03 January 2013 – The Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur reported that Miss Tourism International 2012/2013 Rizzini Alexis Gomez paid a courtesy call after her victory on Ambassador J. Eduardo Malaya and met members of the Filipino community at the Embassy.
Ms. Gomez was joined in the courtesy call by her brother Kim, D' Touch International Marketing and Promotion Executive Valerie Chua and Event Marketing Executive Sara Jolene Tan. D'Touch International is the organizer of the Miss Tourism International Pageant.
"This is a beautiful start of the new year for the Philippines, as another Filipina showcased the talent, beauty and grace of our race, and gave further honor to the country. The Filipino community in Kuala Lumpur is honored to be among the first to congratulate you on your victory, and I hope that you will be a continuing inspiration to other Filipinos. We hope to welcome you again on your next visit to Malaysia," Ambassador Malaya told her.
Ms. Gomez also related how she felt after winning the crown, as well as her experiences in the pageant.
"The day after winning the pageant, I still cannot believe it. I was still floating, asking myself if this [winning the title] really happened. I am honored to represent the Philippines in this pageant. It gave me an opportunity to travel and meet other people. I am excited to travel and learn about new things and culture, which I did during the pageant," she said.
Ms. Gomez also went to the Embassy's consular waiting area and greeted the people transacting their business there, as well as posed for pictures with the Embassy officers and staff.
"She has a very warm persona, and mixes with people very well," remarked community member Jean Mendoza as Ms. Gomez gamely posed with Filipinos applying for passports and other services at the consular area.
The Filipina beauty bested 55 contestants from around the world to clinch the title last 31 December 2012 in Kuala Lumpur. She also won the Best in Evening Gown in the said pageant.
Other winners were Venezuela's Marieles Alejandra Perez (Miss Tourism Global), first runner-up; Australia's Monika Rodulovic (Miss Tourism Metropolitan), second runner-up; Paraguay's Lourdes Rolon (Miss Tourism Cosmopolitan), third runner-up; and Malaysia's Jun Yong Wan Jun (Darling of the Year), fourth runner up.
The 22 year old, 5'10 Cebuana beauty is a registered nurse and the eldest child of former professional basketball player Roel Gomez of Alaska in the Philippine Basketball Association. Her mother is a nurse working in New York.
She won the right to represent the Philippines in the pageant when she was crowned 2012 Mutya ng Pilipinas-Tourism. She also bagged the Best in Swimsuit, a major special award, in the same national beauty contest.
Introduced in 1994, the Miss Tourism International beauty contest is operated by its president and franchise owner Datuk Danny Ooi. While the pageant is usually held in Malaysia, the contest was staged in China in 2006.
This is the second time that the Philippines captured the title in the international beauty contest, which is the most extensive pageant that promotes the tourism industry. In 2000, Ma. Esparanza Manzano of Quezon City won the title.
With this victory, the country now ties for the most number of wins with India (2001 and 2008) and Poland (1998 and 1999).
"Thank you for bringing the spotlight once again to the beauty of our country and its people, at a time when we like more foreign tourists to come and visit the Philippines in line with our 'it's more fun in the Philippines' program," he added.
There has been a surge of tourist arrivals to the Philippines from Malaysia. As of November 2012, it registered the highest growth in volume of tourist arrivals of 23.39 percent to 103,237, making Malaysia the 10th biggest source of tourist arrivals from around the world, up from 11th place in 2011. The number has surpassed the total 2011 tourist arrivals of 97,154.
Cebu Pacific Air inaugurated direct flights to Kuala Lumpur from Cebu, Ms. Gomez's home province, last December 8. This made Cebu and its surrounding areas in the Visayas region more accessible to foreign travelers. END