KADAYAWAN’S GEM. Jenfin Puroc Aguan, a Bago Tagabawa, was crowned Hiyas ng Kadayawan on Friday, August 18. (Photo courtesy of Davao City Information Office)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The newly-crowned Hiyas ng Kadayawan this year, Jenfin Puroc Aguan, hopes to take advantage of her victory by empowering her fellow youth to get involved in activities aimed at improving their skills.

“I want to tell them that instead of early marriage, I want to encourage them to join pageant competitions. I want to encourage them to participate in activities that could enhance their skills and confidence as well,” Aguan said Friday, August 18.

Early marriage as human rights issue

Early marriage is a traditional practice among the indigenous cultural communities, but under the law, the minimum age for marriage is 18. The United Nations Children’s Fund sees early marriage as a fundamental violation fo human rights because it compromises a girl’s development.

Aguan, a Bagobo Tagabawa, was crowned Hiyas on Friday night. The title was previously held by Inna Maristela Cassandra Garcia, a Bagobo K’lata and a marketing management student.

“Luyo sa mga pagpaningkamot, luyo sa mga kanang mga problema na naranasan namo sa among practice, nakamit gyud nako ang success nga giampuan gyud nako og maayo,” (Behind the endeavours, behind the problems we experienced during practice, I’ve achieved the success that I really prayed for) Aguan said during he coronation night held at the University of Southeastern Philippines (USEP) gymnasium.

‘A victory to show to the world’

Her performance that depicted a story of the beginning of water as source of life also bested other contestants. A call center agent, Aguan wants to dedicate her victory to her tribe by showing the world who they are.

She said she believes that her “self-confidence, trust and faith in God” made her stood out from the rest of the 10 other candidates from the other tribes. Jerlyn Dalao Macasi of the Kagan tribe won ‘Hiyas sa Panaghiusa’ (first runner-up), while Gifer Joy Roldan Aguio of the Matigsalug tribe was the ‘Hiyas sa Kalambuan’ (second runner-up). (davaotoday.com)

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