By Miguel Dumaual, ABS-CBNnews.com | 01/04/2013 8:09 PM
MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippines' delegate to the 2012 Miss Tourism International pageant agrees that her performance in the Question & Answer portion may have clinched her the crown.
Besting 55 other international beauties, Rizzini Alexis Gomez was named Miss Tourism International 2012 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on New Year's Eve.
"[Winning] was quite elusive para sa 'kin, because when you see the 55 other girls, they're all very beautiful, smart, tall and then they can talk well as well. But I prayed and I did my best," Gomez told reporters after a press conference held Friday at the Midas Hotel in Pasay City.
The 22-year-old registered nurse said she had only wished to earn a spot in the Top 10. Luckily, she was second to be called as semi-finalist.
For the Question & Answer portion, the Cebuana beauty said she was asked to identify one important festival in the Philippines and relate why it is unique.
"I told them, 'One important festival in the Philippines is the Sinulog Festival. It's one of the grandest and most colorful festivals in the Philippines.'
"'It's unique because of the undying devotion of the Filipinos to the Senor Sto. Nino Child Jesus. It's a symbol of our culture and heritage, our unity as one, and our diversity and bringing people together to promote our traditions for a brighter future,'" Gomez said.
Now the second Filipina to be crowned Miss Tourism International -- the country's delegate in the 2000 pageant, Ma. Esperanza Manzano, also earned the title -- Gomez said she dedicates her win to "the Lord Almighty and to my family."
Gomez is the eldest child of former professional basketball player Roel Gomez, who has been "very, very supportive" of his daughter's pageant bids.
"It's the first time my dad didn't watch one of my pageants," Gomez said, referring to Miss Tourism International. "Every time I compete, he's always there. So yeah, I got a little emotional, but I got over it, because my brother was there to support me."
According to Gomez, her father's experience in the sporting world has made him supportive of any plans for her to join show business.
"It's quite the temptation, but then I want to take things one at a time, I don't want to hurry," she said. "I loved my life in Mutya ng Pilipinas and I loved my life in Miss Tourism International, so I'll stick to here first. Show business can wait, I think."