The Philippines’ candidate to the Miss Universe 2012 pageant Janine Mari Tugonon has placed second in the beauty tilt held Wednesday night in Las Vegas. Tugonon’s feat is the closest the country has come to winning the much coveted crown since Miriam Quiambao in 1999.
Miss USA Olivia Culpo is declared as this year’s Miss Universe. The other contenders who placed in the prestigious pageant included Irene Sofiá Esser Quintero of Venezuela (2nd runner up),
Renae Ayris of Australia (3rd runner up), and Gabriela Markus of Brazil (4th runner up).
The Philippines’ bet picked judge Nigel Barker during the Question and Answer portion. The renowned photographer asked Tugonon the question: “As a global ambassador, do you think speaking English should be a prerequisite to being Miss Universe?”
The 22-year-old Janine Tugonon replied, “Language isn’t the only important thing. As long as you can influence and inspire other people, as long as you have a strong mind, spirit, you can be Miss Universe.”
In a video clip shown after the announcement of the top five, Tugonon called Miss Universe “a battle of a lifetime,” noting that Filipinos are inherently fond of beauty pageants.
“If I make it here, I feel that I can give them hope, and it’s an early Christmas gift to them,” she said.
The Philippines’ representatives in the Miss Universe competion have been doing good for the last three years. It is the third year in a row that a Filipina has made it to the Top Five of the Miss Universe pageant.
Last year, Shamcey Supsup placed third runner-up in the competion held in São Paulo, Brazil. In 2010, Maria Venus Raj ended up in the fourth place.
To date, only two Filipinas has brought home the prestigious Miss Universe crown. Actress and beauty queen Gloria Diaz bagged the title in 1969 while Margarita “Margie” was declared the winner in 1973.