Known for her superb swag during her college volleyball career, Michele Gumabao continues to bring that swag not just on the hardcourt but to real- life. After her Miss Globe run last 2018, Michele is now up for the new challenge which is the Miss Universe Philippines crown.
And now that events have been cancelled and on hold, Gumabao made a way to continue spreading her shine by starting the “Your 200 pesos” campaign with her partner Aldo Panlilio.
Get to know what’s keeping her busy during this pandemic, and how she continues to prepare for her Miss Universe campaign.
Here’s our chat with Michele.
Daily Tribune (DT): What has kept you busy during this quarantine? Did you do anything unusual, discover anything new?
Michele Gumabao (MG): What’s keeping me busy during this quarantine are the things that I wasn’t able to do back then when everything was so hectic, everything was so busy with work. I get to work out a lot more at home now, get to use all the equipment at home, get to cook and enjoy all my kitchen, my favorite kitchen appliances. I get to play with my puppies more and just get to watch more movies. But all that changed when Aldo and I started “Your 200 Pesos” because things just got busier and we kept driving, kept distributing.
And it’s just back to regular programming for us now and nothing unusual. But we discovered our passion for helping our community. And that’s one of the best things that we’ve done that I can say during this quarantine is make a lot more people smile in the midst of this pandemic.
DT: What was your initial reaction to the news of this coronavirus and ensuing government restrictions?
MG: And my initial reaction to the news of this coronavirus was just like everybody else. I didn’t take it seriously. I didn’t think it was going to be this long, this hard, this complicated to deal with.
We can follow the precautionary measures and we can influence people to follow. We do want to give back to the community. We do want to do our share and give back the blessings that we have.
It’s hard for me to tell people to stay at home, because Aldo and I go out every single day to distribute relief goods, to meet with mayors and talk to them about what we can do to help the and to just promote what we’re doing and trying to trying to just influence people to help out the community, because there are just so much people in need right now.
DT: What plans of yours were affected?
MG: We were supposed to have a season in May. Training got canceled. Our season got canceled. ABC-CBN is in a shut down. So there are a lot of things going on in the world of sports. And on the flip side. Joining Miss Universe Philippines this year has also been an exciting journey while it lasted. And as of now, they just announced that it’s still ongoing, that the coronation night will be sometime in October. And looking forward to all the activities that we’ll be doing online.
DT: How are you preparing for the Miss Universe Philippines so far, or how do you keep yourself ready for it during these hard times?
MG: I’m back to working with people who were helping me before COVID-19 struck us. It’s quite a challenge right now to work with these mentors because of social distancing and the quarantine.
And so now, I’m doing a lot of self-training, too. But our focus now is just to help our community because that’s the number one priority right now. I know that the pageant will resume, but it’s tough to just think about myself while there’s just so much happening around.
DT: How and when did you and Aldo meet? What attracted you to each other?
MG: He’s a big fan. Just kidding. Aldo and I met through a friend in 2016. It was during Season One and I just finished a volleyball game that we won. My friends and I went out and my friend invited him and that’s how we met. I do love a man who is very secure about himself and even if I just met him, I already saw that. What attracted him to me? That’s the question.
DT: What are you missing most now during the quarantine? Where will you go first when this partial lockdown is over?
MG: I love being with people. I love talking to people. I think relationships is very important for me, not only with me and my loved ones, but just being with people in general. But they miss the most is the normalcy of things, even just going to the grocery without the hassle, going to our restaurant and just eat the things that I’m craving for. And just the ease of everything that used to be before COVID-19.
I miss the ease of life before the quarantine. I used to complain about a lot of things, but now it makes me realize how we really had it easy and. I’ll probably go to my mom’s house. I haven’t seen her except when we have our face time.
DT: What were some of your realizations during this pandemic?
MG: What I realized with this pandemic is that there are so many people out there who are willing to help, willing to share and that it’s not the end yet for all of us because there’s just so many people who are willing to help each other. And there’s just the nationalism of Filipinos coming out during this time. And they realize that the things that we once took for granted are what we miss the most now.
I’m just happy that a lot of people right now are also appreciating their relationship with God. And that’s what I realized also — that at a time like this, our faith is the most important thing. And it’s really what’s going to keep us together, keep us sane, keep a strong, keep us hopeful for the future.
DT: What’s your message to our beloved kababayans during this crisis.
MG: Hold on to their faith. There’s so much uncertainty now. There’s so much doubt now and there’s so much unrest. And I just really encourage everybody to have faith. Have faith in the community and know that we can rise above this.