Her challenging and exciting journey to the Miss Universe pageant has so far reaped positive changes for the country's bet Janine Mari Tugonon.
Having undergone personality development trainings - which impressed in her a deeper appreciation of herself -as well as classes in logic, philosophy, and sociology, to name a few, the 23-year-old stunner now feels more confident.
"'Pag nakilala mo lalo 'yung sarili mo, I think you're more confident and prouder to represent your country," Janine said during the send-off event tendered for her by the Binibining Pilipinas Charities, Inc.
A cum laude BS Pharmacy graduate from the University of Santo Tomas, Janine used to be the "silent type who wasn't used to mingling with different sorts of people." Now, she has grown into a "people person" who has learned to "socially engage myself by becoming more interested in others."
Janine's dedication to her Miss Universe dreams also manifests in her physical appearance and how she keeps her body well-toned. She works out almost every day, follows a strict diet, and also plays badminton. One of her greatest interests is also ballet, which she has showcased in a previous episode of "ASAP 2012."
Apparently like any candidate would, Janine is both pressured and inspired to compete and win the crown because of the successive victories of her "sisters," Shamcey Supsup (third runner-up, 2011) and Venus Raj (fourth runner-up, 2010) at the Miss Universe pageant.
"Nakaya nila eh. Kaya andun 'yung drive sa'kin to do good and give my best in it," she said.
"Pag nanalo ako, this will be a tool para sa Pilipinas para umunlad tayo, 'yung tourism natin..." she told Bulletin Entertainment in a quick chat after the press Q&A.
Some of Janine's fellow beauty queens were also at the sendoff party to show their support such as Shamcey, Venus, and 2012 Bb. Pilipinas titlists Nicole Schmitz (International), Katrina Dimaranan (Tourism), Annalie Forbes (second runner-up), and Elaine Kay Moll (Miss Supranational 2012 third runner-up).
Binibining Pilipinas Charities chairperson Stella Marquez-Araneta also extended her well-wishes to Janine, who left for the US a few days ago.
Her beauty, talent, personality, and fine, graceful "cobra walk" will be showcased at the Miss Universe pageant on Dec. 19 (Dec. 20 Philippine time) at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. It will air on ABS-CBN.
Filipinos can vote for Janine in the online polls at missuniverse.com until Dec. 18, 6 p.m. The winner will secure a slot in the semi-finals.