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Our country has suffered more than enough this year. From the political scumbags’ myriad scandals to the Oct. 15 earthquake, the Nov. 4 tornado to the Nov. 8 super typhoon, and all that jazz, I think that we deserve some sort of a breather although, apparently, there’s really no great news that would effectively dispel the havoc which many of our countrymen have experienced from all of the above. 

I know that not even the two crowns—Miss Supranational and Miss World—which the Philippines has won for this year could help to save the lives lost and restore the roofs blown away, but who are we to complain if the Miss Universe 2013 crown will be cinched by our very own Ariel Allera—er, Ariella Arida—a few hours from now in Moscow, Russia?

Ariella Arida may not be as articulate as Maria Sovietskaya Bacud, but she’s certainly equipped with her own brand of wit and wisdom which only she will know how to bring to the judges’ table. After all, she’s not joining an extemporaneous speaking competition. Most of Ariella is fit for the crown and ready to sit on the throne prepared for the most beautiful and responsible woman in the universe.

Don’t you go ahead of me by saying that I take too much pride in our names being homonymous, but the name “Ariella Arida” just sounds surpassingly regal and suitably beauty-queenly. Having said that, I’m getting ready to yelp in joy later when hosts Thomas Roberts and Mel B end the night by saying: “Miss Universe 2013 is Philippines, Ariella Arida!”

This is the fourth year that I’ve been blogging on Miss Universe, both predicting our delegates’ placements and at the same time hoping for the most coveted crown. In 2010 I said that Venus Raj would be in the top five—she was awarded as fourth runner-up. The following year, I wrote that Shamcey Supsup would surely be among the five finalists—she was third runner-up. And then, last year, I was confident in my prediction that Janine Tugonon would be one of the last two standing—she ended up as first runner-up to USA’s Olivia Culpo.

All I can say for this year is that, if Ariella Arida could manage to say her piece with enough—actually, just enough—conviction and confidence during the crucial Question-and-Answer portion of the pageant, then, sure as fate, she will bring home the Miss Universe 2013 crown, a third for our country (after Gloria Diaz in 1969 and Margarita “Margie” Moran in 1973). But if she made a huge blunder—which our last year’s delegate didn’t—then Ariella Arida will repeat Janine Tugonon’s feat, or be called as second runner-up—the only position other than the crown which we haven’t won since Venus Raj paved the way in 2010.

As they say, after every storm comes a rainbow. Let’s see and let’s keep our fingers crossed both for our beautiful Ariella Arida to win the Miss Universe 2013 crown and, of course, for our fellow countrymen out there whose lives and homes have been ravaged by ugly Yolanda.

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