MANILA, Philippines (1st UPDATE) – A day after the coronation night of the 59th Miss Universe in Las Vegas, Nevada, Miss Philippines Venus Raj was still on cloud nine.
The 5'9" beauty from Camarines Sur was proclaimed 2010 Miss Universe 4th runner-up. Although she lost the crown to Jimena Navarrete of Mexico, Raj was still ecstatic over the outcome of the competition.
Up until now, she said she still could not believe that she made it to the top 5 and was named 4th runner-up.
The last time the Philippines placed in the pageant was in 1999, with Miriam Quiambao bagging first runner-up. The Philippines has two title holders --- Gloria Diaz, who won in 1969, and Margarita Moran, who won in 1973.
The blooming Bicolana and her friends merely made fun of her much talked about response during the question-and-answer portion of the competition.
When actor William Baldwin asked her to mention one biggest mistake in her life and what she did to make it right, many were dismayed when she answered that she had made no “major, major” mistake during her “22 years of existence.”
It was reportedly the reason why she lost the coveted title.
Looking back, Raj admitted that she could not cite one because she has always been an optimistic person.
"Wala naman talaga akong mistake na ginawa sa buhay ko. I think it’s not a mistake, never ever… I’m a very positive person. Everything na nangyayari sa akin, I take it as a challenge, something na magiging positive in the end kahit na anong masamang nangyari sa’yo," she said.
She said she would give the same answer if asked the same question again. She added that she did not regret it.
When asked if she gets offended when people make fun of her answer, she replied: "No way. So what kung ano sabihin nila? At least naging part ako ng everyday conversation nila."
She added that she is no longer dwelling on it, saying she is now looking forward to her life after Miss Universe.
“Tapos na, it's done. So, kahit na anong gawin mo, anong isipin mo, hindi na mababalik ‘yon. So, do not think of the past, think of the future. Ano bang naghihintay sa akin sa Pilipinas? Ano bang mangyayari pag dating ko doon?" she said.
Amid criticisms, many Filipinos are still proud of Raj’s achievement. Raj, for her part, said she is thankful to all her Filipino supporters.
Raj is excited to see her family and spend some quality time with them before pursuing the remaining days of her duty as Binibining Pilipinas-Universe 2010.
She said she will never forget her experience in Las Vegas when she comes back home.
She is scheduled to arrive in Manila Thursday morning. -Reports from Dyan Castillejo, ABS-CBN News, and Bev Llorente, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau