A much-needed sliver of light after Super Typhoon Yolanda has wreaked havoc in the Visayas region is Miss Philippines Ariella Arida's 3rd place finish on Miss Universe 2013.
Ara's feat marks the fourth straight year in a row that a Philippine representative has placed at the Top 5 of the 62-year-old pageant. Last year, Janine Tugonon almost bagged the crown when she finished on the first place, while Shamcey Supsup and Venus Raj placed third and fourth in 2011 and 2010, respectively.
It was however Venezuela's Gabriela Isler who won the top plum and bested 85 other candidates during the coronation night held at Crocus City Hall, Moscow, Russia on Sunday (Manila Time). She succeeded Miss Universe 2012, Miss USA Olivia Culpo to become the titleholder for one full year.
The other runners-up, in order, were Spain's Patricia Rodríguez was Ecuador's Constanza Báez, Ara, and Brazil's Jakelyne Oliveira.
During the pageant's opening it was announced that the event would be dedicated to the Philippines and Vietnam, the two countries in the destruction path of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
Ara, who was dubbed as an early favorite on the pageant, earned the last spot in the Top 16 much to the Pinoys anxiety after winning the official online polls. After which, she sashayed on the stage with her red bikini for the swimsuit segment and a sunny and "celebratory" yellow Alfredo Barraza dress for the evening gown portion after she advanced to the Top 10.
During the much-awaited final round, Ara was notably who answered in English and without the use of an interpreter, when she answered judge Tara Lipinski's question: "What can be done about the lack of jobs for young people starting their careers around the world?"
"For the people who have lack of jobs, I do believe that we people should invest in education and that is my primary advocacy, because we all know that if everyone of us is educated and well aware of what we are doing, we could land into jobs and we could land a good career in the future. Education is the primary source and ticket to a better future," she said.
Gabriela, on the other hand was asked by judge Steven Tyler: "What is your biggest fear and what is your plan to overcome it?"
She responded through an interpreter: "I believe that one may have a lot of fears but nonetheless, this is nothing negative. I believe that we should all overcome our fears, and this in turn, would make us much stronger. And thusly, we can become stronger persons. As soon as we overcome our fears and we're sure of ourselves, we can face any challenge."
To this day, the Philippines is still hoping to produce its third Miss Universe winner after Gloria Diaz in 1969 and Margie Moran in 1973.