Manila, Philippines – Miss International 2013 Bea Rose Santiago offered her victory to her countrymen affected by calamities as she is expected to arrive home to a rousing welcome on Christmas Eve.
“As I said even before the pageant, I’m dedicating my victory to all the Filipinos, especially those whose lives were deeply affected by Yolanda and other calamities. With this victory, comes the hope that we will all rise again,’’ Santiago, 23, said in a text message sent to Tessa Mangahas, Public Relations and Corporate Communications Manager, Araneta Center Inc.
Mangahas said that the Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. (BPCI) that sends delegates to the Miss Universe, Miss Supranational, and Miss International beauty pageants annually is preparing a grand welcome for the country’s fifth Miss International. Details will be announced soon.
Born on February 17, 1990 in Alabang, Muntinlupa City, Santiago grew up in Cataingan, Masbate where she attended elementary at the Cataingan Elementary School.
“My lola is a teacher. Since elementary, I lived with my grandparents while my mom works, until we left the country in 2006 because my grandmother died four months before my departure,’’ Santiago said.
At age 16, Santiago and her family moved to Toronto, Canada where she continued high school in an exclusive school for girls at the Saint Joseph Catholic School. She finished communications major in public relations at the York University. Her mom, Ophelia Monterde Santiago, is a pharmacist who lives in Canada with her 21-year old sister and 16-year-old brother.
Last Tuesday’s beauty pageant was rocked by a controversy when 2012 Miss International Ikumi Yoshimatsu of Japan was banned from staging her farewell walk during the grand coronation night following alleged harassment and threats involving a media executive.
Instead of Ikumi, 2008 Miss International Alejandra Andreu of Spain crowned Santiago at the Shinagawa Prince Hotel Hall in Tokyo, Japan. Santiago bested 66 other candidates in the beauty contest that started in 1960. (Robert R. Requintina)