In the world of pageants, winning consecutively is extremely rare. It would be a dream come true for contestants to take the crown and defend it the following year. Nonetheless, this 2019, we celebrate a truly remarkable and momentous feat as Southville International School affiliated with Foreign Universities (SISFU) succeeded in once again winning the crown of Mr. SGEN.

On September 30, 2018, SISFU earned its first win of the annual competition on the Mr. SGEN category. The dashing and charming 16-year-old senior high school student, Joaquin “JD” Domagoso, participated as the last year’s Mr. SGEN Teen candidate for SISFU. He dazzled everyone with his effortless poise and ready smile. Last year, was indeed a tough competition. Nonetheless, SISFU’s candidate was truly charismatic that night, which was a critical factor that won him not only the title but also the hearts of the judges and the audience. At the end of the day, Domagoso won three major awards including: Best in National Costume, Best in Formal Wear, and of course, Mr. SGEN Teen Title. Domagoso has turned 17 this year and started his college journey in Entrepreneurship here in SISFU. Domagoso graciously passed the torch to Josef Hojas, the next candidate of SISFU for Mr. SGEN 2019.

This 2019, the Mr. and Ms. SGEN competition brought another chance for contenders to wow the crowd and win the crown. SISFU’s determination prevailed to secure the throne once again and earned the magnificent achievement of back to back titles on 27th of September 2019. Key to this success was Josef Hojas, the 19-year-old freshman accounting student, who represented SISFU in the 2019 Mr. and Ms. SGEN pageant competition in the Luxembourg Hall, Southville. He competed with other Southville Global Education Network school representatives including, Southville International School and Colleges (SISC), South Mansfield College (SMC), Asian SEED Academy of Technology (ASAT) and South Seed LPDH College (SSLC). Together with his mentors and schoolmates he conquered the event with passion and tenacity to win the title of Mr. SGEN.

At first, Josef Hojas would not even think about joining the competition. He uttered, “I really had no intention of joining Mr. SGEN this year because it’s something daunting for me for it is so out of my comfort zone.” Unlike last year’s competition, Hojas faced a heavy burden of expectations from his school, which was currently the reigning crown-holder of the Mr. SGEN title.

“Josef was like a diamond in a rough”, Mr. Jovit “Troy” Clutario, one of his mentors, once said on his first impression on Josef. Josef lacked experience on pageants. Pageant catwalks, power poses, compelling facial expressions, etc. were all unfamiliar to him. Joining the pageant never even crossed his mind. On the other hand, Mr. Clutario was convinced to take his experiences to fill those voids for Hojas.

Mr. Clutario has been passionate about pageants ever since his high school days. On his fourth year of high school, he decided to take this passion towards coaching young candidates. He started coaching and registering his mentee on pageants in their local barangay, subsequently to the cities, and further to the inter-region competitions. Through his mentorship, the candidates won countless titles. He was also one of the mentors that guided Mr. Teen SGEN Joaquin Domagoso last year 2018, alongside Ms. Ailene Fulgencio and Mr. Ernie Magno. Coach Clutario would then proceed to take his next candidate, Hojas, under his wing. Under Coach Clutario, Hojas was taught proper posture, walks, and more winning pageant techniques. From the selection process up to Josef’s crowing as Mr. SGEN 2019, coach Clutario was there to steer Josef into the path of victory.

On the night of the event, cheers flooded the Lux Hall as the competing schools roared their favoured candidates’ names and respective schools. Hojas, together with his partner Mary Purugganan, walked the stage with boosted confidence fuelled by the chants and uproar of the peers and schoolmates. It was really a deafening and luminous night as contestants of SGEN wore their colorful costumes inspired by their respective countries and their lively personalities.

Hojas stunned the judges and the audience as he struck them with the powerful costumes. To give the crowd a taste, Hojas first brought the intense native hunter of Canada. He demonstrated his hunting skills with his colourful costume filled with quillwork, feather elements, and beadworks made out of woods and bones. He followed this ferocious performance with a sunny summer beach look. This quirky beachwear was supplemented with a surfboard engraved with “Stop polluting our beaches,'' an advocacy he foreshadowed later in the Question and Answer portion. He finished with a vibrant black tuxedo accentuating his unparalleled masculinity. Now it was time for the Q&A portion. Everyone held their breath as their contestant respond to the most challenging segment of the competition. Every movement, articulation and diction, breathe control, and concise thoughts are analysed and evaluated by the judges. Despite the pressure, Hojas answered with confidence. He elaborated his unique advocacy on the environment. That answer highlighted his passion for saving the planet and his sincerity was felt by everyone in the audience. His sterling Q&A answer showcased Josef’s superior poise, dignity, and insight, and put him over the top to earn the title of Mr. SGEN 2019. The event concluded with Hojas winning Mr. Photogenic and Best in National Costume. And later, this reluctant student who had never thought of joining the pageant, would become the next Mr. SGEN title holder.

Mr. and Ms. SGEN Pageant has never been easy to win. SISFU had struggled in years past to field compelling candidates for the Mr. and Ms. SGEN Titles. But this streak ended when these two young gems, Domagoso and Hojas, took home the titles for Mr. SGEN 2018 and 2019. With this back-to-back win, SISFU is setting off to go beyond the event’s limits by raising the environmental advocacy that the current title holder, Hojas, had shared during the competition. He declared, “Now that I am Mr. SGEN, I am actually hoping to use this platform for raising awareness for environmental sustainability. I really do believe that it is something that we as an SGEN community should act upon. I believe that we should take our part in combating climate change and we can do this in even the simplest of ways. As Mr. SGEN I personally want to advocate on this and help the SGEN community be more aware about it.”

SISFU may have not taken the Ms. SGEN 2019 this year, but Mary Purugganan, had all the grace and poise of a champion, only beaten out by this year’s truly exceptional competition. Purugganan represented SISFU for Ms. SGEN and walked together with Hojas in the competition. It was her first time joining the SGEN pageant but she won the 2nd Runner-Up title as well as the National Costume. The school’s drive for excellence will never waver as next year, SISFU will come with even greater resolve to take the 2020 Mr. and Ms. Teen SGEN Crowns and do the seemingly impossible, a historic three consecutive wins in Mr. SGEN Pageant.

SISFU- Reach Higher

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