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Funny how I could’ve posted my blog on Miss Philippines Bea Rose Santiago last night, in just less than one minute after she was proclaimed as Miss International 2013 in Japan. 

To be honest, I’d already prepared my write-up even before the announcement of the five finalists, although I wasn’t viewing the pageant via online streaming and had no clue how Bea Rose Santiago fared alongside the 67 other goddesses of beauty from their respective countries. I was just on Ceres Liner bus, on my way back to Cebu City from Malabuyoc, engulfed in three things: listening to Regine Velasquez’s “I Know” over and over again, watching the first three parts of Tom Cruise’s “Mission Impossible,” and glancing at my phone from time to time for real-time updates on Miss International 2013 thanks to my friend Aurelia Castro, Bea’s relative from Masbate, who was watching the show from Shinagawa Prince Hotel Hall in Tokyo. 

And I’d just arrived in my city pad when the first update—posted by another friend and former Philippine representative to Miss World, Anna Maris Igpit, who may just have been watching it via online streaming—had surfaced on my NewsFeed, so that all I had to do was just click “post,” before I plunged into my bed, crying as though it was I who won the crown. However, being alone in my room and had no one else to share my impassioned joy with, I called my family member in Malabuyoc (Sebastian’s father, Ramil Allera Villaruel) and my colleague (Kreighdon Mahilum). Quite incidentally and ironically, they sounded the same upon answering my call, “Are you O.K.? Why are you crying? Is there something wrong?” I could hear Ramil yawning from Malabuyoc and Kreighdon yawning just as loud from Lahug. Bad timing, it seemed.

So I apologized and reasoned, my voice cracking, “Huhuhu!!! Miss Philippines . . . Bea Rose Santiago . . . crowned as Miss International 2013 in Japan . . . just a few minutes ago. Yes, I’m crying, because I can’t contain my happiness right now, and I could explode if I didn’t share it.”

Most of my hunch, from the night she was crowned as Binibining Pilipinas-International 2013 last April, was that Bea Rose Santiago would bring home the fifth Miss International crown to our country. Her divinely chiseled cheekbones, forehead, and chin made her a cut above the rest of her fellow Binibining Pilipinas titleholders: for the title of Miss International, a 53-year-old Japan-based beauty pageant which, based on my observation and many other followers’, prefers the “sweet and soft,” to the “glamorous and classy” style of Miss World, and the “fierce and flirtatious” look of Miss Universe.

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