President Aquino hails Shamcey Supsup’s ‘beauty and brains’
President Benigno Aquino III hailed her as the “beauty and brains” that embodied the spirit of the Filipino woman, the University of the Philippines proudly welcomed her plans to teach there, while her father savored the achievement of the little girl who used to ride with him on a carabao cart.
Shamcey Supsup got within arm’s length from the crown but still drew cheers befitting a queen, with the country’s bachelor President leading the applause for the homegrown charmer who finished third runner-up Tuesday in this year’s Miss Universe pageant.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said he was in a meeting with the President when the latter received a text message about Supsup’s feat.
The first thing the President remembered about the country’s 25-year-old candidate, Lacierda said, was her being a UP magna cum laude and topnotcher in the 2010 architecture board exams.
“He congratulates Ms Supsup for her accomplishment today and (says) she was indeed beauty and brains,” he added.
Her accomplishment “should serve as a way for other nations to come to appreciate not just the beauty of the people but that of our country,” Lacierda said.
“The humility, intellect and grace that you exhibited during the competition embodied the spirit of the true Filipina. In our eyes, that is the true victory today—that the world stood witness to and found an appreciation for the ideals, values and beauty that has long characterized our nation,” Lacierda said in a message to Supsup.
“On behalf of the Filipino people, we are proud of you; and we see even greater things ahead for you,” he added.
Also joining in the celebration was Supsup’s alma mater, UP Diliman, where the 5’7” stunner finished architecture in 2008 as an unassuming but diligent student who often went to class in a simple shirt, jeans and sneakers.
“We are very proud of her achievement. UP has produced another young leader and achiever who can serve as a model for other young people,” said Prospero de Vera, UP vice president for public affairs.
“Beauty, brains and public service can go together. She is definitely destined for greater things,” he added.
According to De Vera, Supsup “has indicated her interest to give back to UP by teaching in the university.”
This was also confirmed by one of Supsup’s former professors, Christopher Espina, who said an invitation had been extended to the alumna to take up further studies and later teach at the state university.
“She said that’s one of her plans,” said Espina, who remembered Shamcey as a “very ordinary” campus girl who was also “one of the boys.”
Supsup had no modeling experience before winning the 2011 Binibining Pilipinas pageant, the first beauty contest she ever joined.
Her third runner-up finish yesterday was a notch higher from the final ranking of last year’s Philippine contender in the Miss Universe tilt, Venus Raj. Two Filipino women have won the crown: Gloria Diaz in 1969 and Margarita Moran in 1973.
In the crucial question-and-answer portion for the Top 5 candidates, Supsup was the only finalist not assisted by an interpreter.
Asked by American pageant judge and actress Vivica A. Fox whether she would change her religious beliefs to be able to marry the man she loves and why, she replied:
“If I have to change my religious beliefs, I will not marry the person that I love. Because the first person that I love is God, who created me. And my principles make me who I am. And if that person loves me, he should love my God, too.”
Supsup received the second highest scores in the swimsuit and evening gown competitions, and also topped the interview round based on fan votes.
In General Santos City, Supsup’s father Timoteo, a land-owning farmer, watched the pageant live inside a jampacked gymnasium in Katangawan, a village in the outskirts of the city.
He said his unica hija (only daughter) was the type who would give so much focus on what she was doing, that during her preparations for the pageant she never made a call home.
The last time he spoke on the phone with Shamcey, he said, was when she left last month for São Paulo, Brazil, where the pageant was held.
Shamcey spent her childhood with her father, a pioneering resident of Katangawan, at the time when her mother, an engineer, was working abroad. Timoteo fondly recalled that Shamcey used to ride with him on a carabao cart going to the family farm.
She also spent her first year in high school in General Santos City, before moving to Manila to live with her mother.
General Santos City Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio, who watched the pageant together with Timoteo, said the city would be throwing a party for its world-famous native.
“We are so proud of Shamcey. She has brought honor to the city and as a tribute, we will be giving her a grand welcome when she returns home,” Custodio said. With reports from Aquiles Z. Zonio, Germelina Lacorte, Julie Alipala, Orlando Dinoy and Charlie Señase, Inquirer Mindanao
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