Another Miss Universe PH 2021 candidate bows out due to COVID

Mario Dumaual, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 19 2021 06:30 PM | Updated as of Sep 20 2021 09:25 AM

MANILA - Another candidate in the Miss Universe Philippines 2021 pageant bid goodbye to the competition due to illness. 

Ybonne Ortega of Davao City said she was bowing out of the pageant after testing positive for COVID-19. 

In her sign off message on Instagram Saturday, Ortega stated, “Sometimes the stars don’t align even when you really want it to but eventually it will because God’s timing is always perfect. Have faith and trust His delays.” 

“It breaks my heart that I won’t be able to formally compete in the Miss Universe Philippines 2021. Even before meeting the MUPh team and co-candidates, I had tested positive for COVID-19,” she related. 

“I kept quiet hoping that my situation would change and retesting would result with negative results. Unfortunately, this is not yet my time to compete in the final stretch of the MUPh pageant.” 

A physical therapy graduate and multi-titled beauty queen in Davao, the 23-year-old Ortega successfully passed all the virtual pageant challenges before she was announced as one of the final 30 candidates from an original roster of 100 contenders. 

Joanna Marie Rabe of Zambales earlier dropped out of the competition after she caught dengue fever. In her post, Rabe said her doctors advised her that she would need more time to recover her strength.

The pageant entourage is currently in their bubble set-up at a hotel in Clark Pampanga. Organizers have yet to announce the venue of its coronation night set on September 25. 

Ortega is currently recovering in Manila, according to her family. 

In a recap to her post, Ortega rued about her situation which was aggravated by hurtful feedback. 

“The worst part about this experience is not about being positive. It was about those negative individuals who try to drag you down or spread false information while you’re trying to do your best. Despite this short but very exciting journey, I came across with so many amazing people in different industries. They had supported me in the most special ways from the beginning up until now. Your efforts are immensely treasured.”

Ortega also said she will come back better and stronger in her next pageant bid. 

In a statement released to ABS-CBN News, Voltaire Tayag, director of Communications of Miss Universe PH, stated that they are looking forward to Ortega’s full recovery. Their statement in full:

“The Miss Universe Philippines Organization prioritizes the health and safety of all delegates and anyone who would be part of the event bubble. All the official delegates underwent an RT-PCR test prior to the start of MUPh event bubble. Only those with a negative result were allowed. Unfortunately, Davao City’s Ybonne Ortega tested positive and was unable to join the Miss Universe Philippines event bubble. Despite her tremendous efforts in the virtual challenges and successfully making it into the finals, Ybonne never got to meet the rest of her MUPh family. We are praying for her full recovery. We wish her all the best in her future.”