The Philippines’ representative to the Miss Grand International pageant in Thailand, Samantha Bernardo, has brought home another crown to the country after placing as the first runner-up in the 2021 edition of the competition. 

Although Bernardo lost the title to the USA’s representative Abena Appiah, she ended the Philippines’ placement drought. 

Completing the top five of Miss Grand International were representatives from Guatemala, Indonesia, and Brazil. 

The last time the country placed in the top five of the pageant was back in 2017 with second runner-up Elizabeth Clenci and back in 2016 when Nicole Cordoves similarly took home the first runner-up crown.

Before the final two were announced, Bernardo, Miss USA, and Miss Guatemala were in a three-way tie. The final girls were asked to answer one last question in order to determine the top two candidates.

The question was: “If there is only one dose of COVID-19 vaccine left and you have to choose who you give it to — either a 15-year-old or a 70-year-old senior citizen — which one would you give it to and why?”

Bernardo replied with: “My heart goes to senior citizens because my mom is turning [into a] senior citizen. And I’ve experienced the loss of my dad four years ago, and I cannot afford to lose my mom. My heart goes to them because they are the most vulnerable during this time.”

“A 15-year-old has the stamina to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and with proper exercise and healthy living, they can live with it. I know as well that every citizen here will choose and never afford to lose their parents so I will choose senior citizens,” she explained.

Netizens praised Bernardo for her eloquent answer with many claiming she should’ve been crowned the winner.

However, in an after-pageant interview, Bernardo said ‘there was no bitterness in her heart’ regarding the conclusion of the pageant and her placement. She notes that they all deserve to win the crown. 

“I feel like everyone in the Top 5, whoever will win, I have no bitterness in my heart. Because we’re all amazing, equally beautiful, talented, and smart.” 

“We can walk, we can talk, we can walk the talk,” she continued.

Later this week, Bernardo and other MGI candidates will head to Phuket, Thailand for their crown duties. 

Since joining the Miss Grand International pageant, the Philippines has yet to snatch the top-most crown. 

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