WHILE the whole nation was caught up in the Miss World frenzy after Megan Young bagged the title, another beauty queen quietly relished a victory of her own.
Miss Universe 1999 first runner-up Miriam Quiambao got engaged to her boyfriend, Ardy Roberto—a Christian motivational speaker, author and entrepreneur.
I’ve never seen Miriam happier. I remember when I interviewed her on TV5’s defunct “Paparazzi,” her heart was then in limbo, feeling disoriented after her separation from her Italian husband.
But now, Miriam’s heart has found its way to paradise. The former Miss Philippines will never be dethroned as Queen of Ardy’s world.
Here’s my tête-à-tête with the excited bride-to-be:
Tell us about the surprise proposal.
Ardy invited me to a morning prayer walk on Oct. 6, Sunday, around BGC (Bonifacio Global City). He said we would meet a couple of friends for breakfast afterwards. So we walked and prayed. Once in a while, he stopped, looked at me and said, “Babe, I’m really happy with you. I love you.”
And my response was, “Me, too. I’m happy with you.”
We walked until we reached the BGC gardens walking trail. He asked if he could go ahead to check on our friends, adding he would wait for me at a blind corner.
I was busy looking at people doing their morning exercises and absent-mindedly agreed. I considered stopping for a while but thought it might be too hot so I kept walking. As I turned the corner, I noticed a banner hanging from light posts. It read: “Miriam (babe), will you marry me? Ardy and Joshy” plus a couple of Bible verses: “Love never gives up.” (1 Cor. 13:8) and “Perfect love drives out fear.” (1 John 4:18)
A group of friends hiding behind tall bushes stepped out to hand me long-stemmed red and white roses. Giggling, I turned toward Ardy who was starting to kneel on one knee, his right hand holding a ring.
He looked at me lovingly and said, “Babe, marry me na.” I remember looking up, asking God if I should since it had only been three months [that we had been going out].
But, in full faith and love, I said, “Yes!” I knelt on the ground with him, he put the ring on my finger then we stood up and hugged each other.
Our friends applauded and almost nonstop picture-taking followed.
How do you know Ardy is the one?
Last year, I made a list of qualities I wanted in a life partner. The list is in Ardy’s book, “Real Men are P.O.G.I.”, page 109. These qualities cover all aspects: spiritual, intellectual/mental, financial, emotional, physical, even the man’s character.
The most important quality is being a man after God’s heart. I can see (Ardy) will be a very good husband. He is already a great father. He had 38 of the 40 qualities I listed. The remaining two were Caucasian/Pinoy and at least 5’11” in height.
But as I got to know him, his inner character was so compelling, I decided that height and mestizo looks were not that important.
What lessons did you learn from your first marriage that will guide you in your union with Ardy?
Ardy and I have brought Christ into the center of our relationship. It’s something I didn’t have in my first marriage. I truly believe that Christ keeps all things together. Colossians 1:17-20 says, “And [Christ] is before all things, and in Him all things hold together…”
What makes you confident your union is for keeps despite it being a whirlwind romance?
God is our matchmaker and He will be faithful in completing what He started in and through us.
How many kids do you plan to have and how do you intend to raise them?
Ardy has an adorable 5-year-old son. God willing, we’ll have a few more. We plan to raise them to be lovers of the Lord.
Will you continue your show biz career after marriage? How does Ardy feel about you being a celebrity and a beauty queen?
If there are opportunities I’d be happy to take them. Ardy doesn’t mind taking pictures for fans. Hahaha!
What was the sweetest thing Ardy did for you?
Oh, wow! Ardy has been super sweet and romantic from the time we started dating. He writes me sweet love letters, treats me to a massage, takes care of me when I’m sick, sends flowers and surprise gifts for no reason, treats me to surprise trips, dedicates love songs on YouTube … He has promised to court me for the rest of our lives. But I guess the sweetest thing he did for me was when he sang “I’ll Never Give Up on Us” by Jason Mraz and slow-danced with me in the privacy of the garden/pool area of my condo. It was magical!
How do you handle misunderstandings?
Ardy is very emotionally mature and can handle my emotions very well. We talk through our misunderstandings and find ways to prevent the situation from happening again.
What are your apprehensions about marriage?
Any apprehensions arose from my experience in my previous marriage.
What do you love most about Ardy and how has he made you a better person?
He has helped me see what’s really important in life: God, family, love, relationships. He brings me up when I am down. He encourages me when I am unsure of myself. He gives value to my work and ministry. He believes in me more than I believe in myself. He helps build my faith and leads me to an even deeper love for the Lord.
What’s your promise to each other?
On our very first date, he made his intentions clear: He liked me, he wanted to get to know me because he meant to marry me. He gave me a letter that night that read like marriage vows.
I want to help him be the best he can be so he can fulfill God’s purposes for him. I also want to be the best person I can be, as his life partner.
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PERSONAL: Kudos to my good friend Cat Ilacad of my fave “girly place,” Posh Nails Spa Salon, for the well-deserved “Outstanding Achievement in Entrepreneurship” recognition at the Agora Awards.