Reigning Miss Universe Philippines Gazini Christiana Ganados had a great-great-grandfather who used to be one of the trusted persons of Philippine National Hero Jose P. Rizal.
This was revealed by Honorary Consul of Georgia to the Philippines Joselito C. Aseniero during an exclusive interview at his 80th birthday bash at a hotel in Makati City Saturday night.
Gazini, the country’s representative to the 2019 Miss Universe beauty pageant, was one of the invited guests in the party attended by famous personalities of Dapitan City.
“Gazini’s great great grandfather is the cook, right-hand man, and all-around man of Jose Rizal,” said Aseniero.
He added: “When Rizal was in Dapitan (Zamboanga Del Norte), he gave a big portion of his land to this man (Acopiado).”
The consul revealed that “Gazini lived in the place where Rizal donated the property. She grew up there.”
Aseniero said that Rizal even described the place in one of his poems as “beneath the white beach of delicate sand, at the foot of the mountain greener than a leaf.”
Dapitan City is the place where Rizal spent his last four years of exile, historians said.
Aseniero said that he does not know Gazini personally “but I am close to his uncles.”
He promised to support Gazini in his quest to the Miss Universe contest. “The people of Dapitan are supporting her in the pageant.”
Gazini said that it was her mother Carmencita Acopiado Ganados who told her about her grandpa and Rizal.
“At first, as a child, I didn’t believe her. But when I saw the land title, naniwala na ako,” the beauty queen said.
Gazini then revealed this piece of information to her classmates but they didn’t believe her. “I just kept it to myself na lang. Hindi ko na pinaglaban.”
“Sometimes naisip ko na rin if descendant kami ng ating national hero. Pero I didn’t pursue it anymore or trace the bloodline,! ” she said.
But Gazini said that her mom would tell her stories of Rizal’s community projects in Dapitan City when she was a child.
Tatta Yves Jacob Saguin, who calls the beauty queen Jazz and mentor, said that the ancestral house of Gazini is near the Rizal Shrine.
“Gazini and her mom still drop by their home in Dapitan especially if Gazini will judge a beauty pageant here,” Saguin said.
Saguin said that Gazini’s mom had wished that her daughter would look like Josephine Bracken, one of the girlfriends of Rizal.
The Filipino-Palestinian beauty queen stayed in Talisay, Dapitan City during her elementary years.
Later the Ganados left Dapitan City and settled in Talisay, Cebu City which she represented in the Binibining Pilipinas 2019 finals.