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MMC returns as Lakan and Lakambini ng Kardinal 2023

Article by: Princess Jazlyn B. Pereda and Ysa Andre A. Mendoza


Photo by: Kristin Clarisse H. Mateo


Last February 22, the Lakan at Lakambini ng Kardinal 2023 coronation night was held at the Intramuros Campus Gymnasium with Mr. Raphael Mardicas and Ms. Erika Alfaro from the School of Civil, Environmental, and Geological Engineering (CEGE) crowned as this year’s Mr. and Ms. Cardinals (MMC).


Before the pageant proper, the preliminary competition was held last January 27 at the same venue, wherein the Best in Talent award was awarded to CEGE representatives, Erika Alfaro and Raphael Mardicas; Best in Q&A went to the School of Media Studies (SMS)’ Paolo Apacible. Meanwhile, the Best in Cultural Wear award was given to the School of Architecture, Interior Design, and the Built Environment (ARIDBE) candidates, Patricia Anne De Guzman and Paolo Miguel Almodovar.


This year’s coronation event commenced with a performance from Cardinales Folklorico de Mapúa, followed by an opening speech from Executive Vice President - Chief Operating Officer and Treasurer, Mr. Raul Victor Tan. The next segment introduced the judges, contestants, and judging criteria. Each competing duo then showcased their summer wear and formal wear on the runway. The Mapúan dance groups XDC and NEXUS Cardinals also performed for the audience during the event.


After the exhibit of the candidates’ regional video showcasing their advocacies and representing their assigned regions, the Top 7 Lakan at Lakambini candidates moved forward to the next round. The Top 7 Mr. Cardinal candidates were CEGE’s Raphael Mardicas, School of Information Technology (SOIT)’s Christian So, Senior High School (SHS)’ Licienn Buensalida, ARIDBE’s Paolo Almodovar, School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering (MME)’s Aizen Lou, SMS’ Paolo Apacible, and Enrique T. Yuchengco School of Business (ETYSB)’s Elvin Gatdula. Meanwhile, the Top 7 Ms. Cardinal candidates were Erika Alfaro of CEGE, Patricia De Guzman of ARIDBE, Dhennyse Delos Santos of SHS, Sydney Carpio of MME, Jasmine Montecillo of SMS, Ma. Althea Domingo of the School of Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management (IE-EMG) and Jovelyn Evangelio of ETYSB. 


Then, the Top 7 candidates proceeded to the first round of the Q&A portion wherein they were each given 30 seconds to give their answers about current social issues – which served as the determining factor to secure a spot in the Top 4.


After the Q&A portion, the Top 4 finalists who would head to the next round were announced. The Top 4 Lakan candidates were CEGE’s Mardicas, SHS’ Buensalida, SMS’ Apacible, and ETYSB’s Gatdula while the Top 4 Lakambini candidates were CEGE’s Alfaro, SHS’ Delos Santos, SMS’ Montecillo, and IE-EMG’s Domingo. The representatives were again put under the spotlight as they proceeded to another Q&A portion to determine who would be the next titleholders. 


CEGE’s Lakan, Mardicas, was asked regarding the minimum wages that vary per area. “...We should be able to take care, research on what should be the minimum wage, in order for us to have a profit, well enough to provide the basic necessities of each individual, as this is a fundamental basic human right and everyone deserves such, to be able to have a progressive world and equitable society,” he said.


Meanwhile CEGE’s Lakambini, Alfaro was asked how she can ensure the help of recycling as the future Lakambini of Mapúa. “...I carry the responsibility, not just of the crown, but to empower the people to use their knowledge to promote sustainability. […] as a CEGE department individual, we can also promote sustainability, not just to our fellow Mapúans, but those who are beyond our walls.”


The answers from the CEGE representatives gave them the boost they needed to claim the title as they were crowned Mr. and Ms. Cardinals 2023. The winners from the pageant in 2019, Engr. Shou Sakaue from CEGE and Ms. Chloe Carillo from SHS, passed their crowns to the new Mr. and Ms. Cardinals.


Along with the titleholders, a Lakan and Lakambini for the three island groups of the Philippines – Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao – was also announced, which replaced the first, second, and third runner-up titles. SHS students Mr. Licienn Buensalida and Ms. Dhennyse Delos Santos won the titles of Lakan and Lakambini ng Luzon while ETYSB student Mr. Elvin Gatdula and SMS student Ms. Jasmine Montecillo were recognized as Lakan and Lakambini ng Visayas. Lastly, the distinctions of Lakan and Lakambini ng Mindanao were awarded to Paolo Apacible of SMS and Ma. Althea Domingo of IE-EMG. A total of eleven pairs from the various Mapúa schools competed in the pageant. The Top 4 finalists are the ambassadors of Mapúa University and will perform the responsibilities of their respective titles.



Photos by: Galil Grace D. Arreola, Kaizer Zeth R. Cabrera, Aliza Belle C. Dayao, Alexandra Isabelle G. Delavin, Angelica Stacy D. de Guzman, Julia Aleck G. Engracia, Kristin Clarisse H. Mateo, and Ma. Chinie M. Sta. Juana




Special awards were also given to candidates who dominated each portion of the event. Candidates who received special awards were:


People's Choice Award: 

  • Lakan - Raphael Mardicas (CEGE) 

  • Lakambini - Ma. Althea Domingo (IE-EMG)

Mr. and Ms. Advocacy:

  • Lakan and Lakambini - Aizen Lou and Sydney Carpio (MME) 

Mr. and Ms. Tourism:

  • Lakan and Lakambini - Angelo Guzman and Ma. Althea Domingo (IE-EMG) 

Best in Summer Wear:

  • Lakan and Lakambini - Raphael Mardicas and Erika Alfaro (CEGE) 

Best in Formal Wear:

  • Lakan and Lakambini - Licienn Buensalida  and Dhennyse Delos Santos (SHS) 

Mr. and Ms. Photogenic: 

  • Lakan - Christian So (SOIT) 

  • Lakambini - Jasmine Montecillo (SMS) 

Mr. and Ms. NAMA:

  • Lakan - Raphael Mardicas (CEGE)

  • Lakambini - Dhennyse Delos Santos (SHS)


The Mr. and Ms. Cardinals pageant had a three-year hiatus due to pandemic, the last of which was held in 2019. During the said lay-off, Engr. Shou Sakaue from CEGE and Chloe Carillo from SHS remained as reigning Mr. and Ms. Cardinals until this year’s coronation night.


Photo by: Kaizer Zeth R. Cabrera

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