Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Elizabeth Samson de Padua
Miss Universe Philippines 1976 
Photo credit: Tony Paat
Binibining Pilipinas 1976 Winners. Photo Credit: Tony Paat

I was born more than a decade after she was crowned as Binibining Pilipinas-Universe 1976 so my information about her is soley based on the limited sources I could find online. So for those pageant experts out there who are well knowledgeable with Elizabeth's biography, feel free to share your thoughts here:) 

Lizbeth in her swimsuit during the Miss Universe contest in 1976.

From what I have learned in my research, Elizabeth 'Lizbeth' Samson de Padua (now Dr. de Padua-Cravens, happily married and with two children) attained her Bachelors Degree (Pre-Med) with the highest academic award conferred by the University of the Philippines in Los Baños, Laguna. She earned the honorable distinction as the first ever Summa Cum Laude Binibining Pilipinas-Universe titleholder in history from the country's top university. Her remarkable win during the national finals of the country's most prestigious beauty search was received with great buzz and much fanfare.

The Asian contenders at Miss Universe 1976. Photo credit: Tony Paat

A lot were expecting that she'll easily breeze through the winning circle and win the Miss Universe title considering her impressive academic credentials, the country's 'sash factor' and her predecessors' excellent peformance. Rose Marie Brosas placed Fourth Runner-Up in the 1975 edition while Guadalupe Cuerva Sanchez nabbed a Semi-Final placement in 1974 after Magarita Moran won the country's second Miss Universe crown in 1973. On top of that, the contest was held in Hongkong so the location itself isn't a major hurdle for Lizbeth. However during the coronation finals, no Philippines was called in the semi-final round and Elizabeth's performance ended the country's three-year consecutive semi-final/winning streak. As reported, a lot of Filipino die-hard pageant fans were disappointed with her performance and grievely mad with her failure to clinch an honorable spot in Miss Universe, that they even quipped to stone her with rotten tomatoes as soon as she steps out of the plane when she comes home.

Miss Universe 1976 delegates in their swimsuits. Photo Credit: Tony Paat

But for Elizabeth, there's definitely more to life than winning a Miss Universe crown. She may have failed to achieve what her pageant fans dearly expected, but in the very things that matter most in her life, 'Lizbeth is a major winner! Unperturbed from all the bashings hurled against her after a failed international pageant stint, Lizbeth successfully finished her Doctor of Medicine in the School of Health and Sciences at the University of the Philippines System with flying colors and even topped the Medical Board Examination in her time. Her successful medical career didn't stop in the Philippines though. As a matter of fact, Dr. De Padua is now making waves in the United States of America as a board certified and multi-awarded Neurologist! She received her neurology training (wifh full medical scholarship) at the Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia followed by her Epilepsy fellowship training at MINCEP Epilepsy Care in 1988. Prior to joining the staff at MINCEP in 2007, Dr. De Padua was a Medical Director of Mid-America Brain and Stroke Institute's Comprehensive Epilepsy Program in Kansas City, Missouri. 

Lizbeth in her youth. Photo credit: Tony Paat

Dr. Lizbeth de Padua
Dr. de Padua's life is truly an inspiring one, worthy to be emulated upon. She picked herself up and successfully bounced back after losing. Her eventual success may not be in a global pageantry in which the glitz and glamour only reign for a year, but it is in a more lucrative medical profession which greatly lasts a lifetime, a dignified chosen career path that is less travelled but incredibly rewarding. Me thinks, that the overachiever doctor who's presently at the highest peak in her career (that others could only dream of) is way more successful and fulfilled (than her Miss Universe peers), whose feat and unparalleled achievement is far greater than a precious gem-studded universal beauty crown.


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