How would you introduce Mindanao to the universe? (and other questions with another Mindanawon beauty queen)

It’s easy to see why everyone is excited about Pia Wurtzbach who will represent the country for the upcoming Miss Universe pageant: her easy confidence speaks so much about the kind of woman that she is—that she’s full of substance and visions for the communities around her.

She perfectly symbolizes the Filipino people at their best: optimistic, strong, and happy. This reflects in the way she expresses her ideas and opinions—this interview, a quick look into how Pia sees Mindanao and the universe, is a testament to that.

Share your fond memories of Cagayan De Oro.
Going to school everyday in Kong Hua and most especially Corpus Christi (high school); biking around our neighborhood in Golden Village; going to Limketkai and Gaisano with my family to eat and buy new toys.

What’s your best childhood memory?
Growing up in Corpus Christi and having amazing teachers as our mentors. I learned the value of discipline and education there. I remember having one of my birthdays in Jollibee Limketkai as a child. Haha

Pia smiles to the crowd during a meet and greet event in Cagayan de Oro City. Photo from Facebook page of Bb, Pilipinas
Pia smiles to the crowd during a meet and greet event in Cagayan de Oro City. Photo from Facebook page of Bb, Pilipinas

How often do you get to visit your hometown now?
Not as often as I’d like, unfortunately. Last time I visited was 2010.
(Pia spent most of her time living in CDO when she was 4 until 9; more recently, she visited her hometown after winning the Bb. Pilipinas pageant)

What’s your favorite Mindanao destination?
Of course, Cagayan de Oro. There’s always that comforting feeling when you back to a familiar place–especially when that place was once your home.

What are your summer must-haves?
Sunblock, water, blotting paper, a camera and good company.

How would you introduce Mindanao to the universe?
The best way to describe a place is to show them what the people are like. And I think I embody the Philippines wherever I go.

What can we do about the unrest that is constantly looming in Mindanao?
[To have] better communication.

What’s your dream for Mindanao?
Peace for Muslim Mindanao.

How will you respond to calls for an “all-out war” in Mindanao?
Unnecessary–especially when there are other ways to resolve conflict without bloodshed.

How will you promote inter-faith, inter-cultural dialogue?
By raising awareness and educating people about it.

How do you feel about finally bagging the Pilipinas-Universe crown?
Ecstatic. It took me a long time to get here but it’s all been worth it.

What do you hope to bring to the Ms Universe arena?
A woman that the Philippines can be proud of.

What important lesson(s) about life did you learn from your experiences in joining beauty pageants and in pursuing the Bb. Pilipinas-Universe crown?
Patience, humility and hard work. Patience because God has perfect timing. You may not get what you want right away but when the time is right He will give it to you when you’re ready. Humility because falling is an opportunity to reflect and analyze where you went wrong and how to build yourself up again. Hard work because nothing is given to you on a silver platter for nothing. If you want something done, you have to work for it. Focus on the ordinary and God will take care of the extraordinary.

How do you deal with your weaknesses?
I work on them. And I mask them well. 😉

Whom do you consider to be your role models?
Beyonce is the perfect role model for women empowerment. Madonna is my idol when it comes to her wisdom and fearlessness. She balances it well. And Manny Pacquiao is the perfect example that hard work and not forgetting your roots will get you far.

What causes are you passionate about?
Women empowerment. I think nowadays women shouldn’t be afraid to stand up, speak up and go for what they want. I found interest in this when my parents got separated and my mom raised me and my sister on her own. I find that admirable.

How do you want to make a difference in the country?
I want people to start being accepting of other cultures, religion, races, sexual orientations, etc. I want to see us be more open and welcome diversity.