MANILA – (UPDATED) Philippine bet Kylie Verzosa was named 2016 Miss International in the coronation held at Tokyo Dome City Hall in Tokyo, Japan on Thursday.
Contestants from Australia, Indonesia, Nicaragua and United States finished first, second, third and fourth runners-up, respectively.
In her speech after the announcement of the top 15 finalists, Verzosa said that should she win the title, she wants to focus on cultural and international understanding.
"If I become Miss International 2016, I will devote myself to cultural understanding and international understanding because I believe that it is in developing in each of us sensitivity to other cultures that we expand our horizons, tolerate difference and appreciate diversity," she said.
In her speech after she was announced as winner, Verzosa thanked all those who joined her in her journey.
"I cannot believe this moment right now, and I am ecstatic and happy. Thank you so much to my family, to the Philippines, to everyone who supported me. I did not go through this journey alone, but I had a lot of help from the people who love me. I deeply appreciate this. This moment has only happened in my dreams. Thank you so much, Japan. Thank you, Miss International," she said.
Aside from the big winners, other contestants also received special awards:
Miss International ASIA - Hong Kong
Miss International EUROPE - Netherlands
Miss International AMERICA - Ecuador
Miss International AFRICA - Sierra Leone
Miss International OCEANIA - Hawaii
Meanwhile, the candidates who made the Top 15 were: Finland, Mexico, Japan, El Salvador, Canada, Dominican Republic, Argentina, Russia, Thailand and Poland.
Miss Nicaragua also won for her national costume, while Miss Indonesia got the Miss Best Dresser award. The Miss Perfect Body award went to the contestant from Moldova.
Meanwhile, Binibining Pilipinas took to Facebook to congratulate Verzosa.
Designer Rajo Laurel also congratuled Versoza for winning the title.
Verzosa is the sixth Filipina to bring home the Miss International crown for the Philippines.
Gemma Cruz was the country's first Miss International winner when she took the crown back in 1964, followed by Aurora Pijuan in 1970. Model-actress Melanie Marquez won the title in 1979.
After a long wait, Precious Lara Quigaman won in 2005, while Bea Rose Santiago won in 2013.
Last year’s representative to the pageant, Janicel Lubina, made it to the Top 10 and was given the Best Dresser special award.