The Philippines sustained its impressive record in the Miss International pageant after Binibining Pilipinas Kylie Verzosa bested 68 other aspirants for the crown, taking home the country’s sixth victory in ceremonies held at the Tokyo Dome City Hall on Thursday night.
The coronation coincided with the last day of President Duterte’s state visit to Japan.
Bea Rose Santiago, the last Filipino Miss International titleholder, bagged the crown in 2013, also during the time of then President Benigno Aquino III’s state visit to Japan.
The emotional Verzosa clasped her hands over her chest upon her proclamation as winner. Tears trickled down her cheeks as her predecessor Edymar Martinez put the pearl-encrusted crown on her head and draped the fur-lined cape around her shoulders.
“I cannot believe this moment right now, and I am ecstatic and happy,” said model Verzosa of Baguio City after her coronation.
“I did not go on this journey alone. I had a lot of love from the people around me. This moment only happens in my dreams. Thank you, Japan. Thank you, Miss International,” she said.
Verzosa was a favorite in the 2016 Binibining Pilipinas pageant in April, with a massive support base behind her. During the national pageant, she bagged the “Face of Binibini” (Miss Photogenic), Reader’s Choice and Jag She’s Got the Look awards.
The number of her supporters grew as she embarked on her journey to the Miss International crown.
For the tilt’s Top 15 speech round, Verzosa said: “Three things come to mind when I think of Miss International: culture, education and international understanding. These three work together to make the brand of the Miss International pageant relevant to the global community in our time.”
She continued: “If I become Miss International 2016, I will devote myself to cultural understanding and international understanding. Because I believe that it is with developing in each of us sensitivity to other cultures that we expand our horizons, tolerate difference and appreciate diversity. All these enable us to achieve international understanding. And I believe I am prepared to take on this responsibility.”
For winning the international crown, Verzosa is expected to work on projects which foster international understanding around the world.
Australia’s Alexandra Britton was first runner-up, while “Miss Best Dresser” Felicia Hwang from Indonesia was second runner-up.
“Best in National Costume” Brianny Chamorro from Nicaragua was third runner-up, while Kaityrana Lenbahc from the United States was fourth runner-up.
Verzosa’s victory came two days after her fellow Binibining Pilipinas queen Nicole Cordoves placed second in the 2016 Miss Grand International pageant in Las Vegas.
Before Verzosa and Santiago, the other Filipino Miss International winners are Gemma Cruz (1963), Aurora Pijuan (1970), Melanie Marquez (1979) and Precious Lara Quigaman (2005). TVJ