One day after Miss Ahtisa Manalo won first runner-up at Miss International 2018 contest in Japan on Nov. 9, another Filipina was crowned first runner-up at Miss Lumiere International World 2018 beauty pageant held in Johor Bahru in Malaysia on Saturday night.
Donna Marie Jan Balaor, 25, of TreceMartires, Cavite, finished second in the pageant in search of the luminous woman who cultivates a core of peace and self awareness.
Last year, Sammie Anne Legaspi, now national director of Miss Lumiere Philippines contest, also finished first runner-up in the same pageant.
Miss Belgium Olivia Talaronek was crowned Miss Lumiere International World 2018. Other winners were: Sri Landa, second runner-up; Zambia, third runner-up; and India, fourth runner-up. Other candidates in the Top 10 were from Vietnam, Singapore, France, Russia and Honduras.
Days before Balaor left for the pageant, she says: “One funny thing about me is that I don’t eat pork. I honestly can’t tell why but since I was a kid, I just hate the smell and the taste of pork so vegetables became my best buddies!”
“I am proud to represent my country and to tell the world that I am adopted and raised by a member of the LGBTQIA community – a lesbian. I was raised by my ‘amma’ to be a strong, faithful woman,” says Balaor, during an interview with the members of the press.
Balaor recalls: “After 17 years, I was blessed to meet my biological parents. I could still remember how we hugged each other so tight and how we wished that time would stop for a moment so we could truly feel the love and care that I’ve missed for years.”
The beauty queen from Cavite graduated with the degree Bachelor of Science Major in International Travel Tourism Management at the Lyceum of the Philippines University.
She is also part of the PinkDot, a nonprofit movement started by a group of individuals who care deeply about the place that LGBT Singaporeans call home.
“I was able to be part of this organization because of my amma and through this, I realized how blessed we are to have the LGBTQIA in our society because they play a very important role in making our community a joyful, more colorful one,” says Balaor.