MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippines' bet to this year's Miss Universe made her appearances count at the pageant's preliminary competition held Friday (Manila time) in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ahead of the pageant's coronation night on December 20, Filipina Janine Tugonon and 88 other international beauties competed on Friday morning at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
Tugonon, who hails from Bataan, was warmly welcomed by Filipinos in the audience at the preliminary competition. In the live stream of the event hosted by the official Miss Universe website, loud cheers marked Tugonon's introduction.
The candidates took turns walking the stage for the evening gown and the swimsuit competition. For Tugonon, 23, her turn was a chance to demonstrate her practiced gait now dubbed the "cobra walk."
Last year, the Philippines' delegate to the annual pageant, Shamcey Supsup, popularized the "tsunami walk."
For her evening gown, Tugonon wore a see-through powder blue dress, which drew attention to her long legs. The morena beauty and her sparkling gown drew cheers from some audience members. (See video above, courtesy of YouTube account TheEmeraldvideos.)
On Saturday, Tugonon and her fellow candidates will showcase their cultural heritage through the National Costume Show.
Meanwhile, supporters of the University of Sto. Tomas (UST) cum laude can continue voting in the online polls to ensure a spot for Tugonon in the semifinals.
The coronation night of the 61st Miss Universe pageant will be aired live on ABS-CBN on December 20.
The Philippines is still hoping to produce its third Miss Universe winner after Gloria Diaz (1969) and Margie Moran (1973).