Issue of July 8, 2018
Mt. Province

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SLT alumnus is Cordillera’s bet in 2018 Mr Philippines
by Ofelia C. Empian

CORDILLERA REPRESENTS -- Joining the long line of hopefuls around the nation, Ephraim Paul Eral Paran, 25, of Wangal, La Trinidad, Benguet will represent the Cordillera in the search for Mr. Philippines 2018 this July 28. Paran advocates the love for culture bringing to the fore the richness of the Cordillera culture in the pageant stage. -- Ofelia Empian

A former School of Living Tradition student in Wangal, La Trinidad, Benguet is now aiming to represent the people of the Cordillera in the national stage through the prestigious search for Mr. Philippines 2018.

Ephraim Paul Eral Paran, 25, a proud Ibaloy from Barangay Wangal, aims to bring pride to his roots through the competition.

“This is my dream to step into the national stage and to advocate the love for culture because with this generation, we tend to forget who we are so it’s nice to go back to the values of our culture,” Paran said.

Paran, a Mass Communication graduate with honorable mention at Lyceum of the Philippines University Manila, said he has always dreamed of making it to the national stage that is why as young as 14 years old he dabbled into joining pageants and modeling.

He has joined about 50 pageants not only in Baguio and Benguet but also in nearby provinces, initially to help support him financially and as a way to combat his “shyness” with the usual stereotype of Ibaloys as “shy mango.”

He said these experiences helped forge his drive and resolve to further make it in the nationals.

Prior to going to Manila for his schooling, he spent time learning more about Ibaloy dances and playing of the gongs under the multi-awarded Wangal SLT under the leadership of Serraida Caga.

Paran said joining in the national stage proved a challenge for him especially when it comes to the height advantage of other contestants.

“The other contestants are a lot bigger and taller than me, they are giants compared to me but pageants now are more than the physical attributes but also of one’s intelligence and character,” he said.

This didn’t deter him, as he surrounded himself with “the best people” to help him prepare for the competition.

The Mr. Philippines would be Paran’s comeback as he took five years off from joining pageants to mold him. He said this would be his first and probably the last dabbling into pageantry.

“If this is my last, I should give my all,” he said.

Igorots in the past have made it to the national stage of male beauty pageants, paved the way by Eric Salvador of Kapangan, Benguet who won the Mr. Philippines World title in 1999 followed by Chriz Comicho Dulagan of Sagada, Mountain Province crowned as Man of the World 2016 and Darryl Joshua Gomez of Bontoc, Mountain Province who took a shot at the Misters of Filipinas pageant in 2016.

All these male representatives of the Cordillera have showed what Igorots can do in the national stage.

“People now have a different reaction when you say you are an ‘Igorot.’ Most of the people I met, as a medical representative based in La Union, when I tell them I am an Igorot are very welcoming. Tumataas na ang tingin nila sa atin,” he said.

Paran is currently in Manila training for the pageant.

“I am asking the support of our kailians to join me in my quest for the title. This is not just my battle. It is for the kaigorotan as well,” he said.

The presentation of the candidates for the Mr. Philippines 2018 will be on July 9 at Resorts World Manila, July 21 would be the national costume presentation in Ilocos while the coronation would be on July 28.

After the press launching on July 9 would be the opening of the online voting for the candidates.

Paran would join the gong relay as part of the celebration of the Cordillera Day on July 13. Follow his page at “Paul Paranian” on Facebook.

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