An Afternoon with Binibining Cebu 2020 Candidate Dannika Ocampo
Meet Dannika Anne Ocampo, a smart, beautiful, and confident young woman brimming with excitement for what the future holds. Dannika is one of the 54 lovely candidates vying for the coveted title Binibining Cebu 2020. For this 23-year-old licensed Physical Therapist, joining beauty pageants is no easy feat. But for a chance to be heard and a chance to shine a light on issues close to her heart, she is more than willing to go through the whole process one more time.
This week, TheCebuano sat down with Dannika for a short one-on-one interview. Read on to know her thoughts on her advocacies, the town that she is representing, her life experiences, and her Binibining Cebu journey.
Perspective on Beauty and Pageantry
Dannika joined Miss Lapu-Lapu when she was just sixteen years old. Despite having to compete with a lot of experienced candidates, she ended up a victor and was named the third runner up. When asked about her decision to join a pageant at such a young age, Dannika said that she couldn’t exactly remember what encouraged her to join. But she shared that seeing pageants on TV was definitely a huge factor. She said, “maybe because during that time I was already aware, especially with the things I saw on TV. I think I saw a pageant during that year and it made me want to join. So, I got inspired and maybe there’s something in me that I want to discover and I thought pageantry could help me learn more about myself at a very young age.”
For Dannika, pageants are so much more than beautiful gowns, courtesy calls, meet-and-greets, and runways. She sees beauty pageants as a platform to be heard and be noticed. While she can still be active with her advocacies even without a crown, she believes that pageants like Bibinibing Lapu-Lapu and Binibining Cebu can actually help her grab the attention of a much larger audience and hopefully get support for her advocacies.
Binibining Lapu-Lapu 2019 in Retrospect
Earlier this year, seven years after her very first beauty competition, Dannika joined another pageant. Looking back at her experience as First Runner-Up in Binibining Lapu-Lapu 2019, Dannika felt that the way she answered the question was a huge factor in how she placed during the pageant. Her question was: How would you describe Lapu-Lapu City to a blind man.” She said that she concentrated more on the beauty of Lapu-Lapu City, especially its rich culture, heritage, and traditions. She revealed that as soon as she left the stage, she knew that her answer wasn’t enough and she felt that she should’ve given a better answer.
Dannika said that if she were asked the same question today, her answer would be different. She said her answer would be: “I want to take the time to imagine how it feels like to be blind, to only rely on your other senses. So, if I were to describe to a blind man the beauty of Lapu-Lapu City, I would take him to Mactan Shrine – I will remove his shoes, I will let him walk on the beautiful sands where the Battle of Mactan happened, and I will let him smell the beautiful scent of the air. I will let him touch the strong and mighty mangroves. And finally, I will grab his hand, place it on my chest, and let him feel the beating heart of a strong and empowered Oponganon woman.”
Carmen on the Spotlight
Dannika is very happy that the local government of Carmen has been nothing but supportive. In fact, she shared that during her courtesy call, she got a chance to know more about the town that she is representing including its history, local culture, and popular tourist spots. According to Dannika, she has been reading a lot about Carmen. She even shared a story about how the town got its name.
“Another great thing about Carmen is that they have a lot of beautiful places. Religious-wise, we have the Saint Agustine Parish, and the Saint Benedict Monastery where you can see a big statue of Senor Santo Nino. And of course, there’s the Cebu Safari. I think that it’s really nice because it’s in line with my advocacy about animal welfare. I have visited Cebu Safari, and I know it’s a bit complicated because I advocate for animal welfare and it’s a zoo. But when you visit Cebu Safari, their goal is conservation and they’re treating the animals really well. And they have a big space for them to be free; they’re not trapped in cages and such,” Dannika said.
Binibining Cebu and the Future
According to Dannika, she is preparing for Binibining Cebu 2020 mentally and physically. She’s currently concentrating on her weight and working out regularly to lose pounds and gain muscle mass. To prepare mentally for the pageant, she said that she’s now trying to always think positive. Instead of focusing on the achievements of others and obsessing on their successes, she said she’s now trying her best to always keep in mind that she joined the pageant because she has her own purpose. And that if it was meant for her, then it IS for her.
Dannika shared that she decided to join Binibining Cebu because it caters to all the towns and municipalities of Cebu. Winning the title means that the candidate doesn’t only get to represent her town, she also gets to represent the whole Cebu province. She added that she wanted to have this opportunity because she has so much vision for the province and she wants to be a role model especially when it comes to her advocacies.
Advocacies and Love for Animals
Dannika is an environmentalist. She is also passionate about making sure that all animals get the treatment that they need and deserve. An avid animal welfare advocate, Dannika wants to focus on stray animals and animal abuse and cruelty. Dannika said, “There’s only a minority of people who are talking about this. I really want to be able to represent and speak for the voiceless. And I thought that if we are able to teach people to appreciate and love animals, show compassion and empathy, imagine the love, empathy, and compassion you can give to a human being. I think it is a really big step that if we can achieve it, then we can, maybe, completely erase abuse of all forms, not just for animals for also for human beings.
Dannika has been volunteering for Island Rescue Organization, a non-profit group that focuses on animal rescues and adoptions. She admitted, however, that due to her hectic schedule, she hasn’t been able to spend as much time as she likes with the organization. Which is exactly why she tries her best to perform her duties as an advocate in her own little way. “When I see stray dogs, I usually grab the chance to feed them, because maybe that’s the only good food that they’ve had in a long while. I know it’s just a small thing but every single act matters,” Dannika explained.
Full Name: Dannika Anne Ocampo
Birthday: April 20, 1996 (23 years old)
Vital Statistics: 32-24-35
Religion: Roman Caholic
Civil Status: Single
Licensed Physical Therapist
Home-based ESL Teacher
PT Faculty Member
PT Review Lecturer
Medical Records Processor
Catch Dannika and the rest of the Binibining Cebu 2020 candidates at the Grand Coronation Night on January 13, 2020, at the Pacific Grand Ballroom of Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino in Lahug, Cebu City.