Just wanted to dedicate this post to the beautiful Ghenesis Latugat who is representing Baguio at this year’s Miss Universe Philippines pageant.
I’ve never had any family or even any friends participate in something as big as Miss Universe Philippines before. So we are very excited and so proud to root for Ghenesis on her journey toward representing the Philippines at Miss Universe.
It has been such a joy to watch her competing in the various Miss Universe Philippines challenges. And all while proudly sharing her roots and culture to the country and the world. Born and raised in Tabuk City, Kalinga, Ghenesis is the daughter of Gervacio and Elenita Latugat. Part of the indigenous peoples of the Cordillera region in the Northern Philippines, Ghenesis is proudly a daughter of the Guilayon and Gaddang tribes. She has been finishing up her college studies at Saint Louis University in Baguio City.
My mother’s side of the family is from Cagayan while my father’s side is from Kalinga. Gervacio is the son of my dad’s older sister, the late Susana Latugat. Growing up here in the States, my only connection to my Kalinga roots would be through my dad’s singing of Kalinga ballads. It wouldn’t be until being able to travel to Kalinga for the first time when I was about seven years old did I first get to experience the wonderfully vibrant culture of my roots. Everything from the colorful woven fabrics to the traditional courtship or battle preparation dances to of course the delicious food. And I will always cherish the traditional bead necklace a great-aunt gave me right before we left Tabuk City that first visit.
So aside from rooting for a niece, it’s also so awesome to have the spotlight be shone on a culture and a peoples that don’t normally get that national attention. Let’s face it, Philippine entertainment and media seem to like ignore the northern half of Luzon even exists.
But Ghenesis has been able to bring her culture and heritage to the forefront, and proudly so. All while being confident and empowering as well. Seeing all the excited comments about having someone like her representing the Cordilleras has been heartwarming.
No matter what happens at Saturday’s Miss Universe Philippines finals, we are already so proud of what Ghenesis has accomplished. It has been exciting and fun to watch her give her all. And even though we might be thousands of miles across the Pacific, we’ll be rooting for and supporting her all the way!