MANILA – Former beauty queen Janine Tugonon visited the Philippines recently to serve as one of the judges in the inaugural Miss Universe Philippines pageant.
More than a week since the now-controversial competition, Tugonon spoke with G3 San Diego for #LiveWithG3 to talk about what her experience was like and how she feels about the results of the pageant.
According to Togonon, she already had her bets early on in the competition.
“I already have my bets. Davao and Paranaque, those were my top 2 and then Iloilo. Ako kasi, ang talagang hinahanap ko 'yung Pinay. I think Davao and Paranaque, they embody that Filipina features,” she said.
That's why Togonon was so shocked that Alaiza Malinao who was representing Davao City did not make it to top 5.
“She did so well in the gown portion. I don’t know if you saw it on TV but sa live talaga, paglabas niya with the plain white Filipiniana and the music was Tagalog, parang oh my gosh, wow, grabe ang ganda naman ng Pilipina. Super gusto ko talaga 'yung gown portion niya. I was expecting she would make it to top 5 at least,” she said.
Nonetheless, Togonon shared that she was fine with the top 5 and she finds all of them pretty.
As to Rabiya Mateo who won the pageant, Togonon said she sees her as her little sister mainly because so many people have pointed out their resemblance.
“She’s very, very nice. She’s very sweet. One thing I like about her is you really see how dedicated, how determined she is to win. You would really see that. I saw that when we were watching the closed-door interview. I saw that when we were backstage. You see it in her face, in her movement. 'Yun naman ang gusto ko sa kanya. And she’s very, very pretty,” she said.
When asked if she thinks Mateo stands a chance in the Miss Universe pageant, Togonon said she has a huge potential but it is hard to say for now because other countries have yet to proclaim their representatives.
“I believe she has a huge chance. But of course it’s hard to tell kapag hindi mo pa nakikita 'yung mga kalaban,” she said.
Togonon finished first runner-up in Miss Universe 2012. Olivia Culpo of the United States was named the winner that year.