December 2, 2023

The Cordillera has its first Miss Philippines 2020 top winner through 23-year-old Roxanne Allison Baeyens in the promotion’s first virtual coronation rites.
It was an unconventional way to conduct a beauty pageant, but the organizers pushed through with the event having all 33 beauties, quarantined in various areas, become part of the historic online coronation.
Baeyens has won the coveted crown with her beauty and sensible answer to the final question: “What important quality should a leader display in the midst of a pandemic?”
“Well, a leader should display having a green thumb, because at this point in time, we have a shortage in food supply so it is important to open the eyes of the people to embrace having a sustainable life and to start urban agriculture at their own homes. After all, a green life is a better life and I hope our leaders will give that to us,” Baeyens answered.
Baeyens, who traces her roots to Besao, Mountain Province and Brussels, Belgium, said she grew up having a green thumb and surrounded by greeneries pushing her to embrace making urban agriculture for each home as her advocacy in life.
She credits her mother, Julia Agnaonao Baeyens of Besao, for growing up as a woman loving and appreciating the natural environment around her.
“At a young age, my mom has already drawn me to nature. With a young mind and heart, I gained curiosity with the way the trees sway, and sounds of the birds chirping, it was beautiful. I was at my happiest. Now that I am older, my curiosity turned into a responsibility, a role to play, a drive to make a change,” she said. 
It was an emotional moment for Baeyens, who only had four people with her during the virtual coronation in her apartment in Mandaluyong, where she stayed during the whole duration of her preparation leading to the final show. Her family and team were left in Baguio City.
“Despite not being with my loved ones in Baguio City due to the pandemic, this situation taught me to be humble and grateful for what I have and make the most out of the resources available. When I feel discouraged, I just remind myself how lucky I am that I’m healthy to compete; that I’m given a great platform to reach out to others, and that I’m blessed with the most angelic hearts helping me even from a distance. After all, I lift everything to God, and dedicate this to Him,” she said. 
All throughout the competition, she has maintained her grace despite the pressure and getting past the awkwardness of the historic online competition.
“Knowing that the judges will be scoring you virtually, you really have to find a way to stand out via the camera,” she said. 
And stand out she did as she also earned three special awards – Social Media, Best Eco-Video, and Darling of the Press.
Baeyens, in her seven-minute eco-video, has shared her appreciation of the beauty of her hometown Baguio and also its slow deterioration due to human activities.
“It breaks my heart seeing my city fall apart environmentally in the past years, the beauty of Baguio is no longer the same but this is not the end, Baguio shall again rise,” she said in her video.
The Igorota beauty will represent the country in the Miss Earth 2020 competition to try to become the fifth Filipino woman to win the coveted international crown.
Last year, the 5’5” beauty was proclaimed Face of Tourism Philippines, which brought her to the Miss Tourism and Culture Universe pageant in Myanmar where she finished second.
Baeyens is a Tourism graduate at Saint Louis University and is currently pursuing her career in the entertainment industry under Cornerstone Entertainment Inc., along with Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray who congratulated her via video call after winning the crown.
“My dear Baguio City, I feel deeply honored and grateful to carry your name. My heart will always showcase how proud I am as an Igorota,” she said, as a way of thanking everyone who supported her in her journey.  – Ofelia C. Empian