The following are parts of the StarLife interview with Melrick by email.
Starlife: What made you venture into this kind of competition?
Melrick: My first reason joining in joining the Hari pageant was for me to build my confidence up. Second, I wanted to experience doing something new for myself like meeting new friends and lastly I was hoping to achieve something for myself.
StarLife: How did your loved ones react when you told them of your plan?
Melrick: When I told my parents that I would join Hari ng Negros, they asked me if was really sure of my decision. I initially doubted but, eventually, I decided to join and I did not regret it. My girlfriend also encouraged me join right away when I told her of my plan but when I started going out of town on weekends because of my commitment as a candidate, she wanted me to stop. I told her it would be embarrassing to quit mid-way.
StarLife: Tell us of your experiences during the competition?
Melrick: It was fun hanging out with my new friends but the rehearsals and preparations were difficult, like keeping watch on my diet, and doing workouts regularly.
It was, at the same time, challenging because it was my first time to be in a contest like this and most of my co-candidates are so experienced in this field already. I developed friendship and bonding which I never had before. Those trips to Canlaon every weekend were most memorable to me and I looked forward to them to meet my new friends once more.
StarLife: Did you expect to make it to the Top Five?
Melrick: Honestly I was just aiming for the Top 10 because I knew that my co-candidates have been preparing a lot and I never did the same. When I made to the Top Five, I felt so blessed already and I even told the Lord that even if I wouldn’t make it to the Top 3, I’d still be happy. Luckily, I was chosen as among the three finalists and eventually the new hari. I have to confess that I was holding the Holy Rosary while awaiting the final result until my name was called.
StarLife: What do you think made you win?
Melrick: I think it’s not only because I did my best like the others do. During the question-and-answer portion, I also made it sure that all of my answers should come from my heart and I think that was the difference that the judges saw in me. Director Mario J. de los Reyes, told me later I had the most honest and sincere answer among the three of us that’s why he chose me to be the Hari. He was the one who broke the tie because he was the chairman of the panel of judges. I learned there was a triple tie.
StarLife: Would you attribute your winning to someone else other than yourself?
Melrick: Yes, to my family who supported me wholeheartedly.
StarLife: What prizes did you win?
Melrick: I got a full scholarship with allowance from Prof. Vicente Sinning of Euclid University and also P20,000 cash from the paegant organizers. I’m planning to save my prize for future expenses.
StarLife: What preparations did you make for the competition?
Melrick: Since I was a bit chubby before the pageant, I went on a crash diet course and I really tried to build a lot of confidence because I knew it was one important thing I needed in the competition.
StarLife: How did your family and friends react to your winning?
Melrick: My family, friends, neighbors, any relatives were shocked that I won as Hari ng Negros because most of them never knew that I joined and they just saw me on television.
StarLife: What do you perceive as your responsibilities, being the new Hari ng Negros?
Melrick: I must be a good model. I should be proud to represent Negros anywhere I go and I should do some little things to help Negros, especially along tourism because one of the purposes of our competition is to help improve tourism in the island.
StarLife: What does the title mean to you?
Melrick: As a student and also being the youngest among the Hari titleholders, this title means a lot to me and I am so thankful to God and to everyone who supported me that I was named the winner.
StarLife: What projects do you plan to initiate within the year so that your reign will make a difference?
Melrick: If given a chance to initiate some projects, I will try make people of both sides of Negros closer even if we speak different dialects. I want to break that language barrier because I think this is one of the reasons why people from each side are not close with each other. This can be dome through socialization and related activities or anything that can unite the people from each side.
StarLife: In what ways has the experience helped you in your preparation for the future?
Melrick: It made me more confident but I have stayed humble despite some degree of fame this achievement has brought me.