Miss Universe Philippines candidates, Vincy Vacalares of Cagayan de Oro and Maria Isabela Galeria of Sorsogon, have withdrawn from the 2020 edition of the pageant, which will be held on Oct 25 in Baguio City.

Maria, who represents the province of Sorsogon, first announced her withdrawal from the competition on her Facebook page on Thursday. Apparently, she developed symptoms on Sept 27 and was following the 14-day quarantine till Oct 8.

“With a heavy heart, I believe now is not the right time to join the pageant” Galeria said. “I still feel tired, and I don’t think my body will allow me to participate in the activities of Miss Universe Philippines. I hope you understand this is something beyond my control. I’ve thought hard and cried for so many nights about this. I have the willpower, but my body is not cooperating,” she added.

As per the health protocol, she needs to be asymptomatic for three days before her discharge. It was the first time that a candidate in a national pageant openly admitted that she was tested positive for the virus. Maria is a registered nurse and a healthcare advocate. In 2019, she competed in the Binibining Pilipinas Beauty Pageant where she finished as a semi-finalist.

Shortly afterward, Vincy of Cagayan de Oro withdrew from the pageant upon discovering that she had contracted virus.

“With a heavy heart, allow me to break the news to all of you that I tested positive for Covid-19 last Oct 14. This means that I will not be able to continue with my journey to the Miss Universe Philippines crown this year,” she said.“ My team and I did all our best to strictly follow all the health and safety protocols, but still the virus hit me, ” she added.

Currently confined in a hospital in Manila, Vincy urged those she was in close contact with to inform health officers to check their symptoms.

Although she will no longer be part of the competition, Vincy has a huge fan-following on social media."I sincerely apologize for what happened. Please be always on the lookout for your health and safety. Please don’t forget to include me in your prayers," she said.