Miss International bet eyes pageant grand slam for PH

Posted at 12/05/2013 11:37 PM | Updated as of 12/05/2013 11:37 PM

MANILA -- Bea Rose Santiago, the Philippines' candidate to Miss International, is eyeing to close the country's succesful year in pageants with a grand slam.

The Masbate-born beauty will leave for Tokyo, Japan on Friday in time for the kick-off of the 53rd Miss International pageant, which will hold its coronation night on December 17.

"I want to represent our country very well," Santiago said during a send-off event held Wednesday noon by Binibining Pilipinas Charities, Inc., the local licensee of the international competition.

"I want to give a merry Christmas to the Philippines. I want to close the pageant this year with a slam," said Santiago, who was earlier accompanied on stage by her fellow candidates in the Binibining Pilipinas 2013 pageant.

Dubbed the "Gold" batch of beauty queens -- the national competition celebrated its 50th anniversary this year -- the group has produced back-to-back successes for the Philippines in pageants.

Mutya Datul won Miss Supranational in Belarus in September, Cindy Miranda finished in the Top 10 of Miss Tourism Queen International in China in October, and Ariella Arida placed 3rd runner-up in Miss Universe last month.

Megan Young, who is not part of this Binibining Pilipinas batch, was also recently crowned Miss World in Indonesia.

Santiago, with the Miss International finals night set only a week before Christmas, will represent the Philippines in the last major international pageant this year.

Asked if she thinks the country has "saved the best for last," a confident Santiago said, "I hope so."

"I'm going to give my best. I want to give honor to us, and especially to my girls," she added, referring to her fellow beauty queens. "They've inspired me."

"I'm very, very happy to represent our country for Miss International. I leave it all to God. I pray every night," she said. "Kung kaya ko, I will give my best. I'm going there not as Bea Santiago, 20, from Masbate. I'm going there as Bea Santiago, Philippines!"

As with Arida's Miss Universe bid in November, Santiago said she will dedicate her stint in Tokyo to the Filipinos who were badly affected by super typhoon "Yolanda," one of the deadliest natural disasters to hit the Philippines.

"For me, what they need the most now is probably happiness," she said. "And if I win, if I make it, that will bring happiness to them, to make them more proud and happy this Christmas."

"Iyon ang gusto kong ipakita sa mga tao -- na the Philippines, no matter what happens to us, kahit na bagyo man tayo... I'm going to bring the storm in Japan, that's what I'm going to do," she said.