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The Philippines’ most heartbreaking first runner-up finishes

The Philippines’ most heartbreaking first runner-up finishes

The Philippines’ most heartbreaking first runner-up finishes

Isn’t she enough? This question still shrouds the minds of many Filipino pageant fans following the first runner-up finish of Pauline Amelinckx at Miss Supranational 2023. It’s already been a week, but the country still seems to be in mourning.

This is completely understandable considering that the only thing Filipinos detest more than losing in beauty pageants is by coming in second.

As a pageant crazy nation, the Philippines is known for its fervent support for its beauty queens. They become more invested and expectant as they see their representative succeed in the competition. As a result, they find it difficult to accept defeat, especially when they’re just a few steps away from the crown. Especially, if they think she gave it her all.

Throughout the years, the country has experience this intense and nerve-wracking situation. And while the outcome may have been different, our candidate’s impact and achievement remain memorable and iconic.

Take a look at some of the most memorable and agonizing close calls we have ever had in some of the world’s biggest beauty pageants.

The Philippines’ most heartbreaking first runner-up finishes

Miss Universe 2012: Janine Tugonon

For any Miss Universe fanatic, the outcome of pageant’s 2012 edition remains to be an ongoing debucle.

After acing her question-and-answer round, Janine Tugonon of the Philippines emerged as the favorite to win the crown. Starting out as a darkhorse, Janine quickly won everyone over with her amazing performance throughout the night.

Holding hand-in-hand with Olivia Culpo of the USA, the announcement was made with latter coming out as Miss Universe 2012. The results definitely angered many Filipinos both at the venue and those watching at home. Many attacked the pageant and its owner at the time, Donald Trump, for choosing the American candidate solely on the basis of appearance and not on substance or merit.

To this day, most Filipinos still believe that Janine was robbed of the title. Janine would eventually go on and have a successful modelling career in the states.

Miss World 1973: Evangeline Pascual

Even though Janine’s defeat was undoubtedly disappointing, the tale of Evangeline Pascual‘s first runner-up finish at Miss World 1973 may rank as this list’s biggest upset.

It’s been said that during the finals, both Evangeline and Miss USA’s Marjorie Wallace were tied for first place. The Filipina would place second in the re-vote when American judge Gregory Peck swayed the results to favor his compatriot.

Three months later, Wallace’s reign as Miss World would end as her affair with musician Tom Jones came into light. As the first runner-up, Pascual was given the opportunity to carry on the obligations of Miss World, but not the title or the crown.

With a flourishing career as an actress and model back home along with personal and professional reasons, Evangeline declined. Her refusal would eventually begin an infamous legend that no Miss Philippines will ever win Miss World.

This, of course, was debunked in 2013 when Megan Young won the country its first and so far, only Miss World crown. The Philippines has had another runner-up finish in 2011 with Gwendoline Ruias.

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Miss International 2018: Ahtisa Manalo

In 2018, the Philippines send out a strong representative to Miss International in the name of Ma. Ahtisa Manalo. Possessing the qualities that the pageant is looking for – angelic face, quiet demeanor, and elegant grace – many believed that Ahtisa has what it takes to win the country its seventh Miss International crown.

In the end, she places behind eventual winner, Mariem Velasco who become the eight Venezuelan to win the pageant.

Miss Earth 2009: Sandra Seifert

Being disqualified a day before the coronation of Binibining Pilipinas 2009 didn’t stop Sandra Seifert from her dream of competing internationally. Winning Miss Philippines Earth 2009, she had the grueling pressure to succeed fellow Filipina and current Miss Earth Karla Henry and attempt a back-to-back victory.

With a stunning face, commanding presence, and sharp wit, many were certain that a consecutive win, was indeed, possible.

Her journey towards the Philippines’ second Miss Earth crown concluded as she finishes as Miss Earth-Air, which is equivalent to first runner-up. Brazil’s Larissa Ramos took home the title.

Miss Grand International 2020: Samantha Bernardo

Among all the pageants on this list, Miss Grand International proves to be the most elusive as the country has yet to win its first golden crown. Two Filipinas have come close to winning in its 11-year history; one of them being Samantha Bernardo.

Appointed as Miss Grand Philippines 2020, Samantha came to the competition prepared and determined. She had the flare, the energy, and the magnificent personality which suits the MGI Prototype.

After placing fifth in swimsuit, third in evening gown, and providing a heartfelt answer, Samantha was in a great position to win. Unfortunately, once again, the Philippines would finish second behind an American as Samantha is named first runner-up to Abena Appiah.

Which runner-up finish did you think deserved to win? Let us know by leaving your thoughts in the comments!

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