Since the Philippine bet, Maria Venus Raj, has been consistently topping the on-line popularity poll sponsored by the Miss Universe Organization (MUO) and figuring prominently among the Top 10 in two other surveys.
Filipinos are praying for her to bring home the country’s third Miss U crown (after Gloria Diaz in 1969 and Margie Moran in 1963).
“She has a good fighting chance,” – said Stella Marquez-Araneta, head of the Bb. Pilipinas Charities, Inc. (BPCI), who flew to Las Vegas a few days ago to give Venus moral support. “So far, she’s doing very well.”
During the preliminaries held Thursday night also at Mandalay Bay, Venus stood out with her “cat walk” and charm. She got the loudest applause from the audience during the performance in which the candidates introduced themselves.
“The smile never left her face,” observed Funfare’s “other beauty expert” Celso de Guzman Capara.
The 15 semi-finalists were chosen that night but they won’t be known until the precious envelope is opened on coronation night.