Praises and congratulations rained Sunday on Megan Young, the first Filipino to win the Miss World title.
The 23-year-old actress was crowned Saturday night, besting 126 other candidates in a colorful pageant in Bali, Indonesia.
In a radio interview on Sunday, Strategic Communications Secretary Ramon Carandang said Young has given Filipinos another reason to be proud.
“This is another Filipino who has gone out there in the world, and shown the rest of the world what we can do as Filipinos, and another reason for us to be proud,” Carandang said.
The Miss World title had long eluded the Philippines.
Two Filipinas had been crowned as Miss Universe, four as Miss International
and one each as Miss Earth and Miss Supranational.
The closest the Philippines came to winning the Miss World title were in 1973 with Evangeline Pascual and in 2011 with Gwendoline Ruais. Both finished first runner-up.
Other notable Filipinas in Miss World are Evangeline Pascual, who placed second in 1973; Ruffa Gutierrez, 2nd runner-up in 1993; and Carlene Aguilar, Top 15 in 2005.
As news of Young’s triumph broke out, Filipinos celebrated online through social networking sites. Showing love, happiness and pride, netizens made #MeganMW2013 and #MeganYoung trending topics.
Young’s friend and fellow actress Maxene Magalona best summed up her win through her post in Twitter: “Thanks to @meganbata’s win, the Philippines is the ONLY country that has won ALL the major pageant titles!!! GO MEGAN!” Magalona said.
Many celebrities and personalities also expressed their excitement online. “CONGRATULATIONS @meganbata !!!” tweeted. Anne Curtis.
National basketball head coach Chot Reyes said he wished the new Miss World could join the team at the FIBA World Cup in Spain next year. Lets bring cheer to our fellow men @meganbata,” Reyes tweeted.
From young actress Iya Villania: “Woke up still feeling so stoked for you @meganbata!!! YOU ARE MISS WORLD 2013!!!! THE FIRST EVER FILIPINA!!! #intense #history #astig”
Megan’s sister Lauren post a backstage photo in Instagram showing the sisters with their mother backstage, right after the coronation.
“Tears of joy for my sister, Megan. I’m so happy for all of your achievements! I can’t wait to see what you will do to change and help out not only our country, but the world. Megan is truly an amazing person, with a huge heart, she’s not just my big sister but became a mom to me and Victor (their brother) as well, sending us to school and making sure that we had a comfortable lifestyle, even though that meant that she had to be away from us working almost everyday for 24 hours a day. Congratulations ate, you have a beautiful face and a beautiful heart that is worth sharing to the world. Mabuhay Pilipinas! #meganmw2013 ❤ PS: Lol at mom crying in the back. PPS: I STILL CAN’T BELIEVE ITTTTTTTT!”
US lifestyle and news networks also reported Young’s win, describing her as an “American native.”
E! News reported, “Congratulations, Megan Young! The 23-year-old U.S. native was named Miss World 2013 on Saturday, Sept. 28, in Bali, Indonesia.”
A CNN report headlined “Miss Philippines crowned the new Miss World” also began by saying “A new Miss World was crowned Saturday, and though she competed as Miss Philippines, she hails from the United States.”
That CNN report did not sit well with many Filipinos. Famous online satirist Professional Heckler (www. professionalheckler.wordpress.com), shot back: “YOU WISH!”
Abbie Faustino tweeted, “Ms. Philippines Megan Young, A US NATIVE” UGH Americans and their narcissism …”
Others said Filipinos make the same claim whenever an American with Filipino ancestry is recognized on the global stage. Noted Gene Paulo Bautista: “Remember how we take pride if a US celeb is part-pinoy? Well, bakit kayo naiirita sa headline ng CNN na ‘…was born in US?’ We do that too!”
Facebook user Julie Pearl commented, “Proud din tayo sa foreign success kahit 1% pinoy lang at never tumungtong sa Pinas.”
Born to Filipina mother and American father in the US, Young and her family moved to the Philippines when she was 10.
Young accepted the crown from last year’s winner, Wenxia Yu of China.
Aside from winning the Top Model contest and impressing the judges with her dancing skills in the “Dances of the World” segment of the show, she stood out when she answered in the question and answer portion of the pageant.
The question asked to all contestants was “Why should you become Miss World?”
Young’s answer: “I treasure a core value of humanity and that guides people why they act the way they do. I will use this to show other people how they can understand each other. … as one, we can help society.”
Miss France Marine Lorphelin, was runnerup and Miss Ghana, Carranzar Naa Okailey Shooter, second runnerup.
Young immediately thanked her Filipino fans and promised to “be the best Miss World ever.”
Held in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, the pageant drew criticism and protests from hardline religious groups, who said it was promoting immortality and pornography.
The show was moved from the country’s Jakarta capital to the resort island of Bali, and organizers abandoned the bikinis in the “beach fashion” round and replaced it with the women wearing Balinese sarongs.
Hundreds of police were deployed during Saturday’s pageant finals.
Interviewed by GMA-7 Sunday morning, Young said she was proud to have won the title.
”After all the tragedy and issues that we’ve been having in the Philippines, now is the chance to rise above all that and to look at things in a better light,” she said.
Young said that when her name was called as the winner, “I was really surprised and I cried. I really just wanted to go to my mom downstage and hug her and kiss her.”
CATHERINE S. VALENTE, EUDEN VALDEZ and SHEILA MANALAC