The opening question was: Do you have a boyfriend?
Jesseth Nez Sendrijas Pasagad gave an honest answer: “All I can say is that I have someone special inspiring me right now. I’m trying to focus more on building my career as an engineer and as a servant to the community.”
Crowned Miss Teen Bohol 2012 first runner-up and Miss Talent at 16, Jesseth has been practically on the spotlight ever since. So much that when she graduated Magna Cum Laude for Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering at Palawan State University, she was the first Boholana beauty queen turned petroleum engineer.
Now 22, she juggles her time to reading, studying, playing the guitar, singing, and at times, joining beauty pageants. She is a good daughter in that she wants to fulfill her mother's frustration of being a beauty queen.
As one of the early favorites of Miss Bohol 2018, to be a beauty queen with a purpose is something that Jesseth knows too well. Her advocacy is about "Pasiga Gikan sa Basura” which intents to convert solid waste to sustainable energy that will hopefully give electricity to communities in Bilar town.
Let’s see how she fares in this tête-à-tête with your VRS, conducted a week before the pageant.
As one of the early favorites of Miss Bohol 2018, Jesseth Nez Pasagad has the most unique background as she graduated Magna Cum Laude with the degree of Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering, a male dominated course which she managed to finish with flying colors. Photo courtesy: Miss Bohol
What’s your type of a man?
“I’m a very simple and quirky person so I’d love to be with a man who can jive with my antics without judging me. I also involve myself in a lot of activities and organizations so I’d appreciate a man who is supportive and understanding, someone who’s not possessive nor insecure of my personal endeavors towards self-growth.”
What sort of preparations are you doing for Miss Bohol 2018? Are you also going to be trained (on good grooming, poise, etc.) by a beauty queen?
“I’m currently giving huge importance on understanding my advocacy so I’m working a lot on my feasibility study. Also, I’ve been practicing my walk and poses, and I watch a lot of YouTube videos on how to be more graceful and composed even off-stage. I actually don’t have a formal trainer but I do have a handful of people helping and giving me constructive criticisms.”
Do you have secrets sustaining your poise, your grace under pressure, especially during the crucial points in any contest?
“I could say that my capability of being comfortable and graceful while under pressure was really honed through a lot of involvement and experience. I did not become this confident with myself overnight. It look a lot of humiliating public speeches and cringe-worthy performances before I really learned how to carry myself with grace and assertiveness. So I guess the secret is to just put yourself out there and step out of your comfort zone. Experience is the best teacher!”
Would you rather be smart but not too beautiful, or beautiful but not too smart?
“ I’d choose to be smart but not too pretty (physically). The perception of beauty is very subjective because we have different standards for what is beautiful. Being smart gives me the opportunity to have an impact on my community by imparting my ideas and knowledge. But being smart alone is not enough. One has to be compassionate as well. Knowledge with compassion, this is the kind of beauty I want for myself.”
Have you always been smart since you were a kid?
“Hmmm. If the context of “smart” here pertains to academics, I could say that I’ve always valued my education ever since I was a kid. And those efforts resulted to honors and recognitions. At an early age I understood how important it is to be educated both in theory and practice. My parents keep me motivated to constantly do my best in everything and I guess it became deep-rooted into my system to always aim high and deep.”
Why did you choose to study Petroleum Engineering?
“I don’t actually have a super great reason why I chose to take up Petroleum Engineering. Just like any other high school graduate, I was also confused on what to study in college. My father influenced me to be in the oil and gas industry, something I never imagined myself to be in. Looking back, I didn’t have a solid reason why I took up the course but now I understand why I ended up here—to be a living example that women can excel even in male-dominated fields, and to give back to my community as a driven and compassionate engineer.”
Was the course difficult?
“Yes! Sleepless nights, hungry mornings, sweat and tears—you name it. The oil and gas industry is a very competitive and past-paced environment, so early on we are trained to be flexible and proficient engineers. This requires a lot of effort and sacrifice plus the struggle in learning the technicalities of the processes. I’m just so glad I was able to finish the course in one piece. Ha!Ha!Ha!”
Are you in favor or against a coal-fired power plant here?
“As an engineer, I am aware of the benefits that a coal plant could potentially give to the province: stable power supply, income and employment. I am not entirely against the whole concept of a coal plant, but I believe it boils down to what we prioritize more as a province. I don’t want to have a coal plant in Bohol because I know Bohol has a vision to become a prime eco-cultural destination and that means sustainability. Having a coal plant in the province defeats that vision for sustainability because coal is not sustainable, let alone its inevitable negative environmental impacts. I am hopeful that Bohol can continue to climb up the ladder of excellence without resorting to these projects. As a province, we should stick to our vision. It’s there to guide us in our future endeavors for Bohol. “
Maybe you have an important message to spread or a cause to advance and you want the Miss Bohol to be a venue or forum for it?
“Right now, I am very thankful that the Miss Bohol pageant has become a platform for me to promote my advocacy, “Pasiga Gikan sa Basura”. I want people to understand that sustainability starts from awareness. I plan to give more talks regarding my advocacy and how the people in my community can help me expand this project.”
|Engr. Jesseth Nez Pasagad with her|
parents Zosimo and Aileen and siblings
Jairus Zim and Josh Ron Zimon. Contributed Photo
What qualities of the Boholano youth would you highlight?
“Two distinct Boholano characteristics that I truly appreciate are humility and resiliency. Despite the many challenges we face, we are still able to put a smile on our faces— a true reminder of how our adversities have kept us grounded. We are strong in faith and rich in values, qualities that every Boholano can be proud of.”
How do you deal with bashers on social media?
“Acceptance is the key. Before I joined Miss Bohol, I made sure that I was emotionally ready for all the negative comments. We can’t please everyone, that’s a fact so the best thing to do is just to learn to filter out comments that don’t help you grow. I also avoid being on social media all the time so I don’t get the chance to read those comments from bashers. Hahahaha”
Sexual harassment is very much in the news. What would you advise women so that they could avoid or stop being victimized?
“There are a lot of superficial and sexist things I could say like teach women self-defense or tell them not to wear provocative dresses but I don’t think this really addresses the issue on sexual harassment. Yes, it could avoid sexual assaults but the true solution really lies on proper guidance and understanding especially during the formative years of a child. We should teach our children to respect women and not see them as objects. We should educate both men and women, make them understand that nobody has the right to trespass another person’s body without consent; and if ever you see or know someone who’s violating another person, intervene! We have to help empower each other.”
Young people today are liberated and adventurous, willing to try everything. What's your stand on pre-marital sex?
“We are entitled to our own bodies, this means we decide for ourselves. But, just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. Personally, I don’t look down on people who do engage in pre-marital sex, but I would strongly discourage young people to practice this for a number of reasons, one of which is related to health. There is a growing number of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV cases in the country which are caused by both lack of proper education on safe sex and engaging in multiple sexual partners. Reserving sex after marriage lessens the probability of contracting these illnesses because there is monogamy. And this goes out to both men and women, it’s all fun and games until one gets sick.”
|Her advocacy "Pasiga Gikan sa Basura" aims to provide sustainable electrical energy source for|
communities in Bilar using bio-wastes. Photo courtesy: Miss Bohol
What is your stand on divorce in the Philippines?
“For the most part, I do not support divorce because I believe every marriage should be preserved and nurtured despite challenges, so long as there is no abuse in the relationship. The conflict lies on whether there is abuse in the marriage because as an empowered woman, I believe every person deserves the right to free themselves from toxic people. Of course, divorce should not be seen as an easy way out. As much as possible we can try to mend broken relationships through counselling and help treat abusive partners through rehabilitation. Pain in a relationship should not be romanticized, reach out for help if there is something wrong. Perhaps the marriage could still be saved.
Do you think it is about time to have same-sex marriage in the Philippines?
“Being born and raised in a conservative Catholic family, I’ve always believed that everything in life is absolute, including marriage. I have several LGBT friends and over the years of knowing them, I have learned to value their principles in life. This marriage they are fighting for is not because they have no God but rather they believe in a God who is loving and forgiving. I support same-sex marriage because it is clear to me that every couple who wants to move forward with their relationship, no matter the gender, should have the same legal rights as any married couple.”
What’s your take on the transgender issue. Should transgender be allowed to compete in beauty contests for women?
“The way I see it, people don’t support transgender women to compete in beauty contests (for natural born women) because of either being conservative or competitive. I’d like to address the topic on a competitive standpoint. Being a transgender woman means the person has made alterations in her body: size of the boobs, butt, etc. A certain “customization” has been made which could be unfair to natural-born women who don’t have the means to be at par with the enhancements of a trans woman. This is probably the only issue I have with transgenders entering beauty contests for women.”
You are a petroleum engineer, a brilliant one. Do you also like politics? Your mother Aileen is village councilor of Barangay Zamora in Bilar town.
“ I have been part of several organizations but I don’t think I see myself as a politician. I am still willing to serve the community but in other ways. I guess the “politician genes” passed right through me. HahaHa”
To end this conversation, what do you think is the essence of being a woman? (Answered with wit and intelligence by India’s Sushmita Sen who won the Miss Universe 1994)
“Over the years, I’ve seen how people perceive the essence of womanhood from being a mother to being a housekeeper. But as an empowered millennial woman, I speak for those women who choose not to give birth and those who wish to pursue their careers than stay at home. Times have changed but one thing will remain the same, we women are instruments for development. Our essence lies in our strength in character to pursue our goals with pride and dignity.”
Thanks for your letters, all will be answered. Comments welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow leoudtohanINQ at Twitter /Facebook.