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  • Writer's pictureAbrielle Dalilis (intern)

Mr. Kalinga 2024 shares plans after taking home the crown

Justine Peralta Capito, a second-year Criminology student who represented Tabuk City, took home the crown and was declared the first-ever Mr. Kalinga during the Mr. and Ms. Kalinga 2024 on February 13, 2024.


In a phone interview, he shared that he never thought of bringing home the crown because, for him, everyone is a strong candidate and all of them deserve it.


He was stunned, felt blessed, and at the same time very happy when he was announced as Mr. Kalinga 2024.


“I was overwhelmed and left in awe because I never received any minor awards. It made me think that I will probably land in 1st runner-up next to Mr. Lubuagan,” he shared.


“I really can't explain my feelings at that moment; it was all mixed up. All I was uttering was ‘Thank you, Lord’ until I was already crowned,” he added.


When asked how he feels every time people call him “Mr. Kalinga” or the title is attached to his name, he shared that he has no idea how to respond because he feels shy since he is not used to people giving him that kind of attention.


“There are times when I pass by on the sidewalks, people will look at me and say, ‘Hala, si Mr. Kalinga’, I don't know what the proper response is, but all I can do is just smile and nod at them.”


He also admitted that he gets the “kilig” feeling whenever that happens.


He shared that one of the reasons why he joined the said event was his Cultural Sustainability through Communal-based Education advocacy. He believes that the young Kalingas are the ones to continue the legacy of our culture and that is why it should be taught, and to also break the pageant stereotypes where people think that it is all about just the physique.


He emphasized that joining pageants is about purpose and intentions.

Reigning as Mr. Kalinga, he shared that he is already starting to fulfill his advocacy by organizing a plan and a series of activities. He hopes that he will be able to conduct the first activity in the first week of March.


It was revealed in a PTV Cordillera interview on February 19 that he was bullied online and received hate comments when he was presented as the representative of Tabuk City for the said event.


When asked about his sentiments, he shared that he felt sad after reading the comments because he thinks that kindness is slowly vanishing from people’s hearts.


“[You know], those people bashing and throwing comments at me are aware that they would hurt me yet they still chose to do so,” he shared.


He also added that he had foreseen such a thing when he joined, which is why he was somehow affected; however, he was able to step up his game and win the pageant, and the best thing to do is just ignore and pray for them.


He shared that he doesn’t get much online hate anymore, although just right after the coronation night, people were comparing him to other candidates as if he didn’t deserve to win the crown.


“I was kind of disappointed, but at the same time, I was already numb. They can do nothing about it. They can throw side comments at me and hate me all they want, but at the end of the day, they can never manipulate the results.”


His message towards his bashers and bashers in general says that they must refrain from doing such hateful acts because it would feel bad once they experience what they are doing to other people, and that bashing destroys someone’s confidence as it is one of the root causes of mental-related concerns.


“It's on you if you want to be the cause of someone’s anguish. Instead of hating, let kindness and understanding prevail in you.”


Despite having bashers online and offline, he still has someone beside him who supported and is supporting him in his reign. He feels grateful to his family, friends, mentors from the team, and supporters to whom he owes his success.


“Without you, I wouldn't be the Mr. Kalinga I am now. Please continue supporting me. Rest assured that I will do my best in everything that I will do for the community and for the Kalinga People.”


When asked if he has any plans to join other pageants in the future, he said that he would probably join if there were more chances or opportunities for him to impact and influence more people.


He proudly shared that he had been joining pageants where he was the titleholder and that Mr. and Ms. Kalinga 2024 was his fifth.