Beauty queen, host, and entrepreneur Mafae Yunon Belasco grew up abroad. But she’s proud to have been raised with Filipino values, which she passed on to her family.
Mafae Yunon Belasco has been in the spotlight for a long time. As a beauty queen, she represented the country in the Miss World pageant in 2003 where she was part of the Top 5. Moreover, she hosted several webinars on personality development and now serves as KUMU‘s Dean and Mentor, where she also hosts a show.
But work is not the only thing that keeps Mafae busy. She is first and foremost a mother to her six children with former basketball player Nic Belasco. Modern Parenting recently talked to Mafae about family life and why she will forever be grateful for the doors pageantry opened for her.
Mafae Belasco on communication and values
Mafae spent a big part of her life in Australia and although she grew up in another country, Filipino values were observed in the household. “We prayed the rosary every night. We had an old altar in our house and my dad loves building grottoes in every house. So for me, I wasn’t afraid about my religion or believing in God,” she starts.
Unlike others, she is not afraid to express herself to people, and growing up in Australia has helped that. “I got the courage and the confidence by the lifestyle. And maybe the personality and values that I learned from the Aussie side.”
Mafae adds that communication and interaction are important things she consistently reminds her kids about. “I’m teaching my kids, too. As you know, it’s been two years since we had face-to-face events for the pageant world. I encourage them to say hello to people and initiate the conversation. Don’t hide behind the phone. You want people to remember you. And it’s something that Nic and I have been doing. We really, truly believe that the relationships we have treasured and have taken care of all of these years have put us where we are right now.”
Mafae encourages her children to go beyond gadgets as well. Her two young kids go biking around BGC or the family tries to watch a movie when they can. “We’re actually moving around and just enjoying life however we can.”
Mafae Belasco on pressure and authenticity
As the niece of Miss Universe 1984 3th runner-up Desiree Verdadero, Mafae didn’t hide that she was expected to do well when she competed in Binibining Pilipinas 2003. “Of course, for me, pressured din kasi she was a Top 5 finalist in the international pageant. But I looked at that as an inspiration because she was on my side,” she said.
“She was teaching me how to go about this, what to expect. Maybe seeing the skies as a first-timer was like a wild factor. I looked at the challenges as a blessing.”
As a personality development trainer, how does she try to teach aspirants the importance of balancing personality and current events affecting them? She answers, “When when you’re loved by people, that means you’re doing well. So you have to go back to your roots, go back to humility. And always be thankful.”
“if you’re in demand, [then] wonderful. Just be careful using your energy. Because there is a cliche that it can get to people’s heads. Be respectful. I mean, you see them on numerous individuals who are very influential. They give time to their fans. They even cater to them when we do meet and greet events. And it’s expected with an event like Miss Universe [Philippines], everybody’s excited. They’re excited to see you. So give them something to be happy about. Don’t hide.”
Why Mafae will always be grateful to pageantry
Although it has been close to two decades since she competed in Binibining Pilipinas, Mafae will always be ready to help the industry that has opened a lot of doors for her. Aside from hosting and mentoring, Mafae serves as one of the board of advisers for the Miss Universe Philippines Organization.
“As soon as I was asked to be part of the advisors; when Jonas Gaffud, creative director of Miss Universe Philippines asked me, that was a no-brainer for me. This is a prestigious pageant in the Philippines. And again, going back to the pageant community, it’s always a yes for me. I’m always willing to talk about it, I’m always willing to be part of the group that will make that decision or that change for another amazing woman, or man, depending on the project,” she said.
“I love being a judge in pageants. Because it’s a crucial, crucial position. And I take it very seriously.”
She adds, “I’m always going to be proud of having positions and prestigious passions. And no matter how small or how big, I’m always going to be there. Because I know I’m going to touch lives.”