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Dubai-bred Filipino beauty queen’s dilemma

Parul Shah, daughter of an Indian driver and Filipino cleaner, is in the finals of the Binibining Pilipinas pagaent, but her cash-strapped parents can’t afford to attend the finals on Sunday

Image Credit:
Luzie Shah, with photo of her daughter Parul Shah, who is competing in this year's Binibining Pilipinas paegent, pictured at their home in Dubai. PHOTO:JAVED NAWAB/Gulf News

Dubai: Parul Shah is one step away from realizing a childhood dream, and she dearly wants her beloved parents to be there when she faces the ultimate challenge. Dubai-born Shah, 24, is one of the 50 candidates in the finals of this year’s 50th edition of the Binibining Pilipinas pageant, the country’s biggest beauty pageant. Being the golden anniversary of the prestigious brain and beauty competition, this year’s Binibining Pilipinas is one of the grandest events in the pageantry’s history.

However, Shah, the daughter of Dubai-based expatriates, is unlikely to get the opportunity to enjoy the morale-boosting presence of her parents on Sunday. Her parents, an Indian family driver and a Filipina domestic helper-turned-housewife, can hardly make both ends meet and could not afford the cost of the return tickets from Dubai to Manila to see their daughter go for gold the Binibining Pilipinas 2013 on April 14 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, Philippines. The winner of the contest goes on to the Miss Universe competition.

Shah is second of four siblings of Luzie Shah and Pramod Kumar Ramniklal Shah. In an emotional interview with tabloid! Luzie said her biggest wish is to be able to watch and support her daughter on pageant night. “I wish we will be there to support Parul. She’s been away since she went to the Philippines to attend college. When she graduated nursing school, we were also not there to enjoy the moment with her. We could barely make both ends meet and do not have the luxury to buy the airline tickets,” says Luzie, who along with Pramod has been residing in Dubai for more than 30 years. “We don’t have credit cards and my husband’s income does not make him eligible for a loan. We just go with the money we earn – we prioritize the needs of our children, especially for school and food.”

Shah, on the other hand, says it would be her dream to see her parents during coronation day. “I wish to see them during the pageant night but I do understand why they can’t make it. I’ve been doing this for them. I love my parents so much – who I am today is because of them. I’m so proud of them. I want them to see me now – a grown up lady. Even if they will not be around during pageant day, I know that their support, love and prayers are always there,” the beauty queen said.

For her mum, “Win or lose she will always be our Binibining Pilipinas and even the Miss Universe of our lives.”

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