MANILA – Volleyball star and former “Pinoy Big Brother” housemate Michele Gumabao is opening “not only a new chapter, but a new book” in her life, as she vies for a crown in this year’s Binibining Pilipinas, her first pageant ever.
After eight hours of a grueling selection process Monday through early Tuesday, Gumabao made it to the list of the 40 official candidates of the national pageant, which awards crowns to would-be representatives of the Philippines to international competitions like Miss Universe and Miss International.
Gumabao, 25, was only one of over 100 applicants who were hoping to follow in the footsteps of Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach and Miss International 2016 Kylie Verzosa. Both are graduates of talent camp Aces and Queens, which is also training Gumabao for Binibining Pilipinas.
“I feel so blessed tonight,” Gumabao told ABS-CBN News’ Mario Dumaual shortly after the final candidates were announced at Kia Theater in Quezon City. “It’s a whole new book, actually; it’s not only a chapter. It’s a whole new book in my life, and it’s one thing that I really want to take part in. This is a new journey for me.”
She added: “This is my first pageant! I’ve never joined anything, big or small, or something as grand as Binibining Pilipinas, not even school pageants. I’ve always been sports. Sports has been my life.”
Despite being a pageant neophyte, Gumabao is no stranger to the limelight. Her volleyball career in the UAAP catapulted her as a model, endorser, and host. She is the daughter of former actor Dennis Roldan, and a sister to Kapamilya heartthrob Marco Gumabao. Her cousin, Kristine Florendo, was crowned Miss World-Philippines in 1997.
Asked what her goal is in joining Binibining Pilipinas, Gumabao said: “My ultimate dream is to be an inspiration to everyone. If I can do that as Miss Universe, International, Supranational, Intercontinental, that’s good for me. As long as I can be someone people can look up to – I’ve done that in volleyball – I want to do it here.”
Watch the uncut interview with Gumabao below: