and married a Brunei prince in 15th century? Ask our local playwright who has written a play turned a minor production and wants to produce a big Butuan historical musical.

Hail to the legendary achieving beautiful women of Butuan and Caraga!

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