|Miss Philippines Janine Tugonon congratulates Miss USA Olivia Culpo after Culpo was named Miss Universe 2012. Photo by Joe Klamar, AFP
MANILA, Philippines - Shortly after her first runner-up finish in this year's Miss Universe pageant, Miss Philippines Janine Tugonon shared her thoughts about the final seconds of the competition.
In an interview on ANC on Thursday, Tugonon said she honestly thought that she could be the third Filipina to get the Miss Universe crown.
"I want to be honest na siyempre, oo naman, naisip ko na 'yun, may pag-asa ang Pilipinas. Pero siyempre, inihanda ko na rin ang sarili ko [na matalo]," she said.
"Dapat mag-expect ka ng best pero at the same time, maging humble ka na rin to accept na hindi ka rin mananalo. Parang ganoon," she added.
Tugonon placed second in the 61st Miss Universe pageant, losing to Olivia Culpo of the United States.
The Filipina beauty said she felt nervous yet happy that she made it to the Top 2.
"Nagpra-pray lang ako noon. Sabi ko 'Lord, thank you. Thank you talaga,'" she said.
Happy and thankful
Many Filipinos were expecting Tugonon to get the crown after her impressive performance during the pageant's question and answer round.
Despite her loss to Miss USA, Tugonon said she is happy with her runner-up finish. "I'm so happy kasi konting Pilipina lang ang nakakaabot doon sa ganoong kalayo sa Miss Universe, and matagal na rin na walang nagiging first runner-up," she said.
"Sobrang thankful ako kay Lord, malaking blessing na 'yun para sa akin," she added.
She then gave this message to her supporters in the Philippines: "Sana po happy kayo. I mean, 'di man natin nakuha 'yung crown, it's a really great gift.
"Accept na lang natin 'yun and let's be happy for that. Let's be thankful na rin kasi kahit papaano, nakilala ulit ang Pilipinas sa pageants, 'di ba?
"Salamat sa suporta," she ended.
Now that the Miss Universe 2012 pageant is over, Tugonon said she wants to go back to the Philippines and relax with her boyfriend JP Santos, as well as her family and friends.
"Gusto kong pumuntang Palawan, sana this Christmas, so 'yun ayusin namin 'yun," she said. "Pero siyempre, may kasamang iba 'yun, may kasamang friends ko, ganun."
"Bakasyon na, puro kasi work eh noong mga nakaraang buwan. So ngayon, gusto kong mag-relax, mag-thank lang kay Lord, mag-celebrate."