To the Max

Will Philip­pines notch a back-to-back win at the Miss Uni­verse pageant? Binib­in­ing Pilip­inas Uni­verse Max­ine Me­d­ina be­lieves so.

Manila Bulletin - - Front Page - By KAREN VALEZA

Will Philip­pines notch a back-to-back win at the Miss Uni­verse pageant? Binib­in­ing Pilip­inas - Uni­verse Max­ine Me­d­ina be­lieves so.

“We can do this,” she said in a re­cent in­ter­view.

Cur­rent Miss Uni­verse ti­tle­holder Pia Wurtzbach won the ti­tle in dra­matic fash­ion at the 64th edi­tion of the pageant and all eyes are on Max­ine ac­com­plish­ing a re­peat.

With only a few days left be­fore pageant night on Jan. 30 at the Mall of Asia Arena, Max­ine shared she is more than pre­pared for the task at hand.

“Of course, this is once in a life­time chance. As such, I am de­vot­ing my­self fully to it, for the coun­try, for the com­mu­nity, for every­one. This is some­thing that can re­ally in­spire our peo­ple to dream big, get­ting the crown,” she said.

As part of her pageant prepa­ra­tions, Max­ine has un­der­gone work­shops from the Binib­in­ing Pilip­inas Or­ga­ni­za­tion, Aces and Queen and John Robert Pow­ers.

She won’t be need­ing an in­ter­preter for the Q&A por­tion, main­tain­ing she is pre­pared to an­swer in English.

“It’s our choice. And for me, I would like to speak in English. That’s the pride of the Philip­pines,” she said. “We are proud as Filipinos that we can speak English flu­ently. I am mak­ing sure that I will be great on stage.”

Sev­eral other can­di­dates have al­ready ar­rived in the coun­try. When asked whom she thinks is her tough­est com­peti­tor, Max­ine said, “Tig­nan na lang natin.” She in­ti­mated, “Lagi akong nag-istalk sa In­sta­gram, sa Face­book. I’ve seen them, I’m also lis­ten­ing when they speak. So yes, I’m pre­pared.”

With the Philip­pines host­ing the pageant, many be­lieve Max­ine has great ad­van­tage over oth­ers and she agrees.

“It’s re­ally ful­fill­ing for me to have the pageant staged here in the Philip­pines. It’s also nice to know we’re go­ing around the Philip­pines. It’s my goal na be­fore I go around the world, I would go around the Philip­pines first,” she said.

Max­ine and some can­di­dates who came in early have al­ready been af­forded a visit to In­tra­muros, Siar­gao Beach, and Cebu.

She hopes that through th­ese trav­els, can­di­dates would get a glimpse of our rich cul­ture, our hos­pi­tal­ity and re­siliency.

“We Filipinos are very re­silient peo­ple, we rise above chal­lenges in our lives. We can face all the tragedies and that is the most im­por­tant thing I am proud of as a Filipino,” she said.

Max­ine, who will be wear­ing gowns de­signed by Rhett Eala for the pageant, ad­mit­ted she’s feel­ing the pres­sure this early but Binib­in­ing Pilip­inas Char­i­ties Inc and fel­low Binib­in­ing Pilip­inas beauty queens help ease her out of it through con­stant en­cour­age­ment.

As to Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte pos­si­bly at­tend­ing corona­tion night, she said she’d be “very hon­ored” if he goes.

With fans now get­ting more ex­cited about the pageant, Max­ine re­minded every­one to be re­spect­ful of other can­di­dates.

“Let’s all treat them equally. Hindi na­man natin maaalis na we are all hop­ing for a back-to-back win but let’s just be happy for every­one in the pageant,” she said.

Asked why she de­serves the Miss Uni­verse crown, “I am em­pow­ered. When I started this jour­ney, I never thought of my­self as a beauty queen, but now I re­ally feel em­pow­ered. I want to in­spire the youth to pur­sue their own ad­vo­cacy as well. I think I will be Miss Uni­verse 2016 be­cause I re­ally want to em­power peo­ple. I will be giv­ing my best 100%.”

She hopes that through the pageant she will el­e­vate HIV (Hu­man Im­mun­od­e­fi­ciency Virus) aware­ness.

“I want to be of help to those with HIV, par­tic­u­larly the youth. I would like to give them hope, give them ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion, live the life they should,” she said.

Max­ine also aims to in­spire young girls hop­ing to be­come beauty queens some­day.

“I’m sure there’s a lit­tle girl out there who, just like me, doesn’t know she can be a beauty queen. I hope to em­power (her), them.”

‘I’m sure there’s a lit­tle girl out there who, just like me, doesn’t know she can be a beauty queen. them.’ I hope to em­power (her),

MAX­INE ME­D­INA (Photo by Rio Leonelle Delu­vio)

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