Miriam Quiambao opens up about fiance
MANILA – Beauty queen turned inspirational speaker Miriam Quiambao is happy that she has finally found the man she can call “the one.”
But the Miss Universe 1999 first runner-up admitted that she was not initially attracted to author, entrepreneur and fellow inspirational speaker Ardy Roberto, who is now her fiancé.
“Hindi, hindi talaga ako nagwagwapuhan. Hindi naman siya pangit, pero hindi lang talaga siya ‘yung type ko,” she said in an hour-long interview with the television program “Power House” aired early this week.
Quiambao said she eventually developed feelings for Roberto after he was able to “pass” some of her “tests.” The former beauty queen said she came up with a list of the qualities she wants in her next husband.
“Gumawa ako ng listahan ng mga qualities sa karakter ng taong gusto kong mapangasawa. Tapos gumawa rin ako ng listahan ng mga sitwasyon na dapat mangyari at gawin niya para ma-prove sa akin na siya talaga ‘yung will ni Lord para sa akin,” she said.
“Ang importante naman ‘yung puso, tapos compatible kami sa mga bagay na talagang importante – spiritual, intellectual, kahit ‘yung pag-manage ng pera at saka ‘yung emotional,” she added. “At saka ‘yung gusto ko talaga ‘yung taong magmamahal sa akin nang tapat. ‘Yung taong magche-cherish sa akin, ‘yung hindi lang ako mamahalin dahil maganda ako, dahil beauty queen ako, kung hindi mamahalin niya ako bilang ako.”
Quiambao got engaged to Roberto last Sunday after he surprised her with a wedding ring during a marathon.
She uploaded photos from the proposal on her Instagram page with the accompanying caption “1 John 4:18,” a scripture passage that reads: “There is no fear in love.”
“Dati nahiwalay ako, my heart was broken to a million pieces. Ngayon, may boyfriend na ako na gusto akong pakasalan,” Quiambao said.
But before meeting the love of her life and finding joy in being an inspirational speaker, Quiambao had to go through a number of challenges which, she said, made her “suicidal” at one point.
According to the Miss Universe 1999 first runner-up, it all started when she decided to suddenly leave everything she had to get married with a man she barely knew and live with him in Hong Kong.
She eventually got divorced to Italian Claudio Rondinelli after two years.
“Ang dami kong kinulob na emotions na hindi ko na-express sa asawa ko. From then, lumabas siya, ‘yung grief ko I feel like hindi ko na-grieve properly na iniwan ko ‘yung trabahong mahal ko, ‘yung pamilya ko, ‘yung mga kaibigan ko, bayan ko. Basta iniwan ko lang. I just dropped everything para makasama siya, tapos ‘yung expectations ko hindi ma-meet kasi… Hindi ko na iisa-isahin pero may mga nagging problema kami na hindi naman namin ma-resolve,” Quiambao said.
“Two and a half years. Kung narinig niyo na ‘yung sinasabi nilang dark night of the soul, na-experience ko ‘yun within that marriage. On my second year of marriage,” she added.
Quiambao shared that there came a point in her life when a voice was telling her to jump off a building.
“Nasa tuktok ako ng building, tapos parang may bumubulong sa akin na tumalon na ako. Kasi lahat daw ng mga problema sa buhay ko sa mundo ay dahil sa mga kasalanan ko. Kaya ‘pag tumalon ako at mamatay ako, matatapos din ‘yung mga kasalanan ko,” she said. “’Yung parang ganoon, may bumubulong na ganoon. So sino ‘yon, demonyo ba ‘yon? I didn’t want to [jump], but that voice was telling me to.”
But another voice, she said, changed her mind.
“Tapos meron pang isa pang boses na nanggaling sa puso ko. It was a very still, small voice. Ang sabi galing sa puso ko, ‘if you kill yourself, it’s not love.’ Eh pagmamahal ang hinahanap ko,” she said.
Asked why she believes her first marriage didn’t work, Quiambao said: “Siguro dahil immature ako noon and hindi rin siya ready. Kulang kami ng intimacy and communication, emotional intimacy. And during the trying times of our marriage hindi namin ma-overcome, hindi namin naayos at napag-usapan ‘yung mga challenges that happen in a normal marriage.”
“Hindi namin napag-iisipan, hindi namin nare-resolve. And unfortunately, the marriage ended up in divorce.”
Reeling from a failed marriage, Quiambao returned to the Philippines to start again.
The former beauty queen was hoping to use her savings to build a new life for herself, but these were apparently used in a scam by a friend she once trusted.
“At the end of 2007, na-discover ko from another co-investor (in real estate) na ‘yung pera ko na naka-invest sa iba’t ibang properties na ‘to – life savings ko ‘yon, millions ‘yon – na si ganito mini-mismanage niya ‘yung pera, ginagamit niya para sa mga sarili niyang pangangailangan,” she said.
Quiambao said she was not able to get all of her savings back, and felt that she was at the lowest point in her life.
“Hindi lahat nabawi. Gulong gulo talaga ako noon, feeling ko talaga nasa putikan ako. Kasi noong pag-uwi ko rito galing noong naghiwalay kami… Salamat sa Diyos nabigyan ako ng trabaho… Kaya kong bayaran ‘yung mga pangangailangan ko. Pero emotionally, na-depress na naman ako.
“Tapos naaalala ko noon, nakahiga ako sa sofa ng mga magulang ko, hinihintay ko na lang na mamatay ako. Sabi ko, ‘Lord, hindi ako magpapakamatay, pero kunin niyo na ako. Kasi hindi ko na alam kung ano pang dahilan kung bakit ako mabubuhay.’
“So ganoon talaga ako, lost and I really experienced problems in all areas of my life – emotionally nahiwalay ako, financially ‘yung life savings ko na-scam, and spiritually lost ako kasi nga tinalikuran ko ang Panginoon.”
Down and doubtful, Quiambao was able to find hope and renew her faith in God through her friend Anthony Pangilinan.
Recalling their conversation over coffee, she said: “Inimbitahan niya ako na magkape kung saan. Tapos na-share niya sa akin ‘yung pagmamahal ng Panginoon sa pamamagitan ng isang verse sa Bibliya. Ang sabi niya, ‘For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.’
“Tapos in-explain niya. ‘Pag sinabi noong wages, anong Tagalog noon? ‘Di ba kabayaran? So ‘pag meron kang tinrabaho, gaya ng daily wage, salary, meron kang tinrabaho, meron kang bayad. So kung ang ginawa mo ay kasalanan, ang kabayaran noon, kamatayan.’
“[Sabi niya] ’Pero ang regalo ng Panginoon, ‘pag sinabing regalo, meron ka bang kailangang gawin para i-deserve ‘yung regalo na ‘yon?’ Sabi ko wala. [Sabi niya] ‘So anong gagawin mo ‘pag merong nagregalo sa’yo kasi mahal ka?’ Sabi ko tatanggapin mo lang. So ang regalo ng Panginoon ay buhay na walang hanggan, kay Hesukristo.”
Quiambao said it was since that moment when she learned to return to her religious ways, with the former beauty queen eventually joining Victory, a religious organization.
Looking back, Quiambao believes that she experienced all those hardships to prepare her for a bright future ahead.
“[The challenges prepared me] for this man and, I believe, for a greater future ahead of me,” she said.
After all that she has gone through, Quiambao now has a different definition of beauty.
“Ang kagandahan para sa akin, nanggagaling talaga sa Panginoon ‘yan… More than physical beauty, what I really wanted to emphasize is inner beauty,” she said.