Miss Philippines Bea Rose Santiago was crowned Miss International 2013 in Tokyo, Japan Tuesday night besting 66 other contestants from all over the globe.
The model from Masbate became the fifth Filipina titleholder of the 53-year-old beauty pageant–after Gemma Cruz in 1964, Aurora Pijuan in 1970, Melanie Marquez in 1979 and Precious Lara Quigaman in 2005.
Proclaimed 1st Runner-Up was Miss Netherlands Nathalie den Dekker while Miss New Zealand Casey Radley was 2nd Runner-Up. The other two in the Top 5 were Miss Colombia Cindy Aguilar and Miss Hungary Brigitta Otvos.
The girls were judged in their swimwear, dress (or evening gown) and the finale 30-second speech on the topic, “What I will do if I am crowned Miss International.”
Miss Netherlands said, “I’d be more than happy to give back. We should never stop caring. Eventually, we are one world, and one dream. Together, we are one.” She also said that if she’d win she will promote the values the pageant stands for.
For Miss New Zealand: “If I was to be the next Miss International 2013, there are many things I’d like to achieve. I would like to work with the young women of today’s society. There are many ideologies of what you should be or shouldn’t be, rather than embracing who they really are. I would like to use the pageant as a platform to work in reducing inequality.”
Miss Hungary opened, “Good evening, everyone. I would like to thank the most important things that I get in this competition… I’m so happy that I’m here in this stage,” then gave the rest of her speech in Hungarian.
On the other hand, Miss Colombia said nervously and teary-eyed, “I am very happy. Japan is a magnificent experience.”
And Bea’s winning speech?
“The whole world saw how my country, the Philippines, suffered. The agony of my people was felt. But one by one, country to country, came to help. I would like to thank all the nations that helped my country in our darkest hours. You have opened my eyes and my heart on how important it is if we all just support each other.
“If I become Miss International, I would uphold international camaraderie to sustain the spirit for sympathy and to continually share the message of hope. I believe that whatever calamity may come to us, as long as we have each other, there will be hope. Thank you.”
The others that made it to Top 15 were Misses Gibraltar, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, USA, Lithuania, Iceland, Russia, Thailand and Spain.
Specials awards went to Miss Aruba for Best National Costume, Miss New Zealand as Miss Friendship, Miss Macau as Miss Internet and Miss Lithuania as Miss Photogenic.
Beauty aficionados all over the world, especially Filipinos, were glued to their computers for the live stream at http://www.ustream.t/channel/mibp and updates on Facebook by Missosology, Beauty Pageant Grand Slam and Global Beauties. Some got the feed thru Rappler.
The panel of judges was composed of Mariko Bando, President of Showa Women’s University; Maria Teresa Lopez, Wife of Philippine Ambassador to Japan; Alejandra Andreu, Miss International 2008 (who bequeathed the crown); Ryohei Miyata, President of Tokyo University or Arts; Hirokazu Hasegawa, Chairman and Executive Director of Hasegawa; Marlene Villela-Talbott of the Embassy of Honduras; Michie Nakamaru, Opera Singer; Mitsuo Katsui, Art Director; Sojitsu Kobori, Grand Master of the Enshu Sado School; Akie Abe, Wife of the Prime Minister of Japan; Akemi Shimomura, Chairperson of the International Cultural Association; Yuki Ikenobo, Headmaster of Ikenobo; Junko Koshino, Designer; and Seiko Noda, Member of the House of Representatives.
Bea joins Filipina titlists Miss Supranational 2013 Mutya Johanna Datul and Miss World 2013 Megan Young, making the Philippines as Country Performer of the Year.
Other harvests by the Philippines in the world beauty arena are that of Miss Universe 2013 3rd Runner-Up Ariella Arida, Miss Grand Slam International 3rd Runner-Up Ali Forbes and Miss Intercontinental 3rd Runner-Up Koreen Medina. Angelee delos Reyes was Top 8 in the Miss Earth 2013 Pageant held in the country and Cindy Miranda was semi-finalist in the Miss Tourism Queen International 2013 Pageant held in China.
Marisse Mendoza was proclaimed Miss Campus World 2013 (a personality contest for Asian students), with Mr. Philippines William De Dios as Mr. Campus World 2013 1st Runner-Up. Gil Wagas Jr. was 4th Runner-Up in the Mister International 2013 contest.
It’s indeed a bountiful year for the Philippines. The wins of these queens gave rays of sunshine to a people who have suffered and endured one catastrophe after another, yet pliant as the bamboo, rise again even after many trials and tragedies.
Bea Rose Santiago’s win sealed the Philippines’ supremacy in beauty and intelligence, not only in Asia but in the whole world.