Long after her stunning performance in the pageant stage, Mafae Yunon-Belasco (@mafaeb) is still taking on the world, one inspiring talent at a time. She may be easily recognizable as the Bb. Pilipinas World 2003, and a Top 5 Miss World 2003 Finalist, but these days her accolades include motivational speaker, personality development coach, pageant coach and—most exciting for us in the Kumunity—the organizer and director kumu Global Pageants (@kumuglobalpageants), as well as the regional head for kumu Australia. Now that’s some real #glokal chops!
“I truly believe in being in the right place, right time, and the right people,” she says. “And this has been the key to her great success in all endeavors – as mentor, producer, kumu livestreamer and now regional head of the newly launched kumu Australia.”
Born in the Philippines, Mafae and her parents migrated to Sydney when she was just six years old. And like the many stories of OFWs who have migrated in pursuit of greener pastures, settling in a foreign land wasn’t an easy journey for the small family.
Watching her parents work hard and juggling numerous jobs to raise her and her siblings, Mafae learned from them the gift of dreaming bigger and being unafraid of the sacrifices needed to make those dreams come true. “I think that’s the reason why I am always looking for opportunities and like-minded people.” It is in the company of these very people that one finds support and courage to pursue passions.
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A proud beauty queen who had competed and won in Binibining Pilipinas, Mafae got her first taste of the pageant world when she competed in a small Australian pageant hosted by the Filipino community. The stunning 5’9 beauty bagged two titles at the competition – the Charity Queen and Miss Philippines Australia 1998. She felt comfortable and confident in the spotlight. Soon, she realized that she wanted to follow in the footsteps of her proud aunt, who represented the Philippines in the 1984 Miss Universe Pageant.
Willing to take that leap of faith, Mafae headed back to the Philippines, where she competed in Binibining Pilipinas and was crowned Bb. Pilipinas -World in 2003.
During her reign, her work for the organization opened her eyes to the life-changing power of a goodwill ambassador. “If a sash and crown allowed me to speak to people in power and allowed me to collaborate with organizations and foundations for the benefit of the community, then I will aim for a bigger crown. I will aim for representing the Philippines!” she shares.
She aimed for the Miss Universe crown, “But God obviously had a different path for me, which I am so grateful for.”
Today, she is mentoring hundreds of youths in the Kumunity, primarily through kumu’s first global pageant platform @kumuglobalpageants, a passion project that has stirred some attention within and beyond the kumu app. “The pageant world is something close to my heart,” says Mafae, who also frequently streams advocacy and beauty-queen content on the Kumunity Stage, like “Tita Queens.”
Under the kumu Global Pageant channel, Mafae helped organize and launch Miss kumu Global 2021, an international, virtual beauty pageant—the first of its kind in the Philippines. Last May, the virtual pageant welcomed candidates from all over the globe – from Ireland to Canada, US and Australia, and many more. And each candidate enthusiastically participated in the activities despite the time differences. “There were some who stayed up until 3am at their side of the world to participate in our training!” shares Mafae.
Apart from the overwhelming support from the glokal Kumunity, Miss kumu Global had also successfully raised sums of money for the benefit of Mano Amiga, their pageant’s main beneficiary. While virtual pageants are still quite a novelty, it’s safe to say Mafae is on to something with this. By July, the kumu Global Pageant launched their second pageant event, Mister kumu Global 2021, to search for the role model gentlemen championing the qualities of “courage, a positive attitude and a willingness to be of service to others.”
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Beyond just the “pageant experience,” Mafae wanted the candidates to realize how kumu opens doors and how it is a platform that brings change. The candidates hailed from different parts of the globe, but on kumu, they found a home and community, too. Mafae remarks, “As I’ve shared with many women and individuals: if you want to find new opportunities and discover new experiences, all you have to do is show up. When you show up, you meet the right people and you’ll find so many new doors opening.”
Today, as the regional head of kumu Australia (@australiakumu), Mafae is paving new paths and introducing new opportunities for her fellow Aussies. She’s quickly bringing creatives and other talented Pinoys together through exciting shows and efforts. Just under her production company, MMC Productions, Mafae has produced 20 shows, and she’s inspiring others to do the same.
From Taco Tuesdays with her husband, Nic Belasco, to bulsahan sessions with her fellow Kumunizens, sports chat sessions, to sit-downs with other beauty queen guests on “Tita Queens”, Mafae is focused on creating great, positive content that the global and glokal Kumunity can enjoy. Best of all, it’s suitable for all ages. In fact, her six children, ages 21 to 5 years old, are on kumu too, creatively exploring their talents with their own shows, proving that kumu is a place for all, regardless of age, country or background.
“kumu is such a great, empowering platform where people can connect, collaborate, and actually hone their skills on camera.”, exclaims Mafae, knowing the power of being confident in one’s skin and person. “They can geek out talking about their interests and passions. There’s space for everybody!”
If we were to look back at Mafae’s colorful, glokal journey it is a testament to her own words, “All you have to do is show up.” What wonders, opportunities and new faces truly come forward when you put yourself out there. With kumu, at least, we want to make this as easy and natural, yet authentic as possible. So go ahead, make your move like Mafae, the #glokal world stage is waiting for you.
Do you love beauty queens and pageants? We’re obsessed, too! You can definitely catch announcements and special streams on the official kumu Global Pageants account (@kumuglobalpeageants), as well as their official social media accounts on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
What’s more, the Glokal Kumunity is all in for Mr. kumu Global! To get international updates, follow the regional accounts of kumu USA (@kumu_usa), kumu Canada (@kumucanada), kumu Hong Kong (@kumuhk), kumu Europe (@kumueurope), kumu Middle East (@kumumiddleeast), kumu Australia (@australiakumu), kumu New Zealand (@kumunewzealand), kumu Japan (@kumujapan) and kumu Thailand (@kumuthailand).
Don’t have the kumu app yet? It’s easy! Download the app at Google Play or the App Store, and start adding to cart! Visit our website kumu.ph for more information and insights into the exciting world of kumu.
You can also follow @kumuph on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to keep up to date with all the latest events, and surprises from your favorite Pinoy livestreaming platform. To keep tabs on the Kumunity and all its exciting happenings, follow the @juankumunity on Instagram, or check the kumu blog for all the latest news.