Consul General Mario de Leon, Jr. chats with Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach at the Philippine Consulate in New York on Jan. 13.  (Photo by YetBo LoveRita)

Exclusive to the Filipino Reporter

The Filipino-American community was abuzz with Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach in New York City.

The Filipino-German beauty dropped by the Philippine Consulate and spent time with members of the Fil-Am community on Jan 13.

It was indeed a thrilling treat for a select cross section of community leaders and organizations to meet and greet the reigning queen of the universe.

According to Consul General Mario L. de Leon, Jr. as he welcomed her to the Consulate and New York City, Pia’s unprecedented visit was a unique opportunity for the Fil-Am community to see and congratulate her.

“This is the first time to talk to Filipinos face-to-face,” she said.

“It is a proud moment to bring happiness, hope and joy.”

It appeared to be a bigger treat for her to talk about her advocacy of HIV/AIDS awareness, combating cyberbullying and disaster relief.

While she expressed great honor and pride to have garnered the Miss Universe crown, she pointed that her title helps promote these causes.

At an earlier press Q&A session that day, she said that her advocacy is to generate awareness.

She was already working on HIV/AIDS issue while with Binibining Pilipinas citing that it’s a growing epidemic in the Philippines.  

Pia, 26, continues to learn more and champion this cause at the international level creating awareness for HIV/AIDS prevention, HIV testing, and access to medical care.

The Philippine Consulate has connected Pia with APICHA and other major organization, said de Leon.

(APICHA is a community health center dedicated to providing affordable healthcare for Asians and Pacific Islanders, the LGBT community, and individuals living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.)

“She is not only beautiful outside but true to her word, she is confidently beautiful with a heart!” said Edwin Josue.

“Intelligent, witty and can express herself well expounding on her mission vision for HIV/AIDS and cyberbullying. She will definitely touch a lot of people’s hearts and be a Miss Universe for all! Proud of her and proud to be Filipino!”

She readily shares her first-hand experience with typhoons and bullying.

Committed to disaster relief, she talked about moving her family belongings to the 2nd floor of her house and bringing water to her school in Cagayan de Oro after a severe typhoon.


Miss Universe 2015 scanning the scene at the Fil-Am community meet-and-greet.  (Photo by Lambert Parong / Filipino Reporter)

She is committed to addressing disaster relief.

The Miss Universe Organization and Cordaid actually raised $250,000 to help the victims of Typhoon Yolanda a few years ago, Paula Shugart, MUO President, said at the Fil-Am community gathering.

“Bullying happened to me,” Pia confided.

“It’s hurtful. You are not alone.”

She pointed how devastating it can be affecting your self-image and behavior.

She looks forward to more discussion on combating cyberbullying and collaborating with community groups.

“It happens to everybody. I want to help.”

Laura Garcia, President of Silliman University Alumni Association (NY-NJ), said, “One thing that stuck in my mind is her thoughts about bullying. Pia said, ‘Each one of us is a victim of bullying at some point in our lives. You can rise above it and become Miss Universe or whoever you want to be.’”

When asked by the Filipino Reporter where she sees herself in five to 10 years, the actress and model said “in front of the camera, possibly hosting and acting or working behind the camera.”

She wants to work in the entertainment industry where she feels most comfortable.

She expects to still be active with organizations and will continue to partner with some advocacy groups.

Pia was born in Stuttgart, Germany and grew up in Cagayan de Oro, Mindanao, Philippines.

When her parents separated when she was 11 years old, she worked to support her family from age 11 until 18 in modeling and acting.

She joined the Binibining Pilipinas Pageant three times before she won the title Binibining Pilipinas-Universe to represent the Philippines at the Miss Universe Pageant.  

“I am very persistent,” she said, explaining how she is able to face adversity.

“When I have a goal, it’s fixed. I don’t negotiate. But the methods to get the goal are flexible. This wasn’t given to me. I worked hard for more than three years. So be patient. Work hard. Don’t give up.”

“You get a lot of confidence through self-awareness,” talking about being a ‘confidently beautiful woman with a heart,’” she said.

“Know what are you good at: your strengths and weaknesses. Then know how to strategize.”

Explaining the heart, she said, “Not thinking about yourself but thinking about other people.”

Being herself and continuing to work to generate awareness of her advocacy she believes makes a difference in modern day society.

She would like people to identify with her and her causes.

Through her example, she hopes “others will follow.”

In keeping herself grounded, she confides that “For a change, I would switch roles and ask: how are you? How was your day? I am interested in others. Not everything is about me.”

Jokingly she quips, “I don’t wear the crown when I ask people how are they.”

Staying grounded and relishing her time, she said, “I savor the moment like chocolate after a good workout. Seriously I do an end-of-day review. Recap things. What I did for the day. I keep a diary.”

On a personal level, she said, “I am not thinking about guys. I am not thinking about marriage and children. There are big things in store for me. And I have no complaints. When I fall in love, I give 100%. But not right now. Everything will have to wait. Sorry guys — the crown is my boyfriend.”

She spoke in Tagalog about how she would advise people to vote in the Philippine presidential election.

Translating she said that people should ask who are the candidates.

Get to know their background.

Observe their sincerity and get to know the candidate.

Take time to study them.

For me, I would check their qualifications, compassion and sincerity, as well as if they are firm and approachable.

Speaking of politicians, Philippine Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago has requested to meet with Pia to discuss her response at the Miss Universe Pageant question about the possible return of U.S. military bases in the Philippines.

In 2014, President Barack Obama and President Benigno Aquino III signed an agreement that would allow the United States to rotate troops in and out of the country, as well as build infrastructure on the bases in the face of rising disputes in the South China Sea.

There has been some resistance and implementation is pending Philippine Supreme Court review.


Members of the Filipino-American community gather at the Philippine Center’s Kalayaan Hall in New York on Jan. 13, awaiting the arrival of Miss Universe 2015 Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach (pictured above, right).  (Photo by Lambert Parong / Filipino Reporter)

Pia said that she had “no problem” given the Philippine and American good relations.

Defensor-Santiago and a few other groups expressed hope to meet and discuss the issue with Pia.

“We’ll see at the homecoming,” Pia said, planning a courtesy call in Congress.

“I am open to learning from them about the issues. I am open to having them educate me.”

Closing she explained why she wore the color blue at the Miss Universe Pageant.

“We have the only flag that can change colors. The red was on top when there was war. And the blue was on top — for peace.”

“I hope to meet many communities. I am very comfortable here,” Pia said, thanking the consul general for the welcome.

“I hope to come back soon to talk about our collaboration!”

The evening concluded with Pia posing for photos with the Fil-Am community at Kalayaan Hall.


From left, Paula Shugart (President of the Miss Universe Organization), Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach and Consul General Mario L. de Leon, Jr.  (Photo by Lambert Parong / Filipino Reporter)


Miss Universe at Kalayaan Hall.  (Photo by Lambert Parong / Filipino Reporter)

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