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    When one talks about the beauty of Baguio, it is not only the breathtaking mountain scenery and cool weather that attracts people to the city, but also the warmth and graciousness of its people. Binibining Pilipinas-Universe 2001 Zorayda Ruth Andam represents the best of Baguio, not only because of her beauty but also because of her advocacies, which includes helping promote tourism in her hometown. Here, she shares with us why although she spends much time in Manila, Baguio will always be on her mind. This is her Baguio. This is her SM.

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    For Bb. Pilipinas Universe 2001 and lawyer Zorayda Ruth Andam, Baguio will always be on her mind.

    Manila Bulletin: What has kept you busy after being crowned Binibining Pilipinas-Universe in 2001?

    Zora: After the pageant, I pursued my childhood dream of becoming a lawyer, and finished my Bachelor of Laws degree from the UP College of Law in 2004. I became a full pledged lawyer when I passed the bar exams in 2005.

    I now work at the ACCRA Law Office where I handle different types of cases. I also anchor the late night newscast of IBC 13.

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    Zora loves the artistic design of SM City Baguio with a nice veranda which has a breathtaking 180 degree view of the city.

    MB: Would you say that being a beauty queen is an advantage is your profession?

    Zora: Not really. But I would say that it helps me promote my advocacies in the legal and other fields. It has opened doors of opportunity in the workplace and beyond.

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    Bb. Pilipinas Universe Zora Andam at the My City, My SM launch at SM City Baguio with, from left, SM VP and My City, My SM Project Head Millie Dizon, DOT Director Purificacion Molintas, Baguio City Mayor Reinaldo Bautista, Jr., National Artist Bencab and SM City Baguio Mall Manager Amy Gonzales.

    MB: Since you are based in Manila most of the time, how often do you visit Baguio? What do you think makes your hometown special?

    Zora: I try to visit Baguio during long weekends and holidays, and whenever there is a special occasion. What I love best about Baguio is its small town feel where everyone knows everybody. I keep in touch with friends and relatives from my hometown – we treat each other like family.

    Baguio is a destination in itself, and tourists flock there especially during the Panagbenga festival and the summer months. I myself make it a point to invite friends to Baguio. I am proud to show them what Baguio has in store for them.

    MB: If you were to bring friends around Baguio, where would you take them?

    Zora: If they come in time for the Panagbenga, I would let them enjoy the festival. I would also share with them things I love doing most in my hometown – exploring Session Road, riding ponies around Wright Park, long walks and picnics under the pines. I would also take them to our family- owned restaurant located along Marcos Highway. I’d give them a taste of our house specialties including fresh Baguio veggies.

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    Located along Session Road, SM City Baguio was designed to follow the terrain of the land with terraces so that shoppers can enjoy the breathtaking scenery and cool mountain air in the City of Pines. It has also raised the standards of shopping in the city by combining international and national brands as well as homegrown retailers

    MB: Would you take them shopping at SM?

    Zora: Of course, SM City Baguio is unlike any other SM mall. I particularly love its artistic design, which seems to have been customized for Baguio. It is an open structure, allowing the cool breeze to enter the building. The viewing deck is also nice – it’s a good place to just relax and sip coffee with friends.

    MB: Would you say that SM has become part of the Baguio lifestyle?

    Zora: Yes, local tourists from nearby provinces come to Baguio just to be able to shop at SM. If I would take friends there, I would take them to the veranda which has a breathtaking 180 degree view of the city, around the mall’s manicured gardens and pathways, to sip a cup of Cordillera coffee, and of course enjoy great shopping. SM truly has it all.