BALANGA CITY, Philippines – Enthusiastic crowds warmly welcomed Miss Universe first runner-up Janine Mari Tugonon during her homecoming in this province yesterday.
Tugonon rode a float covered by white flowers followed by a convoy of 20 vehicles that brought her to Dinalupihan, Hermosa, Orani, Samal and Abucay towns with a five-minute stop in front of the town halls, where she was welcomed by local officials.
The choir members of the Aeta community known as “Koro Bangkal Magbikin“ from Bangkal, Abucay town sang several kundimans when Tugonon entered the Bulwagan ng Bayan hall in this city.
Bataan Rep. Albert Garcia and Balanga City Mayor Jose Enrique Garcia III awarded her a certificate of recognition. The Sanggu-niang Panlungsod of Balanga City earlier passed a resolution commending Tugonon for her achievement.
Garcia cited Tugonon for showing to the world the characteristics of a world-class Filipina-Bataeño of being beautiful, confident, intelligent and strong-willed.
“She motivates the local women specially the youth to excel in their chosen careers and Miss Tugonon is worthy of emulation among the younger generations,” said the city mayor.
“It’s a wonderful day. A daughter of Bataan comes home with international recognition of beauty and brains. You make Bataan proud of your achievements and definitely inspire us to the greater height of global success,” the congressman said.
Tugonon is the second Bataeño to win first runner-up in an international beauty contest. Evangeline Pascual of Orani town was only 17 when she won first runner-up in the Miss World pageant held in England in 1973.
Tugonon was born in this city and grew up in Orion town.