Tugonon: 'I claim victory'
|Miss Universe 2012 first runner-up Janine Tugonon
MANILA, Philippines – Miss Universe 2012 first runner-up Janine Tugonon got a chance to answer the other four questions asked during the much talked about question and answer portion of the pageant last week.
Tugonon won raves from fans and pageant observers for her answer to the question posed to her by judge, fashion photographer Nigel Barker, on whether speaking English should be a prerequisite to being Miss Universe.
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."
But in a one-on-one interview with “The Buzz” host Boy Abunda that aired on Sunday, the 23-year-old University of Sto. Tomas graduate was asked to answer the other questions posed to the other Top 5 candidates.
1. If you could make a new law, what would it be and why? (asked to Miss Venezuela Irene Sofía Esser Quintero, who was second runner-up).
Tugonon: “It would be something that would oblige the parents to nurture their children, to let them go to school, to take care of them. So that we won’t just make babies, we would be responsible parents.”
2. As someone who might be winning a modeling contract, what would you feel if you were told to lose weight or risk losing the assignment? (asked to Miss Australia Renae Ayris, third runner-up)
Tugonon: “For me, if it’s in the contract, then we must follow. We’ve entered that contract so you must follow all the rules in it. It’s a sacrifice, really.”
3. What do you say to people who believe wearing swimsuits in public reduces them to sexual objects? (asked to Miss Brazil Gabriela Markus, fourth runner-up).
Tugonon: “For me wearing a swimsuit is not only to flaunt your body, it also shows the people that you can be confident, you could be graceful in a two-piece. And I don’t think that’s disrespectful.”
4. What is something that you have done that you will never do again? (asked to Miss USA Olivia Culpo, Miss Universe 2012)
Tugonon: “When my grandmother died, I wasn’t able to say goodbye to her. So I would make the most of every second I have.”
Nervous during pageant
Despite the confidence she projected during the pageant, Tugonon admitted to Abunda that she was nervous during the question and answer portion.
“Kabado ako kasi hindi ako magaling mag-English talaga,” she confessed.
But she was also energized by the crowd, who were very vocal about their support for her. “Lalo pa kapag naglalakad. Sobrang nakadagdag siya ng confidence, nakadagdag siya ng smile for me. Mas lalo mong ma-fi-feel talaga yung lakad mo,” she said.
So when she was the last one to be called for the Top 10, she was jittery. “Kinakabahan ako siyempre. Pero sinansabi ko, hindi, Lord, sabi ko pasok ako. Alam ko pasok ako, hindi pwedeng hindi,” she recalled, laughing.
Tugonon admitted that she “claimed” to win the crown in her prayers. “I prayed, “Lord, I claim victory. I claim to be the next Miss Universe” …pero siyempre nandun pa rin sa dulo na it’s Your will,” she told Abunda, adding that her praised “cobra walk” was dedicated to God.
Every time she had to walk across the stage, she would pray and tell herself to “walk for Jesus.”
Asked of her immediate reaction when Miss USA was named Miss Universe, the 5-foot-8 Filipina replied, “Uwi na ako. Honestly yon talaga. Aba mukhang matutuwa ang mga friends ko sa Philippines na uuwi na ako.”
As such, she is hoping that the many Filipinos who are disappointed when she didn’t bring home the coveted crown would accept her defeat and just move on.
“Sana matanggap na nila ‘yung mga hindi pa nakakatanggap. Let’s be happy,” she said, adding that for herself, she is praying for all the blessings to continue.
The primetime replay of the 2012 Miss Universe pageant will be aired on ABS-CBN on December 23 after “Gandang Gabi Vice.”