|Bb. Pilipinas Universe 2012 Janine Tugonon
MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) - A pharmacy graduate of University of Sto. Tomas (UST) was crowned Bb. Pilipinas Universe 2012 at the Araneta Coliseum on Sunday night.
Janine Tugonon defeated 29 other contestants for the right to represent the country in this year's Ms. Universe contest in Florida, USA.
In the question and answer portion for the 12 semi-finalists, Tugonon was asked the question, "Many women nowadays forego a happy family life for a successful career. How do you feel about this?"
Her answer was: "Well, 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 a mature obedience and everything will go smooth."
Tugonon was UST's 2009 Ms. Pharmacy and 2010 Ms. Thomasian Personality or Ms. UST.
Brains and beauty
According to her Facebook Fan Page, the new Bb. Pilipinas Universe "graduated cum laude from UST and top-ranked the Pharmacy Board Examination in 2010" with a score of 82.05%.
She grew up without a father and "never experienced a father's warm embrace nor felt her father's moral support in her undertakings," her fan page says. "There were only her mom, elder sister and grandparents (now deceased) who made a complete family picture for her."
"Janine does not entertain the term 'broken family'. Despite her situation, Janine made sure that the path she created would always be towards her goal. She was a constant honor student since preparatory school where she graduated salutatorian. She was best in English in high school and got hooked up in ballet," the fan page says.
"She may not be drop-dead gorgeous beauty, but Janine epitomizes what a true Filipina should be. Her beauty is very Filipina, a young lass who still was able to preserve our moral and ethical values. Her simplicity defines elegance and most of all, she has character and substance - all the traits that a beauty queen should possess," it adds.
Nicole Schmitz is Ms. International
Nicole Schmitz won Bb. Pilipinas International, while Katrina Jayne Dimaranan won Bb. Pilipinas Tourism.
Annalie Flores was awarded 2nd runner-up, while Elaine Kay Moll won 1st runner-up.
For the special awards, Schmitz won Best in Swimsuit and Best in National Costume.
Angelee delos Reyes won Best in Long Gown.
The People's Binibini 2012, which is based on text votes, went to Giselle Angelica Muñoz.
Karen Gallman won Ms. Photogenic while Chloe Zanardi won Ms. Friendship.
Dimaranan also took the Best Talent award.
This year's Bb. Pilipinas was hosted by Xian Lim, Iza Calzado, Ms. Universe 2010 4th runner-up Venus Raj, and Georgina Wilson.
There were 12 judges in this year's contest, including Ms. International Lara Quigaman, Richard Gomez, and Fil-British football star Phil Younghusband as chairman of the board.
Journey's frontman Arnel Pineda and Pinoy music icon Bamboo were guest performers. They serenaded the women during the long gown competition.
Tugonon hopes to do better than Shamcey Supsup, who won 3rd runner-up in the 2011 Ms. Universe pageant held in Sau Paolo, Brazil.
Venus Raj placed 4th runner-up in the Ms. Universe pageant in 2010.
The Philippines has so far produced 2 Ms. Universe winners: Gloria Diaz and Margie Moran. Three Pinays have also won Ms. International: Aurora Pijuan, Melanie Marquez, and Lara Quigaman.
More than 100 aspirants
According to Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. chairperson, Stella Marquez Araneta, "this year’s batch was most impressive because of the beauty and the intelligence of the ladies who made it to the cut."
Out of more than 100 aspirants, only 30 made it to the final cut.
“The past years saw the Philippines, through the Bb. Pilipinas pageant, reclaim its lofty stature as the beauty capital of Asia,” she said. “In a way, this has added positive pressure to the girls in the sense that not only are they stunning to look at. This batch is also considered as one of the most accomplished. I guess the back-to-back performances of Venus Raj and Shamcey Supsup really upped the ante for Filipino beauty pageants.”
Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. said it "sends out the most beautiful, accomplished and deserving Filipina representatives to the prestigious Miss Universe, Miss International and Miss Tourism Queen International pageants where they compete against almost 100 countries."
Paula M. Shugart, President of the Miss Universe Organization, says that winning the crown “means an opportunity to represent one’s country and a chance to compete for the most recognized title in the world. Eventually, this same woman will lend her voice to important social causes.”
The current Ms. Universe is Ms. Leila Lopes of Angola. In her message to all 30 Bb. Pilipinas contestants, she said: “This is where it all starts. I hope you embrace this experience and enjoy every minute you compete. You are all accomplished and skillful women who have the opportunity to represent your country. The power of the crown and the sash motivate me to continue my work and raise awareness for my causes.”