updated 7 Jan 2013, 09:47
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Wed, Jan 02, 2013
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Filipino nurse bags Miss Tourism International crown
by Steven Patrick

Miss Philippines Rizzini Gomez 22, put her country on the map at the recent Miss Tourism International (MTI) 2012 pageant, held on New Year's eve. Prior to her win, Poland and India were the only countries to date to have won the title twice in the pageant’s 16 year history. Now, Gomez’s 2012 win has placed the Philippines, up there with those two countries.

(Poland first won the MTI for two consecutive years in 1998, when Roksana Jonek won and in 1999, when Agnieszka Zakreta was crowned. Then, Candice Pinto bagged the title for India in the year 2001 while Manasvi Mamgai did it in 2008.)

The first time that the Philippines won the MTI was back in 2000, when Maria Esperanza was crowned and now Rizzini has done it again for her country. After enduring more than two-weeks of non-stop promotional appearances and having just a few hours of sleep daily, Rizzini, managed to beat 55 other beauties to win the crown.

She was an obvious choice for the crown with her warm persona and her model-like looks. "I feel very blessed to have won but it hasn’t sunk it yet," she said, fresh after returning from the New Year Countdown in Dataran Merdeka, after she was crowned at the Sunway Resort Hotel and Spa, Petaling Jaya.

The Cebu native is a nurse with a Government clinic back in her country. She decided to become a nurse to serve people and was influenced by her role model. "My role model is my mother and she’s a nurse. So I followed in her footsteps when I saw how she affected people’s lives," she said.

Gomez believes that there are similarities between being a nurse and beauty queen. "For both roles, you need to be of service to other people and also set a very good example," she said.

Miss Malaysia Jun Yong , 20, also did us proud by getting a Top 5 placing in the pageant, by winning Dreamgirl of The Year 2012. She is currently studying broadcast journalism and also teaches Mandarin and English to kindergarten students.

"I feel incredibly happy to have actually made the Top 5. The best thing about the experience was getting to know 55 other nations and am also very happy for the other winners," she said.

Besides broadcast journalism and teaching, Yong is also interested in singing. She also bagged the Best of Talent category for her commendable rendition of the 60s Frankie Valli classic, Can’t Take My Eyes of You. Yong was not surprised that she aced the talent competition because she had been performing in the National Youth Choir from to age of 10 to 12.

Other winners include Australia s Monika Radulovic, 22, for Miss Tourism Metropolitan International 2012, Venezuela's Marielis Perez, 25, for Miss Tourism Global 2012 and Paraguay 's Lourdes Rolon,20, for Miss Cosmopolitan International 2012.

Judges included the flamboyant 'Lady Ga Ga of journalism' Kee Hua Chee , legendary 70s singer Datuk DJ Dave (who also performed), actor and TV host Datuk Jalaluddin Hassan. The MTI 2012 World Final was held on Dec 31 at.

The supersmooth, debonair and multilingual Datuk Mahadzir Lokman , who has emceed the event almost every year, also entertained the crowd by doing a Gangnam style sequence and also singing the late Indonesian singer Utha Likumahua’s Logika.

The MTI pageant was initiated by "dreammaker turned queenmaker" Datuk Danny Ooi. Guests included Deputy Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Maglin Dennis D’ Cruz and Sunway Group founder and chairman Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah.

The world final was broadcast live on television and the Internet via RTM and 1Malaysia IPTV.
MTI 2012 also offered the highest pool of prizes in its 16-year run, which amounted to RM500,000 in full fee scholarships to the top five winners to study at Limkokwing University of Creative Technology.

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