From volleybelle to beauty queen: Calinawan spikes her way towards pageantry

FEU Advocate
November 08, 2022 00:59

Former Far Eastern University (FEU) Lady Tamaraw Marianne Calinawan was crowned as the new M.S Cebu Philippines 2022 under the Mrs. Cebu Philippines pageant last October 23 at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel & Casino in Cebu City.

Ready to spike outside the court with fortitude, excellence and uprightness, the 24-year-old beauty queen sought her way in proving that her skills and passion cannot only be used inside the court, but it can also change other people’s lives by fighting for her advocacy to build a bright future for children.

Green-and-gold beginnings

Calinawan entered the Lady Tamaraws as a transferee in 2016 wherein she needed to complete a one-year residency before being eligible to play in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP).

Noong one-year residency pa lang ako, I am not eligible to play yet for the UAAP so it [FEU] served as my training ground (Back when I was still in my one-year residency, I was not yet eligible to play for the UAAP so it [FEU] served as my training ground)," she stated in an interview with FEU Advocate.

The former volleybelle Calinawan enthusiastically spoke about her most memorable experience as a Lady Tam; which is to represent the green-and-gold in the beach volleyball tourney.

‘Yung pinakamagandang part talaga sa pagiging athlete ko is siguro ‘yung nag-beach volleyball ako kasi ‘yun ang pinakamahaba ‘yung playing time ko (The best part in my athletic career is maybe when I joined beach volleyball because I have longer playing time),” she recalled.

Calinawan also played together with UAAP Season 80 Team Captain Bernadeth Pons in the UAAP indoor volleyball tournament wherein they clinched a silver podium finish in the finals match against the De La Salle University Lady Spikers.

Life beyond court

Before leaving her volleyball career, Calinawan shared how she achieved one of her goals as she was casted for a supporting role in the ABS-CBN television series “Ang Sa Iyo Ay Akin”.

Noong medyo pa-stop na ako sa paglalaro, na-try ko maging cast ng mga teleserye sa ABS-CBN. So parang, ‘ah okay, na-check ko na yung ‘yung isang checklist ko sa bucket list ko (When I was close to stopping my volleyball journey, I got casted for TV shows in ABS-CBN. So I was like, okay, I crossed that one off of my bucket list),” the former Lady Tamaraw said.

Following the acting stint, Calinawan moved back to her hometown Sibonga in Cebu where she got engaged and gave birth to her first child. 

After giving birth, a friend invited her to join Mrs. Cebu Philippines, despite not having any prior experience with beauty pageants, because of her wit and modeling background.

Sabi nila ‘malay mo, try mo lang’. Naisip ko rin na oo nga ‘no, kasi na-try ko nang maging extra sa teleserye tapos na-try ko na rin ‘yong modeling, so try ko naman siguro ‘yong pageantry ngayon (They said ‘who knows, I should just try it’. I thought so, too, since I have already tried acting and modeling, maybe I should try pageantry now),” she stated.

Building her legacy

Calinawan’s journey and preparations were not easy as a mother as it meant leaving her child to prepare for her beauty queen duties.

Luckily, she was able to push through together with her team consisting of Leo Sanchez of Kagandahang Flores Camp for her Pasarela training, Ton Lao of Team Catriona for her question and answer training, and Miss Universe Philippines 2014 Mary Jean Lastimosa for her other preparations. 

Earning the title of M.S Cebu Philippines 2022 came unexpectedly for Calinawan as it is the first beauty pageant she had ever joined.

“Actually, ‘di ko talaga in-expect kasi first pageant ko. Until now parang ‘ah, okay nanalo ako, totoo pala ‘to’ (Actually, I did not expect this at all because this is my first pageant. Until now I still tell myself ‘okay, you actually won and this is real’),” she expressed.

With the crown, the FEU-bred beauty queen advocates for young kids who wish to become like her by establishing grassroot programs.

‘Yung plan ko is mag-organize ng grassroots program, most especially sa sports, sa province areas. That way, I can help younger kids din na ma-discover ‘yung talents nila sa sports or artistry or kung ano ‘yung mga talent nila (My plan is to organize grassroots programs, most especially in sports, in provincial areas. That way, I can help younger kids discover their talents in sports, artistry, or whatever talent they have),” she stated.

Calinawan added that she also aims to help aspiring athletes to pursue sports in universities with the aid of scholarships.

“That’s their way para maybe they can get a scholarship in big universities like me kasi gano’n din ako eh, sa scholarships din ako grumaduate since high school until college (That’s their way so they can, maybe get a scholarship in big universities like me because that’s what I did, I graduated with the help of scholarships since high school until college),” she said.

The Tamaraw community and the country have yet to witness the blossoming career of the green-and-gold blooded beauty in the world of pageantry once she decides to compete in Mrs. Philippines International this year.

- Ma. Katlene R. Angcanan and Angel Joyce C. Basa

(Photo courtesy of Marianne Calinawan)