Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

My mother would be the last person to say she's beautiful. She'd say she's short, or she has gray hair and wrinkles. She wears make-up, but she doesn't spend hours putting a face on every day and she doesn't buy fancy clothes. She's too busy as the general manager of Adphoto to get much beauty sleep, and sees nothing wrong with trekking around in comfortable shoes. I think she's beautiful.

My former grade school principal, Lala Castillo, had wrinkles around her eyes that showed how much she smiled. I never saw her dressed in sharp business suits. I think she was always in flowing skirts or sensible pants. She knew all of us by name. As a child, I wondered if I could just skip being an adult and be old and wise like she was. I think she's beautiful.

Didith Rodrigo, the chair of the computer science department, is not one for beauty pageants. I don't think she wears make-up. But she made us feel welcome. She knew what she was talking about, and she could explain herself very clearly. She was also a great listener. I think she's beautiful.

If PCS wants to judge on "beauty"—which basically means how much does a woman resemble advertisements—then they risk closing their eyes to the real gems, people who can _really_ inspire others.

As for me, I'm going to stay in my own little world where results matter more than appearances, where ordinary people become beautiful when you get to know them.

I'm glad that I'm not spectacular. At least that way, I don't have to worry about people speculating about my breast size, unlike one of my friends who occasionally has to put up with that despite being a brilliant physicist. At least that way, I know people pay attention to my ideas and not just to my body.

I still feel a little insecure from time to time. Am I where I am just because I'm a girl, just because I was in the right place at the right time? Would I have gotten as far if people didn't make a fuss over the fact that ooh, look, a girl's _really_ into tech?

Then I go online and talk to people who don't know anything about me, people who even assume I'm a guy until the regulars laugh and correct them, and I realize that I'm good enough on my own.

That's an assurance the DigitalPinay winners might not have, because they'll wonder: was I hired because my resume was good and I can really make a difference, or was I hired because I won a beauty pageant?

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