Miss World tilt goes on in China despite territorial dispute
Unfazed by the brewing tension between the Philippines and China over territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea, 2015 Miss World Philippines Hillarie Danielle Parungao is excited to participate in the 63rd edition of the Miss World pageant in Sanya, China.
Speaking to local scribes during her recent send-off press conference at the C3 Events Hall in San Juan, the 24-year-old nursing graduate from Solano, Nueva Vizcaya, said: “A competition like this promotes hope, understanding and friendship among nations.”
She added: “We have to understand each other. For now, let’s…be friends with them. Let us uphold compassion and empathy.”
Parungao said she was confident the Miss World Organization (MWO) would not allow the dispute between the two governments to get in the way of the competition. “I believe the [MWO] upholds integrity, and I don’t think there is anything that can destroy that.”
She also asked citizens from both nations to let the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, which is hearing the country’s complaint against China related to the territorial dispute, resolve the matter. “We just have to wait for the decision,” Parungao appealed.
Cory Quirino, the Miss World pageant’s national director for the Philippines, expressed optimism that Parungao would bag the crown for the Philippines, like what Megan Young did in 2013 in Bali, Indonesia.
“Once again, we are dreaming, hoping and praying that the Miss World crown will come back to its true home, the Philippines. Hillarie is more than prepared; she’s ready to show the world what a Filipino stands for…who she is and what her role is in the world. It’s all about making a difference in people’s lives; that’s what we call ‘beauty with a purpose,’” Quirino declared.
To uphold the pageant’s battle cry, “beauty with a purpose,” Parungao explained her advocacy of preventing child mortality.
“I have a project called ‘Katuwang’ or ‘Partner’ to fight child mortality. I want to bring this worldwide,” she explained.
“I started the project because during my community nursing class in college, I saw the situation of the children in far-flung communities. I went to the Department of Health in Nueva Vizcaya to check which area was suffering the most in terms of child mortality; it was Barangay Nanchangan in the town of Cayapa,” Parungao added.
“For my ‘beauty with a purpose’ project, I came up with a fund-raising program in August, which consisted of a Zumba-for-a-cause, a fun run and a charity dinner.”
After the first leg of her project, Parungao was proud to have raised P300,000, which she said ‘will go a long way in such a small community.’”
According to Parungao, she plans to use part of her P1-million prize money to fund her project, so she may help provide “sufficient water supply, sanitation and vaccination” not only to Nanchangan but to other communities, as well.
She also hopes to use her participation in the 2015 Miss World pageant as a platform for the global expansion of her project.
Parungao is up against 113 representatives from other countries. The grand coronation night will be staged at the Crown Beauty Theatre in Sanya, China, on Dec. 19.
Young, the first Filipina to bag the Miss World crown, will host the ceremonies.