Firefighter aims to set Mrs. Universe stage ablaze


Mrs. Universe Philippines Veronica Yu. Image: Philippine Daily Inquirer/ARMIN P. ADINA

MANILA, Philippines—Veronica Yu, a former fire chief from Quezon City, aims to turn the heat up on the Mrs. Universe stage with her fiery performance as the representative from the Philippines.

The 41-year-old mother of two has been putting out fire since becoming a volunteer firefighter at the age of 19. “There were only a few of us women back then,” she shared at a press conference held at Okada Manila in Parañaque City before flying to Sofia, Bulgaria, where the international competition is taking place.

On the job, she would then meet her would-be husband, Johnnie Yu, who was also a volunteer firefighter like she was. He now plays the part of a very supportive spouse to his wife’s every chosen endeavor.

Mrs. Universe

Mrs. Universe Philippines Veronica Yu (left) and husband Johnnie. Image: Philippine Daily Inquirer/ARMIN P. ADINA

Mrs. Universe Philippines National Director Charo Laude said she has already been aware of Yu’s socio-civic background even before she joined the local search in October.

“There is a big difference between having an advocacy only now, and engaging in activities long before. That is one of the reasons why she won the national title,” shared Laude, the singer-actress who finished in the semifinals of the international competition in 2019.

Mrs. Universe Philippines Veronica Yu (right) and national director Charo Laude. Image: Philippine Daily Inquirer/ARMIN P. ADINA

As a Rotarian, Yu has served in India. She joined a polio vaccination campaign and donated toilets to citizens of the South Asian country. And with her husband being a former disaster officer in the City of Manila, she also took part in disaster operations. The couple also conducted relief missions to calamity survivors in Luzon provinces.

The beauty queen said setting foot on an international stage would be tough, with all the contenders having prepared for the global tilt. But she is confident that she can handle the pressure, having developed courage from the stressful situations she got into as a volunteer firefighter.

The competition in Sofia, Bulgaria, is considered the pageant’s 2022 edition. It was originally scheduled in December in Seoul, South Korea, but unforeseen circumstances compelled the international organization to postpone it and move it back to their home country.

More than 100 delegates from all over the world are competing, including five other candidates from the Mrs. Universe Philippines Foundation—Gines Angeles, Lady Chatterly Alvaro-Sumbeling, Jeanie Jarina, Virginia Evangelista and Michelle Solinap.

Five Filipino women already received awards during the preliminary show held on Feb. 3 (Feb. 4 in Manila). Yu was proclaimed Mrs. Elegance, while Angeles was Mrs. Glamorous. Sumbeling was hailed as Mrs. Fabulous, while the Mrs. Aesthetic title went to Jarina. Evangelista was Mrs. Silver Heart.

The 2022 Mrs. Universe pageant will stage its coronation program at the National Palace of Culture (NDK) in Sofia on Feb. 4 (Feb. 5 in Manila).  /ra


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