by Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
OXON HILL, Maryland – Miss Puerto Rico, Stephanie Del Valle, was crowned Miss World 2016 beauty pageant at the MGM North Harbor in Maryland on Sunday night.
Dominican Republic and Indonesia finished second and third place.
Miss World Philippines Catriona Gray placed fourth, and also won the Multimedia Award for being the most connected to her fans on social media.
“Even though the results aren’t what we wanted, I hope I made them [the Philippines] proud my performance tonight,” Gray told Balitang America.
Filipino fans were surprised when Catriona did not make it to the final three, especially after her well applauded answer to the final Top 5 question from one of the judges.
Reigning Miss World, Mireia Lalaguna from Spain, asked: “Which qualities do you think it would take to wear my crown?”
“I think first of all it takes bravery. To be a Miss World, is to carry a burning torch,” said Gray, “I would dedicate my whole self, my love for the arts and my voice to trying to uplift, empower and educate people. It would be my greatest honor and duty to hold this torch high enough, so that all the world could feel and see its light.”
Gray placed top 5 out of the 117 candidates from all over the world, and she also placed top 5 in the Beauty with a Purpose fast track category.
Miss World Philippines Licensee and National Director, Cory Quirino said, “I’m happy that Catriona Gray made it to Top 5, in the biggest pageant in the world, it is tough, it is difficult. They call it the Superbowl of Beauty Pageants.”
“The best answer was from the Philippines…I’m from Dominican Republic, but I thought that she got the crown on her head,” said Dominican Republic native Atori Acosta. “Catriona, you are a Queen with a heart.”
After the pageant, Filipino fans and supporters rushed to stage to show their love for Catriona chanting, “Philippines, Philippines, Philippines!”
Gray said, “Mga Kababayan, salamat, salamat po, I really felt your love this journey. It wouldn’t have been the same without it.”
Meanwhile, Miss World USA Audra Mari, who is also of Filipino descent, made it to the top 10.
“As the host delegate, I hope that the contestants see that we celebrate diversity in the United States,” said Mari in a package video. “My grandfather’s from the Philippines, and he moved to the United States to create a better life for his family.”
Miss World 2013 Megan Young co-hosted the 66th Miss World beauty pageant.
While Philippines may not have been crowned Miss World this year – to have three beautiful women of Filipino descent onstage is enough to make their trip to the Miss World finals worth it.