A timely homecoming-A A +A
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
IN THE question and answer portion of the Miss Tourism International pageant held on New Year’s Eve in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the country’s representative, Rizzini Alexis Gomez, was asked: what is the most important festival in the Philippines and what makes it unique?
It was a question that hit close to home, and the young Cebuana beauty easily replied, “Sinulog.” She added: “It’s unique because of the undying devotion of the Filipinos to the Señor Santo Niño Child Jesus. It’s a symbol of our culture and heritage, our unity as one, and our diversity and bringing people together to promote our traditions for a brighter future.”
Rizzini believed it was her answer in the final Q&A that ultimately earned her the crown. Now with an international title under her belt, Rizzini brings pride to the entire country, as she joins the roster of Filipinos who have been part of the beauty pageant winning streak.
In a press conference held shortly after her arrival on Tuesday, Rizzini expressed her wish to visit the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño first, saying that all her accomplishments have made her feel “very blessed.”
She then disclosed that come Jan. 20, she will be joining the Sinulog festivities as part of the Mutya Ng Pilipinas float and she will also be dancing in the finale as her show of honor and gratitude to the Señor Santo Niño.
More than garnering the title, Rizzini shared that the entire pageant experience was a blessing itself, where she embarked on a month-long adventure with 55 other ladies, the opportunity to learn about their cultures and most of all, the chance to travel.
One of her favorite spots in Malaysia, she said, was George Town in the state of Penang. Considered to be a Unesco World Heritage Site, George Town is an old British settlement home to some of the country’s historic landmarks.
Next was Sunway Lagoon, an amusement park located in the Petaling Jaya district, where she said she spent the day after the pageant, unwinding with fellow candidates.
Trotting the globe since she was young, among the countries that the tourism ambassadress has been to are Singapore, Australia and Hawaii.
In recent years, Rizzini has preferred to visit towns and cities within the Philippines, as she aims to familiarize herself with the country’s diverse cultures, and push forward her advocacy, which is success through education.
“To learn from other countries and to reach out,” is Rizzini’s dream as she carries on her responsibilities as Miss Tourism International. She will be flying regularly to Malaysia as well as to other countries, promoting cultural exchange.
Rizzini, 22, graduated cum laude from the University of Cebu and is a registered nurse. She is the daughter of former PBA player and current UC Webmaster’s coach, Roel Gomez. She joined the world of pageants when she became the Webmasters’ muse in the Cesafi league.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 10, 2013.