Filipina wins title as most beautiful grandma in world

Mrs. Grandma Universal 2016 Babylyn Decena-Newfield poses for photographers after arriving at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016.
PHOTO: Inquirer

MANILA - Babylyn Decena-Newfield is a mother of four kids and has four grandchildren but hardly looks the part.

Newfield, a 48-year-old widow, returned home on Sunday afternoon after a successful stint in the Bulgaria-based Mrs. Grandma Universal 2016 pageant held last week.

She is the first Filipina to compete along with some 50 other grandmothers from around the world in the international beauty contest held on January 21 in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Newfield arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminal 1 at around 3 pm, Sunday, coming home from Bulgaria via a Qatar Airways flight.

"It is an honour," she told the Philippine Daily Inquirer, "This is the first Mrs. Grandma Universal title for the Philippines." She obliged members of the media who asked her to wear her sash and her crown.

"It is a privilege that at this age, I am 48, I can still win a title. Parang kung kelan tumanda," she smiled.

Apart from bringing home the title, she also won best national costume.

Newfield, the chief executive officer and president of Cartridge World-Philippines, said that she was handpicked by international pageant director Ovette Ricalde to represent the country in the beauty competition for grandmothers.

"He (Ricalde) saw me taking part in fashion shows and asked me to compete in the Bulgarian pageant," she said.

Newfield said that she only walked the runway for fun since she was friends with some fashion designers and stylists. It was also her first time to join a beauty pageant.

She was well within the qualifications for the pageant, 45 years old and above with grandchildren, so she accepted Ricalde's offer.

It entailed little preparation, Newfield said, basically just adjusting the posture, the walk and maintaining poise. She only had to keep a healthy diet, exercise and take care of her skin.

During the pageant she showed off her skill in Muay Thai, a combat sport in Thailand, setting herself apart from other grandmas who sang, danced or recited poetry in the talent portion.

The Mrs. Grandma Universal pageant is held annually in Bulgaria which celebrates Grandma's Day on January 21. The international beauty competition was first held in 2012 and is open to grandmothers who have the qualities of an ideal grandmother: nurturing; beautiful; elegant; and confident.

Previous title holders were: Ivana Hamra of Sweden; Marleny Figueroa de Reyes of Guatemala; Syntia Ong of Malaysia; and Christine Kam of Singapore.