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FEATURE | It runs in the blood

When they joined two separate pageants during the Penafrancia fiesta, siblings Ara Isabel and Nelson “Nins” E. Diocos weren’t really expecting to win. For them, joining the Miss Bicolandia and Pretty Boy Bicolandia pageants were all in good fun, an experience from which they could look back, years from now, with thrilling memories.



The children of chemical engineer Gina Salvacion Ebio Diocos and the late Nelson Diocos, a civil engineer, of Concepcion Pequena, Naga City, Ara and Nins are each flourishing in their chosen fields—Ara in physical therapy and Nins in civil engineering.

Ara, for one, was the high school class salutatorian at University of Nueva Caceres. She also graduated Magna Cum Laude at Universidad de Santa Isabel, and is fresh out of passing the Physical Therapy Board exam last August. And as if those weren’t enough, she also happens to be one of the Ten Outstanding Students of Bicol, an Ayala Leader in 2014, and Miss Youth Nagueno in 2013.

Nins, on the other hand, a second-year college student at University of Nueva Caceres, is closely following his ate’s footsteps, setting his sights on a fruitful career in civil engineering.

Truly, they hardly needed another plaque, trophy, or certificate to show off their great potentials. But win the pageants they did, anyway, making Bicol pageant history as siblings who both bagged prestigious prizes in a single year.

BICOL STANDARD had an opportunity to sit down with Ara and Nins and listen to them share their experience and plans.

BICOL STANDARD: Hello Ara! Could you describe your experience in the Miss Bicolandia pageant for us?

ARA: It was my first time to join an actual pageant, so the whole process seemed new to me. I underwent trainings and heavy preparations prior to the pageant proper and it was never easy for a newbie like me. During our six-day pre-pageant days, I was able to gain friends, not just among my co-candidates, but also with various people I’ve encountered. It was a very nice experience which I will forever treasure for as long as I live.

BICOL STANDARD: What were the challenges that you have encountered while running for Miss Bicolandia?

ARA: Many times I doubted myself. I used to be a cowardly person, who was afraid to take risks. However, because of my supporters from whom I get my strength, I made sure that I always give my best and to always put up a good fight in everything that I do. Apart from this, I also consider my preparations as challenges: learning to adjust from a sedentary lifestyle to an active one, having a healthy and balanced diet, and learning to walk in 6.5 inch heeled shoes! I must say, nothing worth having comes easy, and those challenges help you to improve and to do better.

BICOL STANDARD: What kept you going during the competition? Who/What was your inspiration?

ARA: My family, friends, and supports were the ones who helped me get through my challenges and kept me going. They are the reasons behind this great triumph and to whom I offer my victory.

BICOL STANDARD: What do you think makes a true beauty queen?

ARA: A true beauty queen is not just about the physique, but mostly about the inner character –someone who has a good heart to share to everyone through showing concern and giving service. She is someone who could serve as a great influence, epitome, good example, and an inspiration to others.

BICOL STANDARD: As the newly crowned Miss Bicolandia 2015, what can you do to make a difference for your fellow Bicolanos?

ARA: I would prove to everyone that Miss Bicolandia is more than just a pretty face. She is someone who accepts the responsibilities and duties that come with the crown. And so, it is part of my plans this year to not just continue my legacy of serving as an inspiration, but also to create concrete programs and projects, of course, in partnership with the organizations I am involved with. I will also continue promoting my advocacies and participating in volunteer works. My reign this year, with the help of Ina and God almighty, will be a purposeful and meaningful one.
Ara, in our interview, proved to be the not only the proverbial lady with both beauty and brains, but also one blessed with a big heart. As Bicolanos, we are deeply honored to see her wear the crown and serve as a symbol for the region.

Meantime, Nins, who had been joining pageants for men frequently in the past, said joining the competition greatly improved his confidence and personality. According to Nins, joining Pretty Boy had greatly improved his confidence and personality. He added that a true man is someone who has a big and humble heart for everyone, with good values and with love and trust to God.

Being siblings who have both become icons to the Bicolano youth, they have decided to use their titles to their advantage and collaborate with each other in their programs and plans for the Bicolano people during their reign.

“As Miss Bicolandia 2015, I will soon be launching community service projects, and my brother, Nins, who is also Pretty Boy Naga City 2015, will be part of this project,” Ara says. “This shared goal will also be possible with the help of our partner organizations and other sponsors. We will be doing the best that we can do to encourage the Bicolano youth to participate and be one with us to achieve these aspirations. It will be for the betterment of not only our place, Naga City, but also to the Bicol region as a whole.”

Ara and Nins are living proof that despite the barrage of the superficial and sensationalistic in today’s society, we Bicolanos still prize that which is much more important: the rare and timeless beauty of the soul.—BICOLSTANDARD.COM

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