MANILA — Malacañang on Monday congratulated Philippine bet Catriona Elisa Magnayon Gray on winning the fourth Miss Universe crown for the country during the pageant coronation night held in Bangkok, Thailand.
“The Palace wishes to congratulate newly crowned Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
Panelo said Gray, who bested 93 other candidates, made the Philippines proud when she showcased “the qualities defining a Filipina beauty: confidence, grace, intelligence and strength in the face of tough challenges.”
“In her success, Miss Philippines has shown to the world that women in our country have the ability to turn dreams into reality through passion, diligence, determination and hard work,” Panelo said.
Panelo said that Gray’s victory “sets the bar high in empowering more Filipino women to believe in themselves and to fight for their own place in the universe.”
“We salute and admire her victory,” Panelo said.
He cited Gray for showcasing the country’s “beauty and elegance” in terms of being a tourist destination.
“Catriona’s crowning glory is placing the Philippines in the world map again for its beauty and elegance that matches the world-renowned attraction of the many scenic and mesmerizing islands in our country,” he added.
In the final question-and-answer portion for the top three finalists, host Steve Harvey asked them to name the important lesson they have learned in their lives and the ways to apply it should either of them becomes Miss Universe.
Gray cited the optimism and gratitude of Filipinos, especially children, in even in the worst situations as a lesson she would like to impart to others. “I worked a lot in the slums of Tondo, Manila; and the life there is very… it’s poor, and it’s very sad. And I always taught myself to look for the beauty in it — to look for the beauty of the faces of the children; and to be grateful,” Gray said.
“And I would bring this aspect as a Miss Universe to see situations with the silver lining. And to assess where I could give something, where I could provide something as a spokesperson. And this I think if I could teach also people to be grateful we could have an amazing world where negativity could not grow and foster, and children would have a smile on their faces,” she added.
In the question-and-answer portion prior to that, Gray was asked about her stand on marijuana legalization, and she said that she supports its legalization solely for medicinal purposes.
Gray succeeds Demi-Leigh Nel Peters from South Africa. First and second-runners up are South Africa’s Tamaryn Green and Venezuela’s Sthefany Gutierrez, respectively.
She won the country’s fourth Miss Universe crown taking after Pia Wurtzbach (2015), Margie Moran, (1973), and Gloria Diaz (1969). (PNA) By Azer Parrocha