All photos by Bruce Casanova/OPMB
MANILA, Philippines - The Friday payday traffic did not stop media and supporters of Miss World Philippines 2013 Megan Young from flocking to C3 Events Place in Greenhills for Megan's official sendoff party. She leaves for the Miss World 2013 pageant on September 3. Megan's first destination is Bali, followed by Jakarta for the coronation night on September 28.
The event started promptly at 7:30pm. Although intimate, mainstream and pageant media — OPMB, Sash Factor, Missosology and beauty-queen-turned-pageant-expert Joyce Burton-Titular — were in attendance. Members of Aces and Queens, the team who trained Megan for Miss World Philippines 2013 [and also Ariella Arida for Bb Pilipinas 2013] were also there.
Megan, clad in a green Francis Libiran number and wearing her crown and sash, made her way simply down the staircase from the second floor, pausing briefly at the bottom to let photographers take a few shots. She then headed to the platform at the front of the function room where she was joined by Cory Quirino, Miss World Philippines pageant director.
Megan calls Miss World Philippines pageant director Cory Quirino [left] her 'second mom'
"We are very encouraged by the very warm support we received from the Miss World Organization," began Cory. "We received an email from Julia Morley, chairperson of the Miss World Organization, two days after the Miss World Philippines pageant and she said, 'Congratulations, Cory, for a very lovely Miss World Philippines. I look forward to welcoming her to Jakarta, Indonesia. See you at the Miss World pageant'."
At that point, Megan began to tear up.
Megan did not expect that Cory would share the news about Julia Morley's encouraging email with the media
Cory continued, "I've also received calls from different licensees all over the world. For the very first time, I received encouraging words from the licensees and we hope that this is the silver lining we've been waiting for.
"Licensees who own their own license of Miss World in their own, respective countries have actually told me, 'We believe this time the crown will go to the Philippines.' I have a very strong feeling about Megan in the same way I had a very strong feeling about Gwendolyn Ruais. [To Megan] You have the same magic, the same aura, but your timing is right. It's the time for the Philippines!"
Like a dam that broke, Megan was no longer able to stop her tears. Her handler, Mark Besana, had to hand her a table napkin to wipe her tears with.
"Crying was not part of my training. I'm really emo," Megan said to the press, who waited patiently and understandingly for her to regain composure. "I really cry a lot, whether I'm angry or sad or happy. I'm super thankful because this is it, this is my dream."
As she struggled to control her emotions, Megan proceeded to talk:
"I'm so overwhelmed by all the support I am receiving for this pageant. It really means a lot to me. It's really close to my heart.
"All my friends, all my relatives, all my kababayans, even those who are not really into pageants are rooting for me. They come up to me and congratulate me and tell me, 'Megan, this is it.'
"There's so much expectation from me, but I'm gonna work it, I'm gonna wing it, I'm gonna represent the country like anything. I'm gonna prove to them that the Philippines is strong this year. May laban tayo. We're gonna show them that we're worth the blue crown.
"It feels so different when you're representing the country. It's pressure, happiness and excitement at the same time. It's such [a] heavy weight on my shoulders because not only is the Philippines watching; the whole world is watching."
Megan knows what is expected of her and promises to deliver
At that point, Cory rejoined Megan on stage and opened the floor to questions from the press.
Here is the Q and A:
The theme of Miss World is always "beauty with a purpose." When you get to Indonesia, how are you going to show the judges and Miss Morley that you are, indeed, a beauty with a purpose?
Megan: I think it's not only with what you do. It's how you are as a person. It's about being genuine, being honest to the people around you. Anybody can help out, but if you're not genuine, you're not honest in what you do, I think that'll show.
What are the plans for your official Miss World Philippines Facebook [page]. Is there gonna be voting? How can we help you?
Megan: This Miss World Philippines Facebook, there's a Multimedia Award for that. I will be the admin [of the page]. I will be updating everyone about the competition, anything and everything, from what we eat to how I feel. People can help out by being active on the page.
To help out with voting, there is an application, the Miss World app. For those who have iPhones, they can download it from the Apple Store. For Android users, you can download it from the Play Store. It's 99 cents. There's a fee because all the funds go to the Miss World Organization, to the charities they help out.
If you download it, there will be two free votes and I hope you vote for the Philippines. You can also opt to buy more votes. Rest assured the money that you pay will go to the Miss World charities. It's for a good cause.
What is your reaction to the fact that there is a sector in Indonesia that does not seem to be welcoming the pageant? What is the stand of Miss World? Is there already an option two in case it does not push through in Indonesia this year?
Cory: The Miss World pageant will push through in Jakarta, Indonesia come what may. That is the advisory received from the Miss World Organization. Megan is flying to Indonesia on Tuesday, bringing our hearts and hopes with her.
Megan: For Dances of the World, I will be performing the Muslim dance Singkil — a very intricate, classy and traditional dance.
How have you prepared for the Sports Challenge?
Megan: I'm ready to do push-ups and sit-ups non-stop. I'm pretty psyched for that. I have been training for that for a while, so I'm pretty excited to see my competition. That's where my competitiveness kicks in. I'm pretty excited with the Sports Challenge. It's really different; Miss World is not only about what you see in the finals night, not just about the stage, not just about the Q and A. It's about wellness, your beauty with a purpose, what you have in life you can offer aside from just being pretty on stage. There's so, so much more to that.
Cory: As you can see, Megan is prepared for her Q and A with Miss World. The minute she lands in Jakarta, she will be spirited off into a private room where she will be facing a panel of internal judges for the Q and A. If you noticed in 2011, Philippines was already in the Top 15 in the ranking, because the Q and A is a very heavily-graded portion of the pre-pageant event.
Once the Q and A with the press was in full swing, Megan's tears disappeared
There will be no Swimwear Competition but there will be a Beachwear Competition. Would that be a disadvantage for you?
Megan: I'm excited for that because it's the first time in Miss World history that that has ever happened, and it's exciting to be a part of that mark in Miss World history, to see how these ladies can work the beach without showcasing their figure. How can you be sexy without flaunting those abs? I think it all boils down to confidence, how you work the stage.
What lucky charm are you going to bring?
Megan: The prayers and the good vibes. Good vibes are very important to me.
You have followers who follow your tweets and not just your Facebook posts. With the official Facebook page for the Multimedia Award, does that mean there will be no tweets from Megan while in Indonesia?
Megan: They will be getting updates from the official Facebook page. I will ask when I get there if [my] Facebook can be connected to [my] Twitter, if that is possible. If not, it's really just Facebook. I'm sad I won't have Instagram. They can always like the [Facebook] page, the one Queenie [Rehman] used last year.
If they have already liked the page, perfect. If not, they can just look for Miss World — Philippines. I will be the admin very soon, and I'm going to update that before I leave for Bali.
Will we be able to watch the pageant live on September 28?
Arnold Vegafria: Sept 28, GMA7, delayed for one hour. 10pm Philippine time.
Megan recalls what her first weeks of being Miss World Philippines 2013 have been like
You were emotional earlier tonight. How will that affect your performance and how will you take advantage of that in pursing the blue crown?
Megan: I wouldn't call that being emotional. I think I'll put it as being sensitive not only to my feelings but to other people's feelings. Like I said earlier, no matter what you do in life, it's about being sensitive to the people around you, with your actions, what you say, what you do everyday.
I think that's an advantage because I am able to tell if somebody likes me, if they do not like me, if they like what I do or not — to connect with people.
You've only had the crown for a couple of weeks. How has it been? What has surprised you the most about having that crown?
Megan: Since I won the title, it hasn't really sunk in. I don't really see the crown when I'm wearing it. Im just enjoying the roller coaster ride. It's been a lovely experience for me. I got to meet so many people.
I got to talk to my idol over the phone, Maria Ressa. 'Cause I had an interview with Rappler and she called up and talked to me on the phone. I was so happy, I was jumping like a kid.
We also had our visits in the PGH [Philippine General Hospital] charity ward. It really gets you. Once you're there, you realize what you can do, who you're helping out. It's very heartwarming to see that.
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