Raine Baljak

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February 2018 Raine Baljak is gracing the Maiden Issue launching of Southwall Magazine where she contributes as a beauty and wellness columnist.

Raine Baljak (born as Gabriele Raine Abellana Baljak on December 12, 1996) is a professional model, host, beauty and fitness consultant, columnist [1][2][3] and YouTube Personality.

She attended Cebu International School. She was a host for television program with Drop Decay vocalist Tony Alfonso and DJ Joah Go on MyTV Channel Cebu.[4][5] In May 2014, Raine and her mother, Merce Abellana [6] (former Miss Cebu's 5 Prettiest 1986)[7] have been the ambassadresses and endorsers to Oro Galleria Fine Jewelry of the Oro China Jewelry Group.[8]

In July 2015, she became a radio disc jockey for Monster Radio Cebu DYBT FM 105.9[9] Then in November of the same year, she competed in Miss Cebu 2016 and now holds the title.[1] At nineteen, she was featured as the cover story for Zee Lifestyle Magazine's Youth Issue in April 2016 discussing her advocacies for the youth and environment.[10][11]

In 2018, Baljak is focused on responsibilities to her ASSY & BUTTS Project and business as a beauty and fitness consultant to help support her advocacies.[12] Baljak is also a beauty and wellness columnist for Southwall Magazine [2][3] and YouTube Personality.

Early life and Family

Baljak is a Cebuana of Croatian, Spanish and Chinese descent born in Sydney, Australia but moved to Cebu City, Philippines as an child.[11][13]

In her childhood, she remembers raising money with her cousin to contribute a small playground built in Maslog that still exists today.[13] She has mentioned in interviews that she enjoys rock climbing [1] and in a 2006 Freeman article she won first place at ten years old in an Aboitiz Baseline Climbing competition.[14] In 2013 and 2014, Baljak competed in Manila for the International Schools Athletics Conference representing CIS Girls Basketball team.[15][16] She has also volunteered for the Make-A-Wish Foundation in September 2013 - January 2014.[17] In February 2014, Baljak volunteered for the Yellow Boat Foundation.[18] On Baljak's graduating year from Cebu International School, her Visual Arts class exhibited their artworks at the Ayala Center Cebu on March 16–24, 2015.[19]

While Miss Cebu is her first pageant, Baljak is not a complete stranger to them. Her mom, Merce Abellana was crowned one of Miss Cebu's 5 Prettiest 1986 and was also Miss Mandaue 1984 third runner-up and Binibining Pilipinas 1990 Top ten.[20] Her aunt Mae Beverly Lao-Abellana was a Binibining Pilipinas 1981 finalist. Her grandmother Maria Fe was and great-grandmother Mercedes Durano Lao were also beauty queens, having been Miss Danao during their times.[11]

Alongside the beauty queens, the men in Raine's family were also quite the achievers, with her great-grandfather Gregorio Abellana having fought against the Spanish as a Katipunero, while her grandfathers Jovito Abellana and Reuben Lao fought in World War II.[11] Jovito Abellana's memoir, My Moments of War to Remember By, was published in 2011 by the University of San Carlos Press.[21]

Miss Cebu 2016

Raine Baljak was candidate number 9 for Miss Cebu 2016. The pre-pageant was held at the Ayala Center Cebu Terraces on January 9, 2016 and she was an early stand out awarded two of the four awards given that night, as Miss Epson for being knowledgeable about Cebuano history and Best in Funwear in her two-piece creation by Mike Yapching.[22] The coronation night was held at the Waterfront Hotel's Grand Ballroom on January 13, 2016 where the panel of judges awarded her as ABS-CBN's Kapamilya Star of the Night and Best in Evening Gown wearing designer Dino Lloren.[23][24]

During her reign as Miss Cebu 2016, she has participated in community projects such as Pasundayag 2016 Cebu City Summer Workshop. Pasundayag promotes the idea that economic status is never a hindrance to a child's potential to shine and continue their dreams. On its 14th year, this annual summer workshop trains children aged 6 to 16 in the art of cultural, modern and traditional Cebuano dances (Pad-um, Pasiguin and Tinikling, along with modern dances like hip-hop) with the Knapsack Dancers, Abellana National School Dance Troupe, Miss Cebu Charities and other local celebrities who shared their time and passion contributed to the success of this event. Where the Cebu City Government through the Cebu City Tourism Commission and Cebu City Tourism Foundation Inc. hold their annual Pasundayag in cooperation with Ayala Center Cebu and Knapsack Productions.[25][26]

On the relocation of the Cebu Farmers’ Market (CFM) at VIBO Place along Escario Street in Cebu City, Baljak attended supporting the organic fruit and vegetable farmers. She presented a demo alongside friend, Chef Chip Lopez of Kairos – The Lazy Chef as they prepared a Thai green papaya salad using green papaya from her family's 8Hills Natural Farm for the dish. The nineteen year old beauty queen brought with her an heirloom mortar and pestle to prepare a vegan sauce for the salad, explained some of the reasons why eating plant-based food has helped her live a healthier life.[27]

Baljak has also participated at the Cebu Daily News' Siloy Campus Journalism Workshop at the Cebu City Hall which was attended by 250 elementary and high school students from Cebu City. Baljak listened to talks on feature and news writing, took notes and occasionally nodded her head in agreement to points emphasized by the speakers. After listening to the talks and participating in the workshops, Baljak said she looks at journalists as people who love to listen and write about the stories and experiences of people that inform, inspire and involve the public.[28]

In September, Baljak also has volunteered at the Rise Above Foundation working hard in cooking and distributing meals to the children at the community center in Barangay Guadalajara, Guadalupe, Cebu.[29] In the same month, Baljak was a TEDx Speaker at the University of San Jose-Recoletos for their theme: Six Degrees of Separation.[30]

In November, Baljak also shared her natural farming skills and the importance of environmental concern during the “Global Shaper’s Dream Festival”.

On her 20th birthday (in December), Baljak celebrated with 350 children. Together with family and friends, she organized the “My Love Cebu Kids Day” project held at the Cebu City Children’s Park in Barangay Suba near the Pasil Fish Market. She treated the kids with Zumba, book reading, literary and thinking games, singing and parlor games.

“I consider it my best birthday ever. I am happier looking at the kids indescribably happy. So I couldn’t thank more those who helped me realize it like Jollibee, Nature’s Spring, Red Carpet Catering Services, Valentus Team Cebu, Lovett International Inc., and Pandoo Foundation,” she says. “I was also fortunate to have the support of the Kythe Foundation and the young ladies of the Blessed Maria Droste Training Centre of the Good Shepherd Convent who were also present. I wanted to share to these kids the experience of building connections, so they become more confident and look forward to a brighter future, something that I value and cherish from being Miss Cebu 2016,” she adds.[31]

Beauty & Fitness Consultant and Columnist

Baljak presses that she’s focusing on her charity events, responsibilities and business as a beauty and fitness consultant to help support her advocacies.[12] Baljak is currently a beauty and wellness columnist for Southwall Magazine.[2][3]

Miss Cebu 2016’s Artemis Strength for Saving Youth (ASSY) and Boys Ultimate Test to Strength (BUTTS)

Baljak held her first project called "Miss Cebu 2016’s Artemis Strength for Saving Youth (ASSY) and Boys Ultimate Test to Strength (BUTTS)" in Barangay Luyang in Carmen, Cebu. The venue was near the beach, and tents were set up at the Rume Store and Picnic where more than 140 grade school children enjoyed various activities, highlighted by a weightlifting event in collaboration with the Cebu Weightlifting Association (CWA) and the National Weightlifting Team in Cebu.[32]

Sixteen young athletes from the Cebu Weightlifting Association took the stage and showed their skills through a weightlifting competition, with the eyes of Luyang’s children trained on the athletes who were also between 10 and 19 years of age.

Gracing the event was no less than weightlifter, Olympian, and airwoman, Hidilyn Diaz —who ended the 20-year Olympic medal drought for the Philippines during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

“Malaking bagay ito para sa amin [weightlifters]. Natutuwa ako na may event na ganito at malaki yung pasasalamat namin kay Raine. Sana mas marami pang event na tulad nito, kasi ang daming potential,” (Translates to:This is a great thing for us [weightlifters]. I'm glad that there is such an event and that's great thanks to Raine. Hopefully more events like this, because there are so many potential)

the silver medalist says with all smiles, adding how happy she is that they were able to get an avenue like that of Baljak’s to spread awareness on weightlifting.

Diaz also shared how she was reminded of her beginnings through the event, which inspired her to do an even better job for the future.

For Baljak, who was just as thrilled with Diaz's response and support, says that it’s all about serving people and sharing what makes her happy and what she knows in the hopes of helping others become healthier and happier. And just because she’s Miss Cebu, doesn’t mean she’s limiting the scope of her advocacy.[12]

Baljak said she decided to do the event in Carmen as it was one of the towns that underwent devastation because of typhoons, including the Super Typhoon Yolanda.[32]

The event highlighted the benefits and fun behind weightlifting. Proceeds from the event were given to about 150 children from Luyang, Carmen in the form of a feeding program and distribution of school supplies. With performances from Baljak and Vispop musician Henrick James Pestaño, the first leg of ASSY and BUTTS began with a talk on health and nutrition by Ann Dala, owner of Detox Bar Cebu. Dala stressed the importance of fruits and vegetables, while demonstrating how to create a healthy smoothie with bananas and malunggay.

“My advocacy in Miss Cebu was to create a venue for kids to grow, and feel safe and nurtured. For the past years, the northern area of Cebu has been devastated by disasters, and the war on drugs is really affecting the spirit of our youth. I’m not limiting my venue this time, it’s not just in the city but in other parts of Cebu as well.”

She looks forward to the next events in her charity series, and if anything, their positive support and engagement encourages her even more to plan and continue the series. Hands-on from the very start until the realization of the first event, Baljak can be seen running around the venue, hosting, counting supplies, setting up, entertaining guests and even performing.

Baljak wasn’t alone in her endeavor. Flanked by good friends, volunteers, the local government, and of course her mother – one of Miss Cebu Tourism’s 5 Prettiest 1986, Merce Abellana acknowledges that ASSY and BUTTS was borne out of the hard work of a lot of people and establishments including PJCFB Property Corp. and Avenue 17, Oro Galleria Fine Jewelry, Ultimate Quantum Learning Center Cebu, Shawarma Gourmet Cebu, Cebu Integrated Arrastre Inc., Not Mike Motzki Photographer, SOLTI Activewear, God’s Grace Farm, The Detox Bar Cebu, Jarra Jewels, Bonita’s Dress Shop, 4C HOME DECOR, the Hat Lady’s Farm (Dinah Penecitos- Craven) and Kit Bajar Photos & Videos.[12]


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  13. ^ a b Sibi, Juli Ann M. (January 14, 2016). "Miss Cebu takes after Beauty Queen Mom". Cebu Daily News - Inquirer.net. INQUIRER.net. Retrieved July 10, 2016. 
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  29. ^ "A message from Miss Cebu 2016, Gabriele Raine Baljak". Facebook. Rise Above Foundation. September 3, 2016. 
  30. ^ "TEDxUSJR: Six Degrees of Separation". TED - Ideas Worth Spreading. September 17, 2016. 
  31. ^ Salibay, Ricio Rich M. Salibay (February 19, 2017). "Raine Baljak's meaningful reign". The Freeman News. Archived from the original on February 19, 2017. Retrieved January 4, 2018. 
  32. ^ a b Padayhag, Mary Joy (October 25, 2017). "Miss Cebu 2016 Raine Baljak's uplifting advocacy". Cebu Daily News by Inquirer.net. Archived from the original on October 25, 2017. Retrieved January 4, 2018. 
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