Updated 14:19 PM PHT Mon, January 30, 2017
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Maxine Medina, the country's bet for Miss Universe, bowed out of the competition Monday after reaching the Top 6.
Medina, 26, sashayed down the runway in a Rhett Eala white-and-red beaded-bodice gown, confidently bearing the weight of millions of Filipino pageant fans' hopes for a back-to-back win after Pia Wurtzbach's Miss Universe 2015 triumph.
Then came the question-and-answer portion, which Medina has admitted is one of the segments she worked hard on in the runup to the pageant.
Host Steve Harvey asked her: "What is the most significant change you've seen in the world in the last 10 years?"
A Filipino translator on the spot translated this for her as: "Ano ang pinakamabuluhang naganap na pangyayaring nakita mo sa mundo sa loob ng sampung taon?"
Medina however, chose to respond in English: "The one event that I saw all the people bringing in one event like this, the Miss Universe. And it's something big to us that we are one. As one nation, we are all together."
Netizens express support after Maxine's loss
Social media was full of support for Medina. One netizen said, "Thank you Maxine!! Hindi ka man nanalo sa Miss U proud pa rn kame sayo... God Bless Maxine! Salamat..."
Another said, despite of the result, Medina was still queen.
Okay lang yan maxine— Caren Ramirez (@carenpey) January 30, 2017
Ikaw pa din ang Miss universe namin #MaxineMedina
Celebrity couple Regine Velasquez and Ogie Alcasid also took to social media say they were proud of Medina:
We are proud of you #MaxineMedina— ogie alcasid (@ogiealcasid) January 30, 2017
#MaxineMedina you did very well and we are proud of you— regine alcasid (@reginevalcasid) January 30, 2017
The long road to Miss Universe
Medina had big shoes to fill.
She drew praise during the pageant's preliminary competitions where Filipino fans hailed her performances in the swimsuit, evening wear, and national costume.
However, Medina's apparent unease with speaking in English drew flak from netizens and former Miss Universe beauty queens such as 1969's Gloria Diaz, who suggested she speak in Filipino.
Her mentors came to her defense. "We are second language speakers of English. Errors are normal," said one of her mentors and language coach, Mark Abalos. "In this world full of critics, can we just be supporters instead?" he added.
The other five candidates in the Top 6 along with Medina were Miss Colombia Andrea Tovar, Miss France Iris Mittenaere, Miss Haiti Raquel Pelisierre, Miss Kenya Mary Were, and Miss Thailand Chalita Suansane.
Miss Colombia, Miss France, and Miss Haiti went on to make the Top 3, with Miss France being declared Miss Universe 2016.