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Honor student is Miss Manila 2016

The 22-year-old beauty who expressed hope for Manila Mayor Joseph E. Estrada to give even more attention to improving the city’s educational system wowed the crowd and swept the judges’ off their feet at the grand coronation night of Miss Manila 2016 at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City Friday, Manila Day.

Candidate No. 2 Cristelle Tolentino, who graduated cum laude from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, addressed Estrada directly when she was asked in the final question and answer portion what is the first thing she would tell him if they were to have a talk. Estrada was right there among the panel of judges.

“President Mayor Erap Estrada, I would like to ask you to have more attention to improving our educational system in Manila. I believe that through good educational system, we would be able to help more people by making them competent to face the opportunities that will come their way,” Tolentino said.

She capped her 30-second answer by quoting the late US President Franklin Roosevelt. “Just like what Franklin Roosevelt said, “We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future,” she said.

It was not the only time Tolentino stood out from her rivals. In a question-and-answer portion held earlier, she nailed it by saying she wouldn’t want to change anything in her life, even if there are regrets, as “there are so much better things that happened to me that made me forget those failures and sadness.”

“I believe I am a woman with so much optimism, grace, and confidence,” she stated. “I could continue living my life the way I am.”

Tolentino bested 32 other bets from different parts of the city, whose 445th Foundation Day fell on the pageant’s finals night.

The Miss Manila 2016 title came with a R500,000 cash prize and a management contract with Viva Entertainment.

She also received the Miss Photogenic and Best in Evening Gown special awards. Tolentino is the successor of Miss Manila 2015 Kaycie Lynn Fajardo.

Rounding up the Miss Manila 2016 court are fourth runnerup Joanna Marie Rabe, third runnerup Kristel Guelos, second runner-up Ganiel Akrisha Krishnan, and first runnerup Mercegrace Raquel.

Estrada revived the Miss Manila pageant three years ago, saying that beyond being a beauty search, it aims to “ma-bigyang buhay ang diwa ng pagkakaisa para sa mga kababayan nating nangangailangan ng tulong.” It is the “epitome of true blooded Manileña,” pageant director Jackie Estrada said.

The responsibilities of Miss Manila 2016 bets include participating in community services like medical missions, projects on education, and feeding programs benefiting the non-profit institution MARE Foundation.

The grand coronation night was hosted by Edu Manzano and KC Concepcion. Zsa Zsa Padilla, Karylle, Mark Bautista, Michael Pangilinan, and Daryl Ong, among others, performed.

Also judges were Viva Entertainment head Vic del Rosario, Gretchen Barretto, photographer Raymund Isaac, Manila Councilor Yul Servo Nieto, and Miss Globe Ann Colis. (Jojo Panaligan)