Seven years is a long time in the country’s highly competitive beauty pageants, but that’s the time it took the two youngest siblings of a family of ten to attain the unprecedented feat of ascending to the pinnacle of the Miss Cagayan de Oro beauty pageant.
In its latest edition held August 27 at a local mall, April Angelu Gamaya Barro, representing Barangay Canitoan was crowned Ms. Cagayan de Oro 2022 Pilipinas, seven years after her Ate Charinna Barro-Quilaneta won the Ms. Cagayan de Oro diadem in 2015 as a 20 year old. April will represent Cagayan de Oro in the next Binibining Pilipinas beauty pageant which selects the country’s representative to the Miss International Beauty Pageant. An International Studies graduate of Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan, the 24 year old self-confessed comic book geek dreams of becoming a commercial pilot someday. Meantime, she initiated an advocacy in 2020 named The Little Smiles Project aimed at inspiring young kids to value quality education and appreciate learning through reading, storytelling, education games, experimental learning and more. Charinna, now 27, related how she was praying hard on her rosary for April to win one of the two top crowns and cried when the latter was named Ms. CDO 2022 Pilipinas. “As April’s older sister, her success is also my success. Hence, I felt an immense sense of fulfillment and happiness when she won Ms. CDO Pilipinas,” she recalls. “ And together, we made history as the first ever sisters in the history of Ms. CDO to win the Ms. CDO crown.” Similarly, April admits Charinna’s win 7 years ago inspired to scale the same heights. “She’s the very reason why I joined Miss CdO. I was there during the coronation night. And I literally teared up when she was called as the Miss CdO 2015. Because I have seen her struggles, and I knew how hard she fought to overcome those challenges. I told myself then and there, that I would someday become a miss CdO, just like my sister Charinna.” Charinna is the 9th of 10 children while April is the youngest offspring of Audie C. Barro, Sr. a retired iron and steel works fabrication shop owner whose beautiful gates and fences were much in demand in Gingoog City, and now based in Seattle, USA, and Charlita G. Barro, an employee of the Gingoog Division of City Schools at the Department of Education. “Growing up in a big family with a humble background, my parents had little time to encourage us to believe in ourselves and gain confidence,” Charinna recalls. “As such, we grew up as shy and introvert people. Most, if not all, of our older sisters did modeling during their younger years.” Both sisters finished their elementary and secondary education in Gingoog City where both were consistent honor students. Curiously (or perhaps not!), both also figured prominently in the Division Schools Press Conference and Regional Schools Press Conference competitions. April was also the Division and Regional second placer for Interpretative Reading in 2012, and also participated in the 2012 Sining Pambansa. As early as 13 years ago, April was already winning titles in various pageants, like Nutrition Queen 2009 (Grade 6 student at Don Restituto Baol Central School), Miss Technolympics 2013 (Division Level Competition), Miss Eskinol 2014, Miss Olive-C 2015 (First Runner up), Miss Silka Northern Mindanao 2015 (Grand winner) & Miss Silka Philippines 2015 (Top 10 finalist), Mutya ng Pilipinas Northern Mindanao 2017 (Finalist), and Face of Miyu 2017 (First Runner up). Like April, Charinna was also active in the beauty pageant circuit: Ms. Jose Rizal University 2012 (1st Runner Up), Ms. Olive C (Nationals) (Top 12 Finalist), Ms. Gingoog City 2014 (2nd Runner Up), Ms. Silka Northern Mindanao 2014, Ms. Philippines Earth- Air Misamis Oriental 2015, Mutya ng Pilipinas Northern Mindanao 2015 (Top 5 Winner), Ms. Cagayan de Oro 2015, and Ms. Philippines Earth Eco-tourism 2016. Both are also active members of Junior Chamber International (JCI): April is the current Recruitment Officer of JCI Bai Lawanen while Charinna is the current Executive Vice President (EVP) and President-Elect for 2024 of JCI Lakambini Davao.
Charinna is also the Lady of the Scroll of the Fraternal Order of St. Thomas More (Tau Mu), an exclusive fraternity/sorority for enrolled students of the Ateneo de Davao College of Law, which has been existing for the last 55 years.
She graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at José Rizal University (2014), Bachelor of Science in Accountancy from Liceo de Cagayan University (2016), and is now pursuing her law studies at the Ateneo de Davao University College of Law.
While she earned an academic scholarship at JRU due to her excellent school academic record, she later also earned an athletic scholarship in the same school as a student-athlete, representing JRU in table tennis during the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) games.
Now based in Davao City, Charinna, is a self-made business owner and entrepreneur who owns Charinna’s Dressed Chicken, Macnok’s Meat Shop, and as Chief Financial Officer of MPQ Agro Ventures, Inc. a poultry business founded by her hubby Atty. Mark Peter M. Quilaneta.
Since her pageant days, Charinna strives to pursue her advocacy for the environment through her JCI engagements where they do tree planting, environmental awareness seminars, as well as on a personal level in her daily life where she actively practices proper waste disposal, patronizing environment-friendly products and companies, and avoiding the use of single-use plastics.
Meantime, her elder siblings are now all full-time entrepreneurs and employees. Their eldest Aubrey B. Cañada owns the Princess Lash Salon in Gingoog City; second sibling Waldo is a singer/songwriter who is a DepEd teacher in Gingoog City; Louvella B. Hooper is a US Licensed esthetician/business owner/entrepreneur who owns and operates Studio Velle, Velle Lash Co., and Velle Cosmetics in Seattle, USA; Elaine owns Barro Travel and Tours in Cagayan de Oro City; Charisse B. Espinosa is a registered nurse based in Cagayan de Oro; Audie Jr. works as a Healthcare Assistant in Gzira, Malta; Charlie owns I&K Consumer Goods Trading in Gingoog City; and Angelique G. Empalmado is a Digital Marketer and a model based in Makati City.
Not the least, Charinna points to her parents as their source of inspiration in making good in their careers and personal lives.
“Inspiration? Definitely my parents. Ever since I was young, it has always been my goal to make my parents proud, hence, I’ve always strived to become an honor student back in elementary and high school. Even up until now, everything that I do, I do it to make them proud. I love them dearly. Like any other parents, they may not be perfect but they are exactly who I needed. I wouldn’t have had become the person that I am today if not because of them. Further, I always pray to God for wisdom and guidance so I owe everything that I am to Him. All glory to God.” (TM)