Will we finally win the Miss Universe crown this year?


TOGONON. Almost won the elusive title. AUGUST DELA CRUZ

The Philippines, like Venezuela, is addicted to international beauty pageants. In 1953, Armi Kuusela of Finland, the first Miss Universe, conquered the country when she came for a surprise visit.

Armi famously eloped with Virgilio Hilario, a handsome, Jaguar-driving businessman, and raised their mestizo children here. In fact, she was elected barangay captain of Barrio Forbes Park. She now reportedly resides in Long Beach, California—where the Miss Universe pageant began!

The country has won two Miss Universe crowns (for Gloria Diaz and Margie Moran) and four Miss International titles (Gemma Cruz, Aurora Pijuan, Melanie Marquez and Lara Quigaman). However, many Filipinos consider the first Miss Universe (Armi) and first Miss International (Stella Marquez of Colombia) Filipinas since they married Filipinos.

Not long ago, our country got very excited when exotic Miriam Quiambao almost brought home the coveted Miss Universe crown. She has become a television personality.

The country was just as excited when Venus Raj won third runner-up in the prestigious beauty tilt. Shamsey Supsup did even better when she won second runner-up the following year. Last December, Janine Togonon almost won the crown—she was first runner-up!

Will the Philippines make it this year? Filipinos would love it! We’ve all been “resuscitated” by Nonito Donaire’s recent victory in boxing, especially after Manny Pacquiao’s shocking loss to Juan Manuel Marquez.


There’s hope that we will eventually get our third Miss Universe, since we take beauty contests oh, so seriously. But, I would advice our contestants to answer questions in Tagalog, instead.

Most Hispanic contestants demand a translator, even if they speak English.

So, let’s leave English to the Indian, American and British contestants. That way, we can avoid a “major-major” problem!

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  • Paliwaweng

    Unsolicited advice:
    Next time, let our contestant speak the native tongue, ‘tagalog’. Ask for an interpreter beforehand should it will be required.

    Last time, the question is about language, and Togonon might have justified the question by speaking with her dialect. And given her scholastic acumen, she might have come down with a more amazing answer in tagalog.

    I am convinced that even a smart philologist will be more expressive if she/he use the language of her/his birth.
    Amparo Munoz bagged the Miss Universe crown by speaking her native tongue, Spanish.

    This might bring ‘miracle’.

  • Paliwaweng

    am sorry sir Behn Cervantes, I have not read your piece completely.
    After posting mine, when I browsed the news, I found out that we are one with our thoughts.

    It had been a big let-down, when Miriam Quiambao tried to grapple words for her answers.

    Since then, am wondering why they are speaking, answering questions in foreign language when it is not required?

    I hate to say that this is what their trainers dictates, to look smart.
    A contestant sometimes needs to show that she has her own mind.
    To think and do for herself what she thinks is better.

  • Dee Dee Holliday

    Erratum. Venus was 4th and Shamcey was 3rd runner up. :)

  • RONNIE858

    Good point! Having an interpreter gives the candidate extra time to think of a good answer while interpreting the question. And another extra time to think of a better additonal/extra answer while interpreting the first phase of the answer. Lamang na lamang talaga ang may interpreter.

  • B88C

    Let’s give credit where it is due. Janine Tugonon really answered the question very well in English, meaning, it is possible that our candidate can answer a question in English with flying colors.  Maybe, it should be Stella Marquez et al who should decide if a particular candidate should answer in English or in Tagalog. Conversing with anybody in English for an hour or so would already show you how well that person can handle the language. (But still, what really matters is the essence of the answer, not its grammatical error or excellence.)

  • Cynthia

    The suggestion seemed good at first glance but thinking it through it would seem unreal as most of our candidates understand the question perfectly.  It would look funny to have somebody interpret the question and respective answer when everybody knows that our candidates speak English well.  Most of the time they only lack in spontaneity.  The way our two former Miss Universe crown holders Gloria Diaz and Margie Moran answered their final questions were great, very simple yet showed their innate wit and grace.  The Bb Pilipinas mentors should perhaps coach on proper way of answering questions like acknowledging the question directly first, I think Nigel Barker gave Janine low mark on this as she went on with her good answer but failing to give either  a yes or a no before proceeding to her explanation, which Nigel asked.  Anyway, there is no perfect formula and I think we will win when we least expect it.

  • labcu

    melanie marquez won Ms International with that famous “melanie marquez” english grammar/

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