LEGAZPI CITY — Ms. Philippines Catriona Gray’s victory in the Ms. Universe beauty and brains pageant sent city and townsfolk of Albay especially in Oas into a frenzy, with loud squeals of joy reverberating in households all throughout the province.
Before Gray was proclaimed a winner and crowned after the pageant’s final round held in Bangkok, Thailand, traffic was noticeably smooth here on an otherwise usually busy Monday morning as Albayanos from all walks of life were glued to their television sets.
Nearly everyone closely watched as their provincemate trotted on stage, displaying her unique “lava walk” at the Miss Universe competition. The “lava walk” is a reference to the famous and majestic Mayon Volcano in Albay, where Gray traces her roots. Normita Ragas Magnayon, her mother, is from the province’s Oas town.
As the competition was being held, “there was no traffic problem and only a few people were on the streets,” said Rolly Esguerra, Legazpi City Public Safety Office chief.
At around 11 a.m. when Miss Universe pageant host Steve Harvey announced Miss Philippines as this year’s winner, euphoric shouts filled every home, restaurant, school, and public place.
In preparation for the competition, local government units in Albay set up viewing centers with big screens in their respective multi-purpose halls and basketball covered courts to allow hundreds of residents to watch the international beauty tilt.
Albay Representative Joey Salceda, who hails from the town of Polangui, in a statement said, “Truly an Albayana, she (Gray) was the most prepared candidate ever – if you prepare to fight calamities, the more you are prepared for victory.”
Salceda said this year’s Ms. Universe crown holder is regal as Mayon is majestic. “She is beautiful, truly Daragang Magayon,” he said.
Salceda said the entire Albay is happy and proud of Gray’s achievement. “I worked with Catriona in her previous quests and she was excited about her role as tourism champion for Albay,” the congressman added.