Ariella Arida speaks up on Marian Rivera's ex
MANILA -- The Philippines' representative to Miss Universe, Ariella Arida, thanked her suitor for coming to her defense regarding her supposedly "offensive" statement against Latinas in pageants.
During a press conference held Tuesday for the launch of sports broadcaster Dyan Castillejo's new fitness website, Arida, in a phone interview, spoke about her ties with actor Ervic Vijarde.
The 24-year-old Alaminos-born beauty became linked to Vijarde, who was formerly in an eight-year relationship with actress Marian Rivera until 2009, after he admitted in an interview that he is courting Arida.
He said he started wooing the beauty queen even before she won the Miss Universe-Philippines title last April.
Arida, who is currently in Moscow, Russia for the Miss Universe finals night on November 10 (Manila time), denied she and Vijarde are now officially a couple.
She confirmed, however, that he continues to court her.
"Sabi ko naman din, priority ko naman is this, so let's see after the competition," Arida said. "Supportive pa naman siya until now."
Citing her packed schedule leading up to the pageant's coronation night, Arida said she and Vijarde have not been able to communicate as frequently as when she was in the Philippines.
"Hindi rin [kami masyado nakakapg-usap] kasi busy rin po ako, tapos 'yung time difference. Mahirap din po makipag-communicate," she said.
Even though they haven't talked for a while, Arida said she felt Vijarde's support when he took to social media recently to defend her against controversial radio personality Mo Twister.
The New York-based DJ, whose real name is Mohan Gumatay, criticized Arida last week for her on-camera quip about Latinas and their English-speaking skills.
Referring to Vijarde's own word war with Gumatay following the DJ's tirade against Arida, the beauty queen said, "Thankful ako dahil parang 'yung issue... Maraming salamat, naa-appreciate ko po 'yung ginawa niyang support sa akin."
"Kahit malayo pa po ako, feel ko pa rin na supportive pa rin siya, andiyan pa rin siya for me, so thankful po ako," she said.
Referring to Vijarde's aborted plans of flying to Moscow to watch her in the finals, Arida added, "At least nafi-feel ko naman po 'yung support, 'yon po ang mas importante."