Maria Isabela Galeria, the candidate of Sorsogon for the Miss Universe Philippines pageant, announced on Thursday, October 15 that will no longer push through with her participation in the competition as she is still recovering from COVID-19.
Isabela made the announcement on her social media accounts.
"As you may all know, I tested positive for COVID19," Isabela wrote. "I started to develop signs and symptoms on September 27, 2020, starting with nasal congestion and loss of sense of taste/smell. I occasionally felt like there was something heavy on my chest. Fortunately, it was bearable and didn't progress to a more severe level of DOB (Difficulty of Breathing). I then started to manifest rashes accompanied by extreme itchiness and dry skin. I woke up last October 3 with red, itchy, and teary eyes. I was under a handful of medications for more than two weeks to manage my symptoms."
Isabela said that after 14 days, she was supposed to released but still had some of the symptoms. On October 11, she and her dad, who also tested positive for COVID-19, survived the virus.
"I'm forever grateful to each of you who invested so much time and effort in helping me through this journey; however, even with a strong will to fight, my body is not well conditioned yet," Isabela said.
"With a heavy heart, I believe now is not the right time to join the pageant. I still feel tired, and I don't think my body will allow me to participate in the activities of Miss Universe Philippines."
"I hope you understand this is something beyond my control. I've thought hard and cried for so many nights about this. I have the willpower, but my body is not cooperating."
"I'm praying for your utmost understanding."
Isabela was one of the heavy favorites to win the title. The 22-year-old model finished in the Top 15 during the Binibining Pilipinas 2019 pageant.
The remaining candidates have started to prepare for the remaining activities of the pageant before the grand finals on October 25 in Baguio City.