Name one famous symbol or place in Bicol and majority will revert with this. . .
Though I was not born nor raised in Bicol, both my parents are from the Region V. My mother’s father was from Legazpi, Albay while my father is 100% born & bred from Caramoan, Camarines Sur. Albay and Camarines Sur? Sure it sound familiar to all of you as these are also the hometown of Philippines’ other “universal symbols”:
Miriam Quiambao was born in Quezon City (the same city where I was born too) but her mother was a native of Albay. Raj Venus, on the other hand, grew up in Bato, Camarines Sur where her mother was a native. See now the analogy: Me + Miriam = born in Quezon City + our mothers are from Albay; Me + Venus = parents are from Camarines Sur. So to sum it all: Me + Miriam + Venus = Proud Bicolanos! Adding fuel to the fire, we all possess the same chocolatey skin color (“,)
Now, forget about me for a moment and let’s dig closer the similarities of these two beauty queens.
I was in my hotel room in Ho Chi Minh City and thirty minutes before my appointment with our spa supplier, Venus Raj was called as the 15th finalist in the recently concluded Miss Universe 2010. And for the first time in a very loooooooong while, I cried…seriously! Goosebumps surrounded my body and my eyes turned red with all these tears of joy that finally, after eleven years, Philippines made it to the finals of this most popular beauty pageant. So I have to quickly freshen up my face again and though it kills me, I have to switch off my TV, check out early and rush for my spa site visit.
During Miriam’s competition, I was working as a Copywriter in an award-winning medium-sized ad agency in the Philippines. Our copy room was on the second floor and our Media Manager whose office was situated at the ground floor was the only one who got the TV set. In short, I have to go back and forth just to watch the live telecast, regardless of what my other colleagues would say about me. And my excuse at that time, I need an “inspiration” so I could do better with my copy tasks 😛
Aside from their being a Bicolana, what does Miriam and Venus do have in common that made them a cut above the rest among the Binibining Pilipinas Universe candidates that we sent to compete with the rest of other comely delegates of Miss Universe?
- Appeal: Both became strongest, visible and favorite contenders.
- Courage: While Venus won the Chicken Wing Eating Contest, Miriam on the other hand collected herself, regained composure, walked graciously, finished her walk, and drew applause from the audience when she fell during the evening gown competition on the preliminary round.
- High Soaring Scorers: Miriam consistently placed second during the pageant’s preliminaries and bested a composite score of 9.52, just trailing behind the score of the South African candidate. At the semifinals, she once again placed second overall in the swimsuit and evening gown competitions, racking up scores as high as 9.32 and 9.42 respectively. Venus on the other hand received the highest rating in the Miss Universe website, with 3.54 points, the highest-ever for a Filipina delegate. She also ranked third during the swimsuit and fifth on the evening gown competitions.
- Q&A Fate: While Miriam faltered during the final question, which tackled the debate of whether a Miss Universe should continue her reign even if she gets pregnant and landed her the 1st Runner-up title, Venus on the other hand got overwhelmed with all the attention that she’s getting and forgot to focus on her question from actor William Baldwin, “What is one big mistake you’ve made, and what did you do to make it right?”.
- Binibining Pilipinas Challenge: Miriam took over to represent the country in the Miss Universe Pageant when the original winner was dethroned due to questionable citizenship. The latter became the same subject of controversy for Venus who was dethroned and reinstated, a first time record for a Binibining Pilipinas crown holder.
- Exotic Looks: While both possess a brown complexion, Miriam has that “chinita” beauty while Venus has that “Middle Eastern” look.
- Last Name’s Chronological Sequence: Coincidental or not, Miriam’s last name starts with letter “Q” while Venus is “R”. Does this mean that our next contender must have a surname ending with letter “S” to end up in the final round of Miss Universe in the near future? Just a thought.
In general, both Venus and Miriam put Philippines on the world map. Miriam continues to stride with her celebrity status after her successful Miss Universe stint while Venus will surely hit like fire with tons of product endorsements, TV appearances and even a movie with a title, “Major, Major” (which I will not be surprised at all) real soon. Talking about accomplishments, while both made our country proud via a Miss Universe runner-up title, I, on the lighter side nabbed an award here in the Land of Smiles.
Sarung Banggi, a famous Bicol song which means, “One Night” or “One Evening” is exactly what happened that changed the lives of Miriam and Venus. One evening, one event that changed their whole life, their whole destiny. More than being a fellow product of Bicol, I’m truly proud of them. And last but certainly not the least, we’re all proud to be a Filipino.