Binibining Pilipinas 2012 winners blow kisses during the coronation night of the country’s most prestigious beauty pageant at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. Photo shows (from left) 2nd runner-up Annalie Forbes, Bb. Pilipinas-International Nicole Schmitz, Bb. Pilipinas-Universe Janine Mari Tugonon, Bb. Pilipinas-Tourism Katrina Jayne Dimaranan and 1st runner-up Elaine Kay Moll.  (Photo by Boy Santos)

MANILA — A cum laude graduate with a pharmacy degree from the University of Sto. Tomas bested 29 other candidates and was crowned Miss Philippines-Universe 2012 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last Sunday.

Janine Mari Tugonon, 22, bagged the coveted title after finishing first runner-up in the same beauty pageant last year.

Nicole Schmitz of Cebu City clinched the title Binibining Pilipinas-International 2012, while Katrina Dimaranan was proclaimed Binibining Pilipinas Tourism 2012.

Schmitz, 23, also won the Nestlé Fitnesse Best in Swimsuit award and Best in National Costume.

She is set to graduate with a double major in law and psychology in Australia at the end of the year.

Dimaranan, 18, a recent high school graduate, also bagged the Miss Talent award.

Completing the winners’ circle were 19-year-old Annalie Forbes (1st runner-up) and 20-year-old Elaine Kay Moll (2nd runner-up).

The Big Dome was packed with hordes of fans and supporters of the 30 candidates who trained hard for the big night over the past four months.

The three-hour show, hosted by Xian Lim, Iza Calzado, Venus Raj and Georgina Wilson, started with an upbeat number, as the girls gyrated to heavy percussion in a “more fun in the Philippines” mode.

This was followed by the swimsuit competition and the long gown parade punctuated by the sounds of DJ Callum David and performances by Arnel Pineda, the Journey frontman who did a U2 song, and Bamboo with a jazzy rendition of the Anakbayan song “Probinsyana.”

The winners of other special awards were Chloe Zanardi (Bb. Friendship), MJ Lastimosa (Bb. Philippine Airlines and Ms. Avon), Roxanne Tadique (Manila Bulletin’s Readers Choice), Giselle Muñoz (People’s Binibini), Karen Gallman (Bb. Photogenic), and Angelee de los Reyes (Best in Long Gown).

Last year’s winners Shamcey Supsup, Dianne Necio and Isabella Manjon walked the Binibini stage as queens for the last time in an emotional farewell.

The judges’ panel was an elite mix of businessmen from leading multinationals, government personalities, sportsmen, diplomats and empowered women.

They included U.S. Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr., Spanish Ambassador Jorge Domecq, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Rizal Gov. Junjun Ynares, former Congresswoman Risa Hontiveros, Philippine Star columnist Babe Romualdez, actor and sportsman Richard Gomez, Azkals striker Phil Younghusband, banker Olivier Gougeon, Avon Philippines’ Ashley Ferguson, Nestlé Philippines CEO John Miller and Miss International 2005 Precious Lara Quigaman.

The affair was also attended by Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. chair Stella Marquez Araneta, Araneta Group chairman Jorge Araneta and the BPCI executive board composed of Conchitina Bernardo, Pitoy Moreno, Eddie Ocampo and Betsy Westendorp.

Several past Bb. Pilipinas beauty queens and showbiz personalities also graced the affair, including Boy Abunda and Mateo Guidicelli.

Binibining Pilipinas 2012 was presented by the Araneta Center, ABS-CBN, Nestlé Fitnesse in cooperation with Nestlé Fruit Selection Yogurt, Avon, JAG jeans as the official jeans, Manhattan Garden City, the Department of Tourism, Philippine Airlines as the official airlines, and Resorts World Manila as the official residence.

Other partners are the Manila Bulletin, Pizza Hut, Charter Ping An Insurance Corp., David’s Salon, Gold’s Gym, Entrepreneurs School of Asia, Dale Carnegie Training, Picture City, TicketNet, and the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Raymond Saldaña is the official photographer.

Joylong Philippines is the official transport partner of Binibining Pilipinas 2012.

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