Despite financial woes that faced her, Miss Dominican Republic Sal Garcia arrived in Manila Saturday to join the 80 other Miss Universe 2016 contestants to compete for the crown on January 30.
The 24-year-old Garcia, whose real name is Rosalba Abreu, arrived in Manila before noon via Philippine Airlines flight PR 127 from Vancouver.
Another hopeful, Miss Nigeria 2016 Chioma Obiadi will touch down in the capital at 6:40 p.m. through Turkey Airlines flight TK 084.
Garcia was able to raise $11,414 in 12 days through her Give Forward page, higher than her $10,000 goal.
Garcia turned to social media to ask for financial assistance in early January as the Dominican Republic government could not afford to send her to Manila for the Miss Universe competition, as it needed to focus its resources in rebuilding the towns destroyed by natural disasters in November and December.
She also lost backing from private organizations in Domincan Republic after she was cyberbullied for being “too tall and too skinny.”
At least 46 Miss Universe candidates arrived on Thursday, including Miss Universe frontrunner, Miss Venezuela Mariam Habach.