MANILA, Philippines - (UPDATED) Binibining Pilipinas-Universe 2012 Janine Tugonon made it to the Top 10 in the 61st Miss Universe pageant held Wednesday night (Thursday morning in Manila) at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
The Filipina beauty, who lost to Olivia Culpo of the United States, was given a Twitter question from judge Nigel Barker: "As an international ambassador, do you believe that speaking English should be a prerequisite to being Miss Universe? Why or why not?"
She answered: "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. As long as your heart wants to serve and you have a strong mind to show people, then you can be Miss Universe."
Some fast facts about Tugonon:
- Tugonon is 23 years old and hails from Balanga, Bataan. She is in a relationship.
- Tugonon considers Irene Esser Quintero of Venezuela as her biggest "threat" in this year's Miss Universe pageant, according to her predecessor, Shamcey Supsup.
- Instead of the usual terno, Tugonon opted to wear a Maranao-inspired gown at the Miss Universe national costume show. "Maranao-inspired, kasi 'yun talaga 'yung bagay sa akin na pinagpilian," she told ABS-CBN News.
- In the Binibining Pilipinas 2012 pageant, judge Jose Manuel Romualdez asked Tugonon the question: Many women nowadays forego a happy family life for a successful career. How do you feel about this?" Tugonon replied: "I believe that women have the right to choose between what they want. But for me, you'll have to go for what God has called you to do, whatever it is, between the two. You must do what your purpose is in this world. Just have a child-like faith and mature obedience, and everything will go smooth."
- Tugonon is no stranger to the Binibining Pilipinas pageant. She placed first runner-up in last year's competition, which was won by Supsup, her roommate.
- Tugonon earlier admitted that her family had mixed views on her decision to join the Binibining Pilipinas pageant for the second time. "Sobrang saya ko kasi joining again really is a big discussion in our family. Maraming may ayaw, pero meron ding may gusto. Talagang dito napatunayan ko na when God really plans something for you, it really happens," she told ABS-CBN News. "Sobrang saya at the same time nervous din kasi Shamcey and Venus made it sa Miss Universe."
- Tugonon is a cum laude pharmacy graduate of the University of Santo Tomas. She won in beauty pageants held in UST, such as Miss Thomasian Personality in 2010 and Miss Pharmacy in 2009.
- According to her Facebook fan page, Tugonon was a consistent honor student and is into ballet.
- In a video for the Miss Universe pre-pageant Q&A reel, Tugonon said she would "probably eat a lot with my family and with the people I love" if the world were to end tomorrow.