Days after Miss Universe Philippines 2021 announced its Top 50 candidates, candidate Gianne Asuncion has quit the pageant after testing positive for COVID-19.
In an Instagram post, the Cagayan Province representative shared that she contracted the virus, adding that initially, it gave her the "motivation to push through" with her MUPh journey.
"We were halfway there," she captioned her video which showed her in the hospital. "Funny as it sounds, discovering that I have COVID and pneumonia gave me more motivation to push through with my supposed MUPh journey. An idea hit me about being an instrument of hope and courage for all patients like me who are battling for their lives. I wanted to keep on fighting while I still can. I wanted to show the universe that I can get up and continue on this journey. That’s also how I want everyone else to handle life right now," Asuncion said.
But the aspiring Miss Universe realized that in order for her to fully recover, she needs to rest.
"I am only human. My body has its limits. I should be first to respect it if it needs to rest and recover. As much as my heart wants to continue on the journey and enjoy the rest of it, my body also needs to function well," she explained.
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Asuncion added: "I wanted to showcase more of my Cagayana side. I wanted to make my Province proud and be the best representative that they deserve. I saw how the people in my province united to produce a strong Cagayana contender for MUPh. With the efforts they’ve done, collectively, we were able to consecutively land on the top 15 on all the challenges."
Despite this, she still feels grateful for the "constant guidance and support" from her family, friends, and supporters.
"It pains me to see that this broke so many’s hearts. I saw how loving and supportive everyone was and still is! Thank you for constantly checking up on me. I will forever cherish the love and support that you’ve shared. Don’t worry about me. I am a phenomenal woman and I will rise up. I need you to do the same. You have your own battles to face. I wish I was there for you. Stay strong and keep on fighting," she ended.
Asuncion is the second candidate to back out from this year's competition.
The Top 30 candidates will be competing at the Miss Universe Philippines 2021 coronation night on Sept. 25.
The winner will represent the Philippines in the Miss Universe pageant in Israel this December.
Photo courtesy of Miss Universe Philippines