Hailing from Cebu City, Philippines, English as a Second Language instructor Samantha Ashley Lo, 26, was crowned Binibining Pilipinas-Grand International 2019 on June 29, 2019. In an after pageant interview, she apologized to a reporter for not getting the question in Tagalog and likened her fluency in the language to the internet speed in the area.
“May mga balitang gaganapin daw sa Venezuela ang Miss Grand International (2019),” (There are rumors that Miss Grand International will be held in Venezuela) the reporter told Lo. “Paano mo paghahandaan ito considering na may tensiyon ngayon doon?” (How will you prepare for this considering that there is an ongoing tension there?)
“I’m sorry,” Lo responded. “My Tagalog is like wifi here. It’s very slow.”
Lo’s response draw laughter. Since 2014, telecommunications and digital services provider PLDT Inc. has been a Bb. Pilipinas sponsor.
“O, in Venezuela!” Lo said when she understood the question. “I’m very excited because my mother is Cuban so I’m very in touch with my Latin side so I’m excited that I get to go to Venezuela. That’s incredible for me.”
“I continue to prepare,” the newly crowned Bb. Pilipinas-Grand International 2019 added. “This is my first national pageant. This is my first national crown. (I’m) very, very proud of myself, and you know, I just continue to get better, grow stronger and (prepare for) more success to come.”
The Bb. Pilipinas 2019 coronation night took place at Smart Araneta Coliseum, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines. Lo was crowned by Bb. Pilipinas-Grand International 2018 Eva Psychee Patalinjug.
With Quezon City mayor-elect Joy Belmonte as the chairman, the board of judges included Miss Universe 1969 Gloria Diaz, James Reid, Daniel Padilla and Nadine Lustre, basketball player Christian Standhardinger, Grab Philippines president Brian Cu, president of Asia at Alorica Inc. Rainerio Borja, ABS-CBN vice president for television Bobby Barrero, Ambassador of Italy to the Philippines Giorgio Guglielmino and Ambassador of Spain to the Philippines Jorge Moragas. In the question and answer portion, Hardinger asked Lo, “What is your best non-physical asset and why do you say so?”
“I believe the best non-physical asset could be your spirit,” Lo answered. “I believe that when we have a strong spirit, a strong aura, we shine from within, we spread it. It’s a beautiful butterfly effect and I continue to encourage everyone to have positivity and show love.”
“There’s no need for negativity,” Lo continued. “There’s nothing productive about it. Let’s continue to shine and show love.”
Originally from Florida, United States, Lo moved to Cebu City in 2015. Her father is Filipino-Chinese while her mother is Cuban-Nicaraguan.
Watch the interview with Lo and her fellow Bb. Pilipinas 2019 winners here: