Boholana beauty queen Marcelina Marcel Gatal-Diego, who was named Miss Young Bohol 1983, died Wednesday afternoon after a long bout with breast cancer. She was 53.
“At around three o’clock today, All Souls’ Day, our eldest Ate Marcel Gatal- Diego lost her three year battle with breast cancer,” her younger brother Raul wrote on Facebook.
Her death was also confirmed by fellow beauty queen Fiel Angeli Araoarao-Gabin who expressed her shock and sadness at her death on social media.
“Another beautiful angel has gone to the Great Beyond,” said Fiel, who was Miss Tagbilaran 1987.
In 1982, Marcel represented the province of Bohol to the Hiyas ng Silangan-Philippines. She was adjudged Miss Talent and eventually chosen to be in the Top 10 finalists from among 30 candidates from all over the country. In 1983, she was crowned Miss Young Bohol, the precedent of Miss Bohol.
Her good command of the English language ushered her way to various opportunities, including having been a radio newscaster and a disk jockey of KISS 102.3 FM during her college days at the Divine Word College of Tagbilaran (DWC-T) now Holy Name University.
She was also actively involved in the JCI-Chocolate Hills and in the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals (BCBP).
Marcel was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013. In her battle, she had demonstrated extraordinary calm, faith and courage in her fight against cancer as she underwent chemotherapy. However, she opted to choose an alternative medication after chemotherapy killed her other organs.
“Chemo was not meant for her body,” VRS said.
And after a brief remission this year, Marcel did not lose weight, hair, voice and vision. However, she had difficulties in speaking because she developed another cancer–lung cancer.
Her death has left her families, friends and supporters in mourning. Many of them have lost a part of their hearts.
Marcel’s younger brother Mikey who was about to blow his candle as he celebrated his birthday (Nov. 1 in the US) got a phone call from his sister Nikki.
“I thought she (Nikki) would say a birthday greetings, but it gave me the sad news that our eldest sister joined our Papa Roger in heaven already and I put on a brave face and held on my tears not to cry on my birthday,” said Mikey.
“It’s been difficult for all of us during this time of the year. I cried a river, knowing that three of my loved ones died of cancer, Hector, Kevin’s mother and now my sister,” he added.
As news of Marcel’s death spread, so did the tributes.
“Rest in the Kingdom of the Lord Marcel: My student and queen,” said Bohol’s Queen of All Media Ardy Ines Batoy-Araneta on Facebook. It was Ardy who discovered and plucked Marcel from anonymity during her student days.
High school classmate Jocelyn Oppus, who is based in Los Angeles, called the news of Marcel’s death “desperately sad.”
“Rest in peace my classmate and volleyball mate…one of the ‘Carnation’ babies,” she said.
Note: Her remains will arrive from Manila for one final viewing on Wednesday, November 9 at the Funeraria Gomez-Udtohan on CPG Avenue, Tagbilaran City. Requiem mass and interment has been scheduled on Thursday, November 10.
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