From Domestic Helper to Filipino Beauty Queen


The journey to beauty throne was not easy for Jessarie Dumaguing. This 24-year-old girl from Port of Puerto Princesa in the island of Palawan worked as a domestic helper since a young age.

When she was only four years old, her parents separated, and she was sent to her aunt. By the age of 11, she started working as a helper just to make ends meet. This year, she decided to enter the Miss Philippines competition and save herself from poverty.

Jessarie said that she had never dreamed of becoming a beauty queen when she was a child. Since she grew up in a simple place, she finds it difficult to adjust to life in Manila because technological development has taken its course.

She doesn’t see the pageant only as beauty competition. For her, it is more since all of the competitors are there because of their advocacy. Jessarie is there to support the idea of education and to promote it to young people. 

The fact that she struggled to finish her schooling due to financial troubles motivated her to start joining pageants since she was 17. When she decided to enter the Binibining Pilipinas, she was aware of the fact that it would not be easy to compete. Every night, the competitors would have a training, which included 20 rounds of the catwalk. She finds the catwalk to be pretty hard because you need to do it in five-inch heels, which makes it quite tiring.

Rodgil Flores, the owner of Kagandahang studio, says that the beauty pageant is deeply rooted in Filipino culture and that it was all ignited once the Philippines became the beauty competition super force. Four Miss Earth came out of Binibining, two Miss International winners, as well as ten more in other pageants.

Among many phases of the competition, one that expects models to shine as bright as they may is presenting the unique dresses that symbolize their hometowns. In this part of the pageant, Jessarie wore an amazing Tandikan evening gown by Jobel Claus Silvestre with a peacock tail attached. This dress depicted the peacock pheasant of Palawan province and was made especially for Jessary.

This young girl saw in the world of pageantry the opportunity to exude physical excellence and intellect. She knows that the crown comes with a lot of public exposure as well as job possibilities, and she hopes she’ll meet a lot of people that can help her with her advocacy. She grew up with the mantra that education was the key to success, and she didn’t give up when she faced obstacles. She trusted herself and went further. She did not win the competition, but she did get a spotlight she had prayed for.