By JO ERLINDA G NEBRES
Reigning Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach breezed back to sunny Manila last week without any prior announcement, except for her social media hint she was leaving cool New York for a while.
It is presumed that while in the Philippines, she is to attend the preparations for the Binibining Pilipinas pageant and coronation on April 17 at the Araneta Coliseum where she is expected to turn over her crown
The Filipina-German beauty, meanwhile, clarified reports that she was dating a popular doctor while in New York.
She stressed that love will have to take a back seat for a while as she is focused on her duties as the reigning Miss Universe and her advocacy of raising awareness on HIV.
The beauty queen was interviewed by ABS-CBN’s Dyan Castillejo and her report was posted on the network’s website.
In the interview, Dyan asked the 26-year-old Miss Universe titlist about reports that she is dating the “Sexiest Doctor Alive” Mikhail Varshavski.
“As I said before, Miss Universe is still my priority. I’ve been working to get this title for a very long time and I love my job, I really do, and it’s going to stay that way for a long time,” Pia told Dyan in the interview.
Pia disclosed added that Varshavski, known as Doctor Mike, who was featured in People magazine’s 2015 “Sexiest Man Alive” issue, understands her situation.
“He’s been very respectful in knowing that my priority is Miss Universe and I appreciate that very much. He knows that this is my life right now,” she told the network in the interview.
Only last March 18, Dr. Mike claimed that he was going out with Pia following weeks of speculations born out of their exchanges on Snapchat and Twitter.
“I am dating Pia. It’s a fairly new relationship but I’m really excited to see where it can go!” he was quoted to have said.
Not everybody, however, was happy with Pia’s rumored relationship with New Jersey physician as many took to social media to express their frustration over the news, according to Philippine Entertainment Portal (PEP) and GMA Network’s reports.
As reported on PEP News, some netizens aired mixed reactions to the beauty queen being open about her romance, after she shared various photos that showed her goofing around and having a good time with the doctor, who gained internet fame for his good looks.
“Is Pia serious about her reign, or [more] interested in posing for silly pics with Dr. Mike? Not professional,” said one netizen.
Another Netizen stated that a lot of Wurtzbach’s supporters felt a bit let down with her antics, and had asked the beauty queen to follow Miss USA Olivia Jordan’s lead in keeping her private life under wraps.
“Olivia takes care of her image and doesn’t post unprofessional pics with her [boyfriend],” the commenter added, according to the PEP and GMA News reports.
One Instagram user also stated that Wurtzbach has far more important things to do than to be in a relationship, and reminded the beauty queen that she should be focusing on her duties.
But Pia’s fervent supporters continued to defend her, saying that she has the right to be happy.
A commenter stated that the beauty queen has the right to date anybody she wants as long as she puts her duty as a beauty queen first and foremost.
“Allow her to have fun, guys. She knows her responsibilities. That is what makes her smart. She knows how to balance work and personal life,” said one fan.
“Leave this woman alone. She can date, have a boyfriend or do whatever she wants as long as she is not hurting anybody or doing anything that will cost her the crown,” said another, according to PEP and GMA Network.
After dropping a mysterious hint on her social media accounts, Pia announced her return to Manila on Instagram.
Pia shared a photo of herself wearing a yellow dress (to match the sunny weather) and light makeup from an undisclosed room.
She arrived three weeks ahead of the Binibining Pilipinas 2016 coronation night.
Pia, who is currently based in New York as part of her official duties as Miss Universe, arrived in Manila at 11:52 a.m. via Eva Air flight BR 217.
According to the NAIA Media Affairs, Pia did not ask for assistance from their office.
Earlier in the day, the Miss Universe Facebook account posted a photo of Wurtzbach on Facebook as it hinted on the Filipina beauty queen’s next destination: “Flying to somewhere warm today. Let the guessing game begin!”