Ann Nuguid Morales of Calamba, Laguna has a special mission when she decided to join the inaugural Mrs. Asia Pacific Philippines 2019 beauty pageant: to help improve one’s financial wellness.
“That’s my personal advocacy. I’ve been doing that for a long-time now. I want to share some helpful tips especially for beginners on how they can grow their fortunes,” said Morales, during an exclusive interview in Quezon City.
These days, Morales thinks that many people, especially the young ones, are into gadgets and have forgotten to save.
“I would like the seniors to have their own dignity in having their own income so that they will not depend on their children’s income. I also hope to teach the millennials the discipline in spending their money,” she said.
Morales cites a simple formula which many people can easily follow in terms of saving money.
“It’s never too late to save. The simple formula is income minus savings equals expenses. You set aside a portion of your income to your savings. And then whatever is left, that will be your spending money,” she explained. With her advocacy on financial wellness, Morales has received recognition from several organizations, including the GAMA International award given to first-line and front line leaders in insurance, investment, and financial services.
Aside from being a civil engineer, her other career is being a branch manager for Pru Life UK. “I manage agents who are financial consultants. I teach them financial wellness. I used to help factory workers on financial wellness.”
Morales also describes herself as a fashionista. In fact, she’s been named one of Manila’s Best Dressed Women for 2018 under Karr Macato Marin which was presented at the Manila Hotel.
“I don’t dress up like old people do. I dress up according to what I feel is good to me. I don’t usually follow the latest trends in fashion. If I think I can carry the dress well, if I have the confidence to wear it, even if it’s not the latest, then I will wear it. That’s how I dress up,” she said.
This is the first time that Morales is joining a national beauty contest. She was hesitant at first to join the pageant because of her height when she was invited to compete by Mrs Asia Pacific Tourism 2018 Grand Winner Mitzie Go Gil, national director for Mrs. Asia Pacific Philippines pageant; and Willy Cuison, one of the board of directors of Queen of Hearts Foundation, organizer of the pageant.
“I’m not tall. I’m just petite. I am not a beauty queen material. I cannot conform with the parameters of the pageant,” she said. Despite this, organizers of the pageant in Singapore approved her to join the pageant for married women.
Helping Morales prepare for the Mrs. Asia Pacific Philippines 2019 is the team of Alex Rodanilla. The finals of the Mrs. Asia Pacific Philippines pageant will be held on Sunday, Feb. 3.
Morales believes that pageants have become a venue for many women to become empowered. She encouraged other married women to join or learn from beauty pageants.
“They should learn how to speak up for themselves. Age doesn’t matter if you have dreams. You will be empowered if you will push through with your dreams. There’s no such thing as age limit as long as you are still capable of doing what you want to do,” she said.
A widow, Morales said that she loves to mingle with people because socializing make her feel young. She has three grown-up children: two of them already working while the other one is set to take the medical board exams.
“There is no such thing as slowing down as long as your body can do it. Socializing makes me young because it makes you happy,” she said.
Other activities that keep Morales busy include her membership in various organizations such as the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers, Rotary Club of Nuvali, Inner Wheel Club of Makati North District 383, All Nation’s Women’s Group, Club Bulakenya, Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA), Million Dollar Round Table, and Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals, among others.