Miss Universe Philippines 2nd runner up Michelle Gumabao finally spoke up about the pageant’s controversies involving her.
After the pageant, Michele was accused of not being a good sport after her non-appearance during the press presentation of the Top 5 winners.
In a YouTube vlog released on Monday, Michele had a tell-all regarding what truly happened to her at the pageant.
She described the content of the vlog as her statement, story, and message to everyone.
In the caption, she said, “I’ve been so used to empowering others and speaking up for others but at a time when I want to fight and speak up for myself I am not allowed. This is the first time in my life I feel so powerless.”
The professional volleyball player defended herself from accusations and disproved allegations that are thrown at her after the pageant.
“Because people have been trying to taint my name, and drag me down [with] so many issues that are not real and didn’t happen. I’m not sharing all this to attack anyone or to hurt anyone,” Gumabao explained.
“I just want to share the truth. I want to share my story. I want to be true to myself because I know that this will be the only way to look back at all this and happily move on.”
Michelle first went on talking about her experience before the competition. She narrated that three days before leaving for Baguio, she collapsed.
“That day, I woke up, and as I took my first steps, I passed out. I collapsed.”
“It was depressing for me, it was devastating for me. I spent the whole day in bed. I didn’t know what to do. I decided to do my rehab at home, and do whatever I could at home.”
Though she was able to handle this as she reached Baguio however, their hectic schedules contributed to her pressure and anxiety.
Despite being prepared, she struggled to manage things as she reached Baguio and as their pageant activities began.
“I was prepared to do things on my own, but I wasn’t prepared for schedules being so delayed, days wherein we weren’t able to eat because of the hectic schedules that we had to really keep up with. There were days when we were kept in our rooms not knowing why, and we were just there in our rooms.
“Those little things all built up at the end. The anxiety, all the pressure, the exhaustion… It was a lot to handle.”
Amidst all the pressure and exhaustion, they were still able to make it to the finals night.
An after-party was held at the end of that day which she described as a “night of fun”. It was the only time when she was able to bond with the girls and make memories together since they were not able to do it before due to the pandemic.
However, on the same night, she started to receive speculations about the results of the competition.
“I didn’t mind them. I chose to have fun. I chose to spend time with the girls. I chose to spend time with my sisters,” she said.
And on Sunday night she accordingly heard things she wasn’t supposed to hear. Though she didn’t reveal what it was all about, this hurt her and led to her breakdown.
“I must admit, I went back to my room, and I cried so hard. All these questions just came back to my head – everything that I’ve been hearing for the past two days just came rushing in my head,” she said.
The morning of the same day, she went out to face the cameras despite what she was feeling.
“I put on my makeup, I got dressed, I smiled, I looked pretty and went down, deliberately when it was already long gown. The top 16 was already walking for their long gown,
“I knew that not so long, we would crown the winner and everything will be over, and I would be able to go home. I went down, and for one last time, I told myself to smile for the show, for the cameras.”
Even though the result did not yet air on their feed in Baguio, but results already circulated online. That’s the time when people came to her and comforting her. She was also overwhelmed by the questions other people were asking her.
“After knowing what I knew the past two days, everything just came crashing down on me, I couldn’t handle it. I admit, I wasn’t strong enough to handle that at that moment.
“I knew was going to break down, and I didn’t want to do that in front of the cameras.”
Moreover, she also addressed the speculations on why she was missing during the pictorials of the Top 5 winners.
Accordingly, she requested to fast-forward the feed since the result was already known to many. Michelle also requested to conduct the pictorials earlier so she can already leave but the management did not agree either.
“At that moment, I just realized that for nine months, I kept putting this journey first, I kept putting this organization first.
“It was my time to put myself first. And I did.”
She decided to leave early and congratulated Rabiya through a text message.
Michele just knew about the issues when she reached Manila, as she was resting throughout her way home from Baguio.
The beauty queen also expressed disappointment with the MUPH organization who remained silent despite knowing the reasons for her leaving early.
Michele then affirmed that she is with other girls who feel discontented on how the show was handled amidst a pandemic.
She then pleaded for people to stop bashing and peddling fake news. She believes that this is truly against the goal of pageants which is to empower people.
Michele then ended by saying that she is doing this for the future girls who will join pageants, so they can experience better than what she did.
Meanwhile, this statement from Michele was seconded by Sandra Lemonon, the Miss Universe PH finalist who initiated the cryptic posts about the pageant.
Lemonon seconded Michelle and said that she heard and understood the latter.
“No one will know what it feels like until you are in our shoes & had our experience. People always think they know and think it’s easy to speak the truth but it’s not.
“A lot will stay silent and live in fear and abuse the system because it’s working on their behalf, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay. Speak your truth, love,” Lemonon said through an IG story.
After the announcement of results, instead of celebrating the victory of Rabiya Mateo, Miss Universe PH 2020, the pageant fans’ attention was directed to Lemonon’s ‘tea’ that she promised to spill a day after.
The beauty from Taguig insinuated about the ‘cheating’ and unfair circumstances that happened during the pageant. This was eventually addressed by the National Director Shamcey Supsup.
Rabiya was robbed of her moment as many speculations arose saying that the pageant was ‘scripted’ for Miss Iloilo City as she cheated her way to the crown.
Until now, ‘cheating’ allegations were not cleared out by Lemonon and her ‘tea’ has yet to be spilled.