Miss Universe Philippines 2010 Maria “Venus Raj” y Bayonito, was born in Doha, Qatar, to an Indian father and a Filipina mother. She grew up without a biological father as her mom took her in their hometown at Bato, Camarines Sur when she was just an infant.
She spent her early years living in a small nipa hut made from bamboo and anahaw leaves and was surrounded by sprawling rice fields. She also remembered her difficult life in their hometown before as their small house there does not even have electricity.
Venus started out by joining several local beauty pageants in Bicol, which helped her earn money. She uses the prize money won to buy some portions of land for her farmer mother portions so that she can help with improving their livelihood.
Not only she excels in the world of pageantry, as this Indian-Filipina beauty is also an achiever and a scholar at their school. Venus attended college at Bicol University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in communication, major in journalism, and graduated with Latin honors (cum laude). In 2017, she completed her master’s degree in community development from the University of the Philippines Diliman.
After her victory as Miss Bicolandia, she competed in the Miss Earth 2008 pageant, representing Legazpi City, where she eventually won Miss Philippines Earth Eco-Tourism 2008.
Venus took a break after joining this pageant and decided to work at the regional office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources or DENR, where she worked as an Information Assistant.
In 2010, Venus was chosen to represent our country in the Miss Universe 2010 but was later dethroned due to her questionable Filipino citizenship. After a few months, she was reinstated as Miss Philippines Universe 2010 and became the first dethroned Binibining Pilipinas to have her crown reinstated. Despite that, she still made it to the Top 5 and was hailed as the 4th runner up in this prestigious pageant, where she popularized her fumbled answer “Major Major.”
Following this victory, she signed an exclusive contract with the Kapamilya network and became one of the hosts in the morning show “Umagang Kay Ganda.” Many people admire her because of her humble beginnings and her determination and hard work that paved her way to all the blessings she has right now.
As a matter of fact, only a few months after landing a spot in the 2010 Miss Universe, Venus returned to her hometown in Bato, Camarines Sur to start building her dream house —a bungalow type house that took over a year and a half to finish.
Here’s a look at Venus Raj’s CamSur Tropical bungalow house: