Twenty-three-year-old Jeslyn Santos of the Philippines was crowned Miss United Continents 2016 in Guayaquil, Ecuador on Saturday (Sunday morning in Manila) making the lass from Bulacan the first Asian to win the title.
She arrived in Manila on Tuesday.
Ecstatically, she posted on Facebook, “Yey!!! Im finally home… Salamat Pilipinas! This is all for you! Puso at laban.”
There are no immediate plans yet for a ticker parade for the new queen, but Filipinos are happy that a compatriot has set the tone once again for what is there ahead in beauty pageantry.
The 5’8”-tall volleyball player bested 28 other candidates from around the world. She delivered her speech in Spanish.
Her winning crown was designed by Jewelry Designer, Christian Quintero, based on the concept of the five continents.
First Runner-Up or Virreina/Vice Queen was Mette Riis Sorensen of Denmark. Lopamudra Raut of India was Second Runner-up; Taynara Gargantini of Brazil was Third Runner-up; Cynthia Lizeth Duque Garza of Mexico was Fourth Runner-Up; and Rita Silvestre of Panama was Fifth Runner-Up.
Rounding up the Top 10 were the delegates from Colombia, Dominican Republic, South Africa and Thailand.
Miss Philippines was also awarded Most Beautiful Face in the contest, which was originally named Miss American Continent until it opened its borders to beauties from around the globe in 2012.
Other special awards went to Mexico as Miss Photogenic, China as Miss Congeniality, Dominican Republic as Miss Punctuality and India for Best in National Costume.
In 2015, the Philippines also made it Top 10 in the person of Anabel Christine Gonzales Tia.
On social media, beauty pageant aficionados cannot help but comment that Santos’ win in Ecuador was a reversal of Miss Ecuador Angela Bonilla’s win in the Miss Global Beauty Pageant in Manila 12 hours earlier. The Philippine candidate, Camille Hirro, was first runner-up.
Miss United Continents began in 2006, and is based in Guayaquil, Ecuador.
According to its Internet profile, the pageant is organized by María del Carmen de Aguayo, and “was created considering that there was a space in the world of beauty pageants that had not been organized globally in Ecuador.”
The very first winner of the title was Mía Taveras from Dominican Republic.