Roberta Tamondong explains decision to accept Miss Grand International runner-up position
MANILA, Philippines—Binibining Pilipinas Roberta Tamondong finished in the Top 20 of the 2022 Miss Grand International pageant in Indonesia last month. A week later, she found herself in Thailand receiving a crown for a fifth runner-up position.
The Bangkok-based pageant proclaimed the five remaining delegates in the Top 10, those who did not advance to the Top 5, as co-fifth runners-up. But Mauritius’ Yuvna Rinishta, who cracked the Top 10 for getting the “Miss Popular Vote” award, rescinded the post.
The pageant’s president, Nawat Itsaragrisil, appointed Tamondong to take Rinishta’s spot, and the Filipino beauty accepted it. This was met by a lot of backlash from pageant fans in the Philippines, who thought she rightfully deserved a higher ranking in Indonesia and should not have been left out of the winners’ circle in the first place.
“I think I made the right decision for myself, and for my family. And I thought it would be the best decision that I will make for the Philippines,” she said at the sidelines of the launch of the new Miss Grand Philippines pageant at Hilton Manila in Pasay City on Nov. 24.
“I love what I’m doing right now. I love the work, I love the work ethic. And also, the organization has been very caring, very kind,” continued the 20-year-old lass from San Pablo City in Laguna.
She said that when she made her decision she knew many would not agree with it. “At the end of the day, I just want everybody to respect my decision, because it’s not just my decision, but also of my family, Bb. Pilipinas, and my dad,” Tamondong explained.
She is also proud to have presented a positive image of the Philippines and of Filipinos in the Miss Grand International pageant. Newly crowned queen Isabella Menin, and her court of runners-up who joined Tamondong in last month’s launch event, heaped her praises and said Filipinos should be proud of her for showcasing the best that the country can offer, and for reflecting the kindness, dedication and true spirit of the Filipino people.
“I’ve been nothing but kind and happy. Spreading the culture and being the nicest Filipina is there, because being a Filipino, that’s what I’m proud of. I’m showing myself, I’m showing what the Filipinos are all about. Getting the nice feedback from them has made a huge impact not just for me, but also for the community,” Tamondong shared.
She also said she does not mind all the “bashing” she and the international pageant has been getting. “What I care about is my mental health. If I keep reading negative comments, it’s not going to help me, it’s only going to make it worse,” she shared.
“I still have more years until I retire from pageantry. I chose this path because I want to explore more in pageantry, I want to become a woman who has a work ethic, who can work every single day without hesitation, and have that sense of independence at an early age,” Tamondong explained.
The Filipino beauty said a series of fashion shows has already been lined up for her and the rest of the queens this month in Thailand. She also said she will take part in a string of concerts in line with the “December Fest.”
She added: “There will be a lot of grand activities, and we’re still going to have more charity events which concerns our advocacy which is stopping war and violence. And I’m just hoping for the best after that, in one year.”
Tamondong also said she hopes to relinquish her title to someone “who can’t say no,” and should be ready to work every single day. “There’s no room for complaining because I know that we need a heart of steel. And you have to be nice, you have to be personable,” she said.
She will crown a successor in the newly-launched Miss Grand Philippines pageant which is scheduled to mount a “grand” coronation show at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City in March next year. The application process for aspirants is currently underway. /ra
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