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What is Miss Casino Filipino?
PAGCOR’s Miss Casino Filipino Pageant is a way of paying tribute to the modern Filipina by encouraging and rewarding her talent, communication skills, community involvement, and intelligence. The pageant is also a way of hearkening back to the ancient European custom of choosing symbolic Queens to represent the nation's virtues and ideals during festivities.

Registered nurse overcomes painful past, bags Miss CF 2013 title

Becoming a queen

AT 25, Ladylyn Rivera Riva is too young to experience so much loss in her life. Growing up without a father after her parents’ separation, she lost her mother Loida to cancer when she was barely 16. Two years after that, Riva suffered another blow when her beloved grandmother died.

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These painful experiences however, did not hinder her from pursuing her dream to become a beauty queen. On September 25, 2013, Riva finally fulfilled that goal when she was crowned Miss Casino Filipino 2013. She bested 29 other beauties from different parts of the country. “I didn’t really expect this but I did my best for this one,” the 5-foot-7-inch beauty gushed right after the pageant.

Riva won half a million pesos and an additional P10,000 cash prize for winning the “Best in Swimsuit” award. PAGCOR also pledged to give P200,000 in financial aid to her chosen charity.

Going after her dreams

Riva’s aunts took care of her following the death of her mother and grandmother. With their love and support, she began joining school beauty pageants while pursuing a degree in Nursing at the Saint Gabriel School in her hometown in Kalibo, Aklan.

After earning her license as a registered nurse in 2008, Riva left her hometown and went to Manila to try her luck in several beauty pageants. However, she only managed to win as runner-up or take home special awards. Her first national pageant was the Binibining Pilipinas 2011 where she was one of the 40 official candidates. That time, good fortune was not on her side.

Winning as Miss Casino Filipino 2013 was a personal milestone for Riva. “I've been in a lot of pageants and this is the first time that I won the title. I feel so happy and blessed that all my hardships and dedication finally paid off,” she added.

A clear stand-out

This year’s Miss Casino Filipino competition was tough, with 30 equally beautiful, talented and smart beauties vying for the crown. Three contestants from each of the Casino Filipino branches and satellites in Cebu, Tagaytay, Iloilo, Bacolod, Angeles, Pavilion, Hyatt, Davao, Olongapo and ACF were selected to compete in the Miss CF finals.

Riva says her faith probably set her apart from other ladies. “The other girls were gorgeous but I think I have stronger faith. I wanted to win not only to serve but to share as well. Perhaps, I displayed that attitude onstage which captured the heart of the judges,” Riva said.

Now on its third year, the Miss Casino Filipino pageant is organized by PAGCOR. It aims to promote the modern Filipina as someone who is multi-talented, intelligent, socially active and stunningly beautiful. What makes this competition different from other local beauty pageants is its charity component.

Giving back

As PAGCOR’s ambassadress, Riva says she wants to be an inspiration to others. “I am here not for popularity’s sake. This pageant is all about service. I expect to be a part of this institution that promotes hope. I'm looking forward to promote my advocacy and touch lives,” Riva says describing what is expected of her as this year’s Miss Casino Filipino titleholder.

Riva added she is looking forward to participating in the various charitable activities of PAGCOR. “What sets the Miss CF apart from other pageants that I've joined is that we were given a chance to help the charity of our choice. I joined not only for the prizes but to also give back to the community in my own way.”

As a licensed nurse, Riva’s advocacy focuses on helping the poor and sick people. “I really have the heart to extend help to the sick especially cancer patients. My mom died of cancer that's why people who are going through such an ordeal have a special place in my heart,” she explained.

Bigger opportunities ahead

Asked if she is considering joining bigger beauty pageants like other Miss CF Alumni such as Miss Supranational 2013 titleholder Mutya Johanna Datul, Riva says she is very much open to the idea.

“I joined Binibining Pilipinas before and I intend to join again. I want to be an international beauty queen not only because I am dreaming big for myself but I also want to reach out to more people,” Riva says.

She is also not closing her doors on the possibility of joining the entertainment industry. However, Riva says she will focus first on her duties as PAGCOR’s ambassadress. “At the moment, I am committed to fulfilling my duties as the reigning Miss Casino Filipino. I am open to different opportunities. If show business would come my way, I won't mind trying it out. After all life is too short,” Riva added.

Tough decisions

PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Cristino Naguiat Jr. who was head of the judges during the coronation night lauded this year’s batch of Miss CF beauties. “They are all very beautiful, talented and smart. We had a hard time choosing the winner because all the candidates deserve to win. However, we had to pick only one,” he noted.

Miss Supranational 2013 winner Mutya Johanna Datul shared the PAGCOR Chief’s observation. “Napakaganda nilang lahat! Ang hirap magdesisyon kung sino yung magiging top five. Lahat sila matatalino at magaganda. Ang pinaglabanan na lang ay yung tapang nila at yung confidence nila sa sarili nila. Lahat ng nanalo ngayon, they all deserve their title,” the international beauty queen added.

Datul joined the Miss Casino Filipino 2012 as a representative of CF Heritage but failed to get the crown. However, she did not lose hope and in 2013 joined Binibining Pilipinas Gold where she won the Binibining Pilipinas Supranational title, and eventually the Miss Supranational 2013.

Aside from Chairman Naguiat and Datul, the other judges were actor/model Dominique Roque, Binibining Pilipinas World 2008 Danielle Castaño, famous designer Paul Cabral, National Housing Authority General Manager Atty. Chito Cruz, and Miss Earth 2008 Karla Paula Henry.

The candidates were judged based on their Beauty, Poise & Elegance, Intelligence, and over-all impact.

The Miss Casino Filipino 2013 Coronation Night was hosted by celebrities Troy Montero and Angel Jacob and was broadcast live to different Casino Filipino branches.

Other winners

Apart from Riva, other winners of this year’s Miss Casino Filipino pageant were 1st runner-up Anna Fernandina Buquid who also won the Best in Evening Gown; 2nd runner-up Catherine Marie Almirante; 3rd runner-up Marie Sharon Grace Angel; and 4th runner-up Bernadette Salinel.

Other awardees were Mary Elaine Gonzales who was named “Miss Congeniality”, Marie Eugenie Lourdes Abeleda who was named “Miss Photogenic”, and Jaminna Babar who won “Best in Talent”.

The runners-up received the following cash prizes: P400,000 (1st runner-up), P300,000 (2nd runner-up), P200,000 (3rd runner-up) and P100,000 (4th runner-up). Each of the special awardees meantime went home with a cash prize of P10,000.

Meanwhile, Sharon Grace Angel won the Miss CF Social Media Darling Award and was given a sash and bouquet.

The Winners!

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THIS year’s batch of Miss Casino Filipino winners: 4th Runner Up Bernadette Salinel, 3rd Runner Up Marie Sharon Grace Angel, 2nd Runner Up Catherine Marie Almirante, 1st Runner Up Anna Fernandina Buquid and Miss CF 2013 Ladylyn Riva, stand tall and proud following their spectacular performance at the Miss CF Grand Coronation Night held at the Airport Casino Filipino last September 25, 2013.

The Candidates

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