MINDANAO NEWS – Thanks to Sir Mike of Kagay-an.com for this great piece of news! The Filipino-American daughter of a couple from Cagayan de Oro City and Balingasag, Misamis Oriental has been crowned the new Miss United States International 2009!
Aileen Jan “A.J.” Valdehueza Yap, 20, won the title of Miss US-International 2009 during the pageant held July 7-10, 2009 at the Stafford Conference Centre in Houston, Texas. Aileen Jan Yap will represent the US in the 49th Miss International pageant to be held at the Venetian Macao Resort in Macau, China on November 7, 2009.
A.J. is the daughter of Dr. Romeo “Boy” Sy Yap of Cagayan de Oro City and Virgincita “Geget” Bautista Valdehueza Yap of Balingasag, Misamis Oriental. She is the younger of two siblings and has an older brother, Nathan.
The newly crowned Miss United States International 2009 Aileen Jan Yap with her dad Dr. Romeo “Boy” Sy Yap of Cagayan de Oro City and Mom Virginia “Geget” Bautista Valdehueza-Yap of Balingasag, Misamis Oriental. (photo courtesy of Danny Pozon)
“We are just so fortunate that the Lord granted us this wonderful gift,” proud Dad Boy Yap said in an email interview from Texas.
“ Saba kaayo ang auditorium, kay daghan kaayo sa among barkada ang nitambong. I was one proud father to see our daughter being crowned. For the family it is a very “crowning moment”.
Misamis Oriental Gov. Oscar Moreno and Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Constantino Jaraula have extended their warm greetings and congratulations.
In the final tally, Ms. Wyoming Keri Shar was chosen fourth runner up; Ms. California Kristy Davis, third runner up; Ms. Michigan Shawna Vale, second runner up and Ms. Florida Lees Darayanne Garcia, first runner up.
“I thank God for what she is and what she has become,” Geget Yap said in an online interview from Texas. “It is truly a gift to have a beautiful daughter both in appearance and in character. I told her to wear the crown with dignity and pride yet with a humble heart.”
A.J. is a junior at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas majoring in biology. Her father Boy is a psychiatrist and Mom Geget is a nurse by profession and Director and Owner of Virginia’s Lakeview Personal Care Home in Texas, USA.
A.J. was selected by National Pageant Director Britt Harrison and other pageant directors from other states of MISS US INTERNATIONAL as Miss Texas US International 2009.
She graduated as the Most Outstanding Student at the Sacred Heart School in Conroe, Texas and went on to graduate Summa cum Laude at Willis High School.
Boy, Geget and A.J. recently took a month-long vacation in Cagayan de Oro and Region X (Northern Mindanao) and was presented to the employees of the City Hall during the traditional flag-raising ceremony held every Monday.
“I loved CDO, everything was very close and I enjoyed spending time with my family there,” A.J. said. “I loved the malls the most in CDO and the least, was the traffic and rain.”
During her stay she went river rafting in the Cagayan river, visited the Chocolate Hills and Hinagdanan Cave in Bohol, Camiguin, Duka Bay Resort in Medina, Misamis Oriental, and petted a tiger at the Mantianak Zoo and Nature Park in Sugbongcogon.
She also admits developing an addiction to halo-halo which she says she could eat every day, besides the traditional Pinoy breakfast foods like Tapsilog and garlic fried rice. However, she has her reservations about balut.
She admits her parents being both in the medical profession were influential in her decision to pursue a career in pediatrics.
“I’ve always wanted to be a doctor, seeing how my parents can help someone else’s life and also seeing how rewarding it is to be able to help someone in need,” she said. “I want to specialize in pediatrics because I love kids, being the second youngest cousin, I have a lot of nieces and nephews and being around them help me decide how much I really enjoy being around children.”
Miss International is the fourth largest beauty pageant in the world. Around 70 contestants from all over the globe are expected to join the 49th edition of the pageant at the Venetian Macau Resort on November 7, 2009. Alejandra Andreu of Spain will crown her successor at the end of the event
Also called a Festival of Beauty or the Olympics of Beauty, contestants are expected to serve as “Ambassadors of Peace and Beauty”, demonstrating tenderness, benevolence, friendship, beauty, intelligence, ability to take action, and, most importantly, a great international sensibility.
The ultimate goal of the Miss International beauty pageant is to promote world peace, goodwill, and understanding.
(with reports from Penny Geiszler, Turn for the Judges (TFTJ) Staff & Ingrid Chaves-Agudo)