Miss Universe Philippines bets from Laguna, Pampanga to settle ‘unfinished business’

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Alexandra Mae Rosales (left) and Cyrille Payumo/ARMIN P. ADINA

The Miss Universe Philippines 2024 pageant has attracted a lot of seasoned contestants, among them are two ladies who even brought home international titles—2022 Miss Supermodel Worldwide Alexandra Mae Rosales from Laguna and 2019 Miss Tourism International Cyrille Payumo from Pampanga.

Both ladies have also taken part in the Binibining Pilipinas pageant, and Payumo even participated in the Mutya ng Pilipinas competition. So why still join the Miss Universe Philippines pageant? The COVID-19 pandemic has something to do with the decision, they said.

“I have unfinished business from Binibining Pilipinas, because, as you know, I joined during the pandemic, and I was working in a hotel that time, and it was really a struggle for me since we were gravely affected that time, so I didn’t have any means or financial resources,” Rosales told INQUIRER.net at the sidelines of the Miss Universe Philippines Sponsors Night held at the Manila Hotel earlier this month.

She joined the Bb. Pilipinas pageant in 2020, but the competition was postponed because of the global health crisis. It resumed in 2021, but there were only a few activities because of the restrictions imposed at that time. “So I ended up being here, and with a lot of activities. And I’m just having fun, and I love it. It would be a good thing even if I don’t win. It’s already a bonus because I was able to experience everything that I didn’t experience in Binibini that time,” the educator shared.

In Payumo’s case, she won her international crown in December 2019, just a couple of months before the world ground to a halt because of COVID-19. “For me it’s also unfinished business. Most of the people know that after I won, there came the pandemic. So I really didn’t enjoy my reign,” she said.

“And this is also my childhood dream, Miss Universe. All of those experiences, those defeats, and victories, are lessons learned for me to be able to join Miss Universe,” continued the statuesque Kapampangan model.

Rosales said the Miss Universe crown is still worth pursuing even after she had already brought honor to the country. “Miss Universe has changed a lot. Before, it’s all about the physical appearance. Now you can see their kindness and their advocacies, and how women are more powerful now, and it shows. And I think a crown gives a woman more power,” she explained.

Payumo said she has found more significance in the Miss Universe title given everything she has experienced. “To be able to show my platform, my authenticity, it’s really a big difference from the Cyrille that you know before. I’ve grown so much. And for me, I can say that I’m ready to conquer the universe, and ready to represent our flag, and sash, the Philippines, in Miss Universe,” she shared.

The two ladies are among the 53 ladies from all over the Philippines and from overseas Filipino communities competing to succeed Michelle Marquez Dee as Miss Universe Philippines. The winner will be crowned at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on May 22.

Four titles under the sister platform The Miss Philippines are also at stake, and will be awarded after the coronation show—Miss Supranational Philippines, Miss Charm Philippines, Miss Eco International Philippines, and Miss Cosmo Philippines.