Even with the uncertainties brought upon by a global pandemic, the show has to go on for many annual events. The 2021 edition of the Miss Universe pageant is still pegged tentatively for December of this year, which means the Miss Universe Philippines pageant must be held within the remaining less than four months. And indeed, the 30 entrants that passed the four preliminary delegate selections (starting from 100) have begun getting ready for coronation night at possibly September 25. But even as the contestants did their latest photo shoots and secluded themselves in a hotel outside Metro Manila, they still lost one of their own due to health issues.

The Philippine Star reports that Miss Zambales Joanna Marie Rabe has withdrawn from competition at the 2021 Miss Universe Philippines pageant as of this past Monday, September 13. Rabe explained on social media that her bowing out of the contest came as a result of having contracted dengue fever, for which her doctor has advised plenty of rest, something she would not have if she continued her journey. The competition thus now only has 29 candidates vying for representing the Philippines in Miss Universe 2021.

“I would like to inform you that my Miss Universe Philippines journey has been cut short,” wrote Rabe on Instagram. “I got dengue fever earlier this week and my doctors [advised] that I would need more time to recover my strength.” The Zambales beauty then proceeded to thank her family, friends, online supporters, the people of her home province and the Miss Universe Philippines Organization for giving her the opportunity to pursue her dream even if she never even made it to the coronation night, One of her closing lines about seeing everyone again in a bigger stage and brighter circumstances reminds fans that she is still of age to re-enter competition even next year.

Joanna Marie Rabe’s medically-induced departure from the Miss Universe Philippines pageant was met with well-wishes on social media. Hannah Arnold, Binibining Pilipinas International 2021 and a fellow member with Rabe in the Aces & Queens pageant training camp during 2019, remembered her fondly. “I already knew you were a queen,” says Arnold. “We are so proud of you and will wait for your great comeback! Get well soon, Jo!” It does not seem that the MUP Organization will replace Rabe with another cut delegate to keep the contestant total at 30, but the coronation night looks set for September 25, broadcast on ABS-CBN’s KTX.ph streaming.

Image from GMA News