MANILA – Janine Tugonon, First Runner-up in this year’s Miss Universe Pageant in Las Vegas, arrived in Manila on Saturday, December 22, 2012. Not only her adoring fans greeted the beauty queen but also the disappointed followers who believe she should have won the crown instead of Miss USA.
During the media conference conducted in Manila upon her arrival, Tugonon exhibited her grace and humility by asking her embittered followers to accept the decision. “Miss USA deserved to win and I’m fortunate to place second among 89 contestants,” she said. She added, “After what happened lately, America needs this win to boost its morale,” referring to the massacre at Newtown, Connecticut where 26 lives tragically perished on December 14, 2012.
After her strong performance in the pageant, the UST Pharmacy graduate said popularity has not changed her or the choices that she makes. Janine Mari Raymundo Tugonon was born in Balanga, Bataan on October 19, 1989. She has a degree in Pharmacy, Cum Laude, from the University of Santo Tomas. She ranked among the top passing her 2010 Pharmacy Board examination (85.05%) to become a licensed pharmacist in June 2010.
In 2011, she joined Binibining Pilipinas and finished first runner-up. She competed again in 2012 and won the title, Miss Universe-Philippines, which qualified her to represent the Philippines in the Miss Universe 2012 pageant.
The 23-year-old Tugonon is deemed to have given one of the best answers in Miss Universe history when she replied to judge Nigel Barker’s question: “As an international ambassador, do you believe that speaking English should be a prerequisite to being Miss Universe? Why or why not?”
Her reply was: “For me, being Miss Universe is not just about knowing how to speak a specific language, it’s being able to influence and inspire other people. So whatever language you have, as long as you have the heart to serve and you have a strong mind to show to people, then you can be Miss Universe.”
First Runner-up, Janine Tugonon with 2012 Miss Universe winner Olivia Culpo of the USA
Miss USA Olivia Culpo won the crown at the 61st Miss Universe pageant held at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas on Wednesday, December 19, 2012. Tugonon came in second (first runner-up), while Miss Venezuela, Irene Sofia Esser Quintero, placed third.
Rounding out the Top five were Australia’s Renae Ayris, who placed fourth and Brazil’s Gabriela Markus, who placed fifth.
Tugonon’s second place finish marked the third straight year that the Philippines has finished in the pageant’s Top Five. Last year’s Miss Philippines, Shamcey Supsup, placed fourth, while Venus Raj finished fifth in 2010.
[Source: Wikipedia and report from Pilipino Express’ Manila correspondents]