By ROBERT R. REQUINTINA
NEWLY crowned Miss Supranational Mutya Johanna Datul arrived home last Monday night to a rousing welcome as she owed her success in the international beauty contest to the Holy Rosary, which she said, was her lucky charm throughout her stay in Minsk, Belarus.
This as church leaders also congratulated Datul for winning the first Asian in one of Europe’s most popular beauty pageants last September 7.
“Eto ang lucky charm ko, Holy Rosary. Dasal lang ako ng dasal ng Rosaryo kapag wala kaming activities,” the 21-year-old beauty queen from Isabela said. She added that many of her friends and supporters gave her the Holy Rosary as “pabaon“ on her trip to Eastern Europe.
And Datul’s prayers were heard. She bested 82 contestants in the four-year-old beauty pageant.
Luis Cardinal Antonio Tagle and Bishop Honesto Ongtioco of Cubao have congratulated Datul, who is a parishioner of Cubao, Quezon City. “She is very spiritual,” Datul’s friends say.
Tagle cited the achievement of Datul in a text message during the birth anniversary of Mama Mary last Sunday. “Congratulations on your achievement for yourself and our country. Keep close to the Blessed Mother so that you may be protected from harm and be steadfast in faith and love.”
Yesterday afternoon, Datul also paid a courtesy call and thanksgiving audience to Ongtioco at the Obispado of Cubao on Lantana Street. After the courtesy call, Datul headed for the victory parade at the Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City.
Last Monday night, the day Datul arrived, she apologized to the media for the late press conference because she missed her flight home.
“Thank you for waiting. I am sorry that I arrived late because I missed my flight,” says Datul, during a victory press conference held at the Gloria Maris Banquet Hall, at the Gateway Mall in Araneta Center.
Datul was initially expected to arrive in Manila at about 5:30 p.m. Monday. But her flight was delayed for three hours.
“It was my first time to go abroad and mag-isa lang po ako doon. I want to be honest. Hindi n’yo lang po alam kung ano ang nangyari, hang gang sa naiwan na ako ng flight ko. Sorry po talaga,” says Datul, who was later cheered by the waiting crowd.
Datul, who describes herself as probinsyana at heart, says that she is looking forward to a busy year with trips around the world as part of her commitment as Miss Supranational. “Sabi nila mag-ready na raw ako ng mga makakapal na damit because I will experience winter daw. I told them first time ko pa lang makakaki ta ng snow this year,” she said.
But the mood turned emotional when Datul was joined on stage by her parents and brothers who she has not see for many months now because of pageant activities. She said that her family came all the way to Isabela just to congratulate her.
Datul said that part of her US$25,000 (roughly R1 million) cash prize will go to the medical expenses of her ailing mother and education of her brothers. She also said that she also wants to finish her studies at the Isabela State University where is tak ing up computer programming.
Asked if she expected to win in the contest, she said: “Positive thinking lang ako palagi. At mula pagdating ko Belarus, iniisip ko na lagi suot ko na ang korona ng Miss Suprana tional.”
She also believes that she has the best answer among all the contes tants when asked why they want to be Miss Supranational.