MANILA, Philippines - From the moment the plane she was in touched down at the Legazpi City Airport on Friday morning, Binibining Pilipinas-International Dianne Necio was met warmly by her family, friends and the people of Albay.
A marching band was at the airport to welcome her, and people jostled for the opportunity to have their pictures taken with the beauty queen. Everyone just wanted to see Necio in person.
After a brief rest at a hotel, Necio joined a motorcade which went around Legazpi and Daraga.
She also visited Polangui, the place where she grew up, and greeted the people who patiently waited by the roadside for her arrival.
"Malaking karangalan 'yun na makilala po ang bayan ng Polangui. Kasi po si Dianne lalaban na po sa international pageant. At least makikilala na po ang Albay at pati na po ang Polangui sa international community," said Polangui Mayor Cherry Sampal.
"Dito 'yan lumaki! Kababayan namin 'yan!" said Evelyn Ortiz, a resident.
|Dianne Necio, Binibining Pilipinas International 2011
Necio was very happy for the overwhelming support extended to her by the people.
"Actually hindi ko ine-expect na ganito. Kasi last year pag-uwi ko, halos ganito din pero mas emotional ngayon. Kasi parang mas ramdam na ramdam ko talaga na eto na ako, lalaban ulit," she said. Necio first joined the Binibining Pilipinas pageant last year, where she won first runner-up.
Father shed tears
Necio's father Edwin could not help shed tears over his daughter's victory. He was not able to go to the coronation night because of his heart condition.
"...Masayang masaya talaga ako. Nakuha niya 'yung pangarap niya. 'Yun ang pinapangarap niya mula ng bata pa siya," Edwin said.
Necio's brother Daniel is also very proud of his sister, who he said is not only beautiful but kind.
"...Kahit hindi kami masyadong close dahil sa age gap, kung may problema siya, sinasabi niya sa akin at 'pag ako rin, sinasabi ko rin sa kanya," said Daniel.
Necio also went to visit the graves of her mother and grandmother. The beauty titlist was only in Grade 2 when her mother died.
According to Necio, she will be busy in the coming days to prepare for the Miss International beauty pageant in Chengdu, Sichuan Province in China in November.
She asked for the continued support of Bicolanos and promised to do her best to win the Miss International crown. The last time a Filipina won the crown was in 2005, when Precious Lara Quigaman represented the country.
Albay Gov. Joey Salceda promised Necio of the provincial government's support for her bid in the international competition.
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Albay passed a resolution recognizing the honor Necio brought to the province for winning the Binibining Pilipinas-International title. -- Reports from Erick Baldo and Thea Omelan, ABS-CBN Bicol.